Recently, if you haven’t already heard, the Parti Quebecois minority government in Quebec is making an effort to make public service more secular by attempting to pass what is called the Charter of Values (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/montreal/charter-of-quebec-values-would-ban-religious-symbols-for-public-workers-1 NULL.1699315), amending the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This legislation sets boundaries on what its representatives can wear in terms of overt religious symbols. What’s out for the best dressed public servants this year? Big crucifix bling around the neck, Muslim head scarves, Sikh turbans, hijabs and yarmulkes. What’s in are rings, small crucifixes and earrings with religious symbols. And all of this will be passed in the Quebec National Assembly under a humungous cross that the PQ is loathe to be rid of.
Joining Haysn and I on this episode is Brian Seaman, a research associate from the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre (http://www NULL.aclrc NULL.com/) at the University of Calgary. We discuss the proposed legislation, why the PQ has tabled it and it’s good and bad points. Finally, we enter into a wider discussion on the value of secularism in government and how to do it right.
Podcast: Play in new window (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/p/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LoR-076 NULL.mp3) | Download (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/s/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LoR-076 NULL.mp3)
The more observant of you will note that we skipped a few episode numbers. That was a test. Yeah. That’s it, a test. Actually I didn’t want to release episode 38, at least not without some serious editing. The number 39 I seem to have forgotten about entirely. Chalk it up to absent mindedness.
Anyway, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss a couple of topics this go round. Later, we discuss comments made by Winnipeg’s new chief of police, Devon Clunis. Apparently, Clunis’ policy for reducing crime is an act of applied prayer (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/10/22/mb-winnipeg-police-chief-prayer-clunis NULL.html). Yeesh. And Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott has nominated two anti-choice who have criminally harassed women seeking legal abortion services to receive the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee medals (http://www NULL.leaderpost NULL.com/news/Tory+awards+Jubilee+medal+incarcerated+anti+abortion+activist/7429422/story NULL.html). In a bizarre comparison, Vellacott compared these two women seeking to restrict women’s rights to Martin Luther King Jr.! Our first segment, however, requires a bit of introduction. Recently, a CBC radio program called Ideas had a series entitled “The Myth of the Secular” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/ideas/episodes/2012/10/22/the-myth-of-the-secular-part-1/). Honestly, I couldn’t get past the first one of the six part series, and didn’t even finish that. Nor were the comments on the show’s webiste kind, either. As staunch secularists, we recognize that religion in the public sphere has had its day. Been there, done that, no way. It’s just more of that “sophisticated theology”(TM) we keep hearing about.
Podcast: Play in new window (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/p/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/LoR-041 NULL.mp3) | Download (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/s/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/LoR-041 NULL.mp3)
Christine attended the American Humanists Association meeting in New Orleans a few weeks back and managed to attend a few talks between getting interviews. One of those is with Aron Ra, whose voice seems to have recovered from arguing with Christians at the world-wide atheist meet up in Australia earlier this year, and we’ll hear from him later on in the episode. Before that, we take a look at some letters to the Calgary Herald over church/state separation (here (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Tandt+Render+unto+Caesar+leave+church+politics+alone+Harper/6833155/story NULL.html), here and here (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/Protecting/6868798/story NULL.html)– have some fun and sing along with us!) and we take umbrage to the idea that taxation-free status currently enjoyed by religious organizations is unlimited regardless of political involvement. But first, Bishop Fred Henry responds to criticism of his policy of prudery trumping health (link (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Bishop+Fred+Henry+strikes+back+health+advocates+over+vaccination/6846266/story NULL.html)) in a segment I call the Vatican Empire Strikes Back. So to recap the situation I thought hey- why not a montage of sound bites set to some appropriate music?
Have I mentioned we don’t like Henry much?
Podcast: Play in new window (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/p/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/LoR-025 NULL.mp3) | Download (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/s/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/LoR-025 NULL.mp3)
A peculiar situation arising from historical contingency has been brewing in the town of Morinville, Alberta. With a population of 8500, one would expect that at least a portion of Morinville’s schools would be public and secular, but not one is. The result is a curious situation where the Catholic school board is also the public one.
Helen, Randy and Twyla discuss separate school systems in Alberta (and Canada in general), its history and the fight by Donna Hunter and other parents for secular education of their children.
And the battle isn’t over yet….
Podcast: Play in new window (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/p/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LoR-003 NULL.mp3) | Download (http://media NULL.blubrry NULL.com/legionofreason/s/www NULL.legionofreason NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LoR-003 NULL.mp3)