28 June 2003

Canada's established religion?

Ted Byfield describes Canada's official religion as secularism in friday's edition of the National Post:

Canada has an implicit state religion. It is not recognized as such, heaven knows, and would never be so described by its adherents. But it certainly exists, complete with dogmas, moral absolutes, legislative programs, priests and prophets, allies and enemies. Chief among the enemies is Christianity.

Canada's state religion is secularism, which proclaims that if there is a God, man could know nothing about It. Therefore, any viewpoint that contends otherwise should be dismissed as an absurdity, and above all permitted no role in the determination of public policy, because religion must be regarded as a purely "private" affair.

Claims of individuals to know anything as actually true, or morally good, should be disparaged, and school curricula must be designed to discourage such assumptions. Influence over children should be gradually taken away from parents and vested in the state. In particular, the ability of parents to imbue their children with any religious viewpoint should be thwarted through public education.

The purpose of human life is pleasure, the centre of all human endeavour is properly the self, and the chief vehicle for all human fulfillment and advance is the state. Finally, the source of all moral authority must be vested in what Plato called "the Guardians," which in our day would mean the professoriate, the luminaries of the liberal media, the educators, and the bureaucracy. Judges, the intelligentsia, commentators and assorted "experts," these are the priests and the prophets.

Byfield writes this as part of a lament over the end of his own periodical, The Report, once known as The Alberta Report.

Yet his pessimism, while warranted to some extent, is not the whole story. To be sure, there are things to worry about in this country. Yet, by God's grace, we Christians have made striking gains. At one time, the Christian Labour Association of Canada was a beleaguered trade union fighting an uphill battle for recognition. Now, while it still has enemies amongst the secular unions, it is thriving beyond the expectations of its founders.

Moreover, until a few years ago the CRTC did not allow single-faith radio and television stations. This is no longer the case, and now christian stations are permitted.

And only two days ago Redeemer University College's private bill passed 2nd and 3rd readings in the Ontario Legislature and received royal assent almost immediately thereafter. This allows us, pending approval by the Ontario College of Teachers, to grant regular bachelor of education degrees. This makes Redeemer the first christian teachers college in the history of this province, which is reason for thanksgiving.

Canada may have a tacit official religion, but this cannot stand in the way of God's grace.

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