28 August 2003

The “imposition” of religious beliefs

Here is an excellent op-ed piece by Claire Hoy in today’s National Post: “Eves is right to invoke his religion.” Writes Hoy:

When Brian Mulroney campaigned in 1988 on free trade, his intention was clear: If he won, he intended to "impose" free trade on Canada.

Fair enough. Canadians had the chance to accept or reject his position, so when he won, he did indeed "impose" free trade, even though millions of voters didn't want it.

But that's the political process. You state your platform. You run on it. And if you win, you're entitled to impose it.

With one giant exception -- that's when your views are based on religious beliefs. Then, suddenly, it becomes improper to "impose" your views on others.

But every legislative act is an imposition on someone. This is simply part and parcel of what law is: an enforceable rule binding on an entire community. Furthermore, every such act is rooted in an underlying worldview of some sort, whether or not it is acknowledged to be religious. Hoy continues:

Every view, every law, is an imposition by somebody on somebody else. It's also based on a belief system of some kind, whether it is economic, social, secular, religious, whatever. But it is only religious views which are widely condemned.

Unfortunately, I somehow doubt that Hoy’s arguments, however well articulated, will persuade the convinced secularist.

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