Quebec Catholic School Teaching Equality among Religions

 

 

Canada is a very diverse country and has embraced a policy of multiculturalism.  My understanding of religious institutions led me to believe that they were entitled to their own policies and, while not being immune to standards set for all schools by the government, had the freedom to incorporate their doctrine into the curriculum because they are private schools and people know what they’re getting into when they enroll there.

I am neither Catholic nor a very religious person of any sort.  While I do feel that it is important to teach equality among the many different religions of the world, I do not think that the Wicca or pagan rites – which could be argued to be cults rather than religions – belong in the curriculum of the Canadian education system.  This is particularly contradictory to Catholic doctrine.  Removing Wiccanism from the curriculum may be unfair to people who hold that belief system, but if it must be taught as equal, then why would Satanism be left out?  The philosophies of both “religions” are similar, however, I highly doubt that that Satanism would ever be allowed to be taught in a Catholic school, and certainly not in a very Catholic dominated demographic such as Quebec. 

It is a choice for people to enroll their children in Catholic schools because that is what they believe in.  Teachers are prohibited from expressing their religious beliefs, which I think is contradictory.  If they are teaching in a Catholic school, it would seem to be a logical assumption that their beliefs would be in alignment with Catholic doctrine. 

Catholicism is by no means superior to any other belief system and it should not be taught as such in Catholic schools.  It is important for students to be aware of other belief systems and open to other ideas, rather than being brainwashed into believing that being Catholic makes them superior to people of other religions.

http://bit.ly/1fPgP9S

Denmark Bans “Halal” Slaughter

Denmark recently instated a new law prohibiting the “unlawful” slaughtering of animals for religious sacrifice. This recent legislative decision has been labeled as “anti-Semitic” from certain religious leaders. There had been a long term debate over this issue in Europe as to whether or not animal rights come before religious rights. In February the Denmark government finally concluded that conscious slaughtering of animals for any reason, whether it is for religious purposes or not, is immoral and illegal. This also made it very clear to Danish religious groups that the government feels the rights of animals come before the rights of their religions. This issue has and will always be a hot topic for religious communities and activists. Religious freedom is a very important issue in Europe, and so is the proper treatment of living things. Animal rights activists work hard on humane treatment for animals, and some religions have very different ideas and practices they would consider humane.

The ban is mainly focused on “halal” or “kosher” meat. Halal and kosher meats are foods that Muslim and Jewish people religiously prepare and consume. For these types of religions to consume the meat, the animal must be conscious during the slaughter. These practices occur all over the world and have been a part of religious cultures for centuries. So one can see how such a drastic change would be very disconcerting to those who are carrying or passing down the traditions of their ancestors.

On the other hand, times have changed and traditions that were once acceptable to many are no longer acceptable to a lot more. Many animal rights activists, especially the Farm Animal Welfare Council, lobbied to instate this law so people have to pre-stun the animal before slaughter. FAWC was fully aware this method completely corrupts the sacred way some religions go about their diet. Britain is soon to be on their way to join such countries as Denmark, Norway and Sweden in this ruling; though they are concerned about the inevitable uproar it will cause in their diverse and multicultural society.

http://ind.pn/1ckQcYs

-KNS

Welcome to the 21st Century

 

 

            There are countless debates on whether same sex marriages should be legal or not. People look at this debate psychologically, sociologically, politically and religiously. However, I do believe and as the article that is written solidifies that the religious part of this debate is definitely the biggest factor on same sex marriages. It’s not just one religion that opposes homosexuality but there are numerous religions including Mormonism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Islam, Judaism, etc.

 

            In our lectures, we were taught how powerful religion was back in the day. A lot of families’ turned to religion for faith and hope for a better life. Homosexuality in a lot of religions is considered a sin.  According to the article, “God’s plan is for man to marry a woman to create offspring (which same-sex couples cannot do), and be married for time and eternity,” Supporting sex marriage and being attracted to the same sex was merely impossible. Family members would send their homosexual children to places where they can convert them to being heterosexual. People lying about their sexual preference and live a life of unhappiness. The fear that because you are homosexual means that you will be going to hell because you are not following God’s plan.

 

            Society is always changing, and I think it’s changing for the best. In today’s society there are numerous political and religious groups that are becoming more accepting on same sex love. In the article it states, “Episcopal, Unitarian and Methodist organizations and a group called Mormons for Equality argued for gay marriage.” Religious groups are starting to open their minds and being less judgemental. I believe that the issue of same sex love and marriages isn’t about the people but the conflict on whether God would be accepting of same sex marriages. In the bible it says “”Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV, Matthew 7:1-2). I believe that it is God’s plan to live life with an open heart and to be tolerant and patient.

 

Even though there are more voices being heard for gay rights, there is no doubt people will always be who are against it because of religious beliefs. The United States of America has been one of the countries that are actively on this topic. Out of the 50 states, there are only 18 states that have officially approved same sex marriages as effective and acceptable. However, with more active and religious people who are starting to realize that same sex marriage isn’t as different as a heterosexual couple. I think there will be a rise in the number of states for sure.

 

 

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/utah-gay-marriage-religious-groups-businesses

http://nyti.ms/1dvvFh0

The Vatican, and current Pope Francis, have taken a huge step in the right direction for the catholic church as many of his ideas and teachings are on the positive side of not only Catholics but the general non-Catholic public as well.

As it says in the article, the stance on homosexuality and contraceptives has not changed, however Pope Francis has shown that he is not one to pass judgment on the topics of homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives. The Pope still stands by the belief that homosexuality is a sin, family planning without the use of contraceptives is better, and that a woman should not partake in abortion.  This new stance coming from the highest ranking person in the catholic faith doesn’t stop there however. Pope Francis has called upon the church to be a “poor church, and for the poor”. He also asked his clergy to sell any of their luxury goods and donate it to the poor just as he has done. The pope now lives in a simple boarding house instead of the Apostolic Palace and he himself drives in a Ford Focus. 

Pope Francis is setting an amazing example for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He is working hard to change the preset ideas of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis wants to make it more about God and our interaction with each other. His stance on the previous priests who are caught up in child sex abuse is also much harsher and more direct as opposed to previously when the Vatican would dance around the questions and not give direct answers.

There is definitely a new change happening in the church. The type of change, though definitely not as drastic, can be related to Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the church. Pope Francis is himself calling for a change. He wants to bring back the principles of “Faith, Hope, and Love” in which every person can follow.

The trending hashtag #bestpopeever and the fact that Pope Francis was awarded the Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award also goes to show us what has been done and what we hope will continue to be done even after Pope Francis.

 

JKS

The idea of a godless church seems quite absurd, but that is exactly what two comedians have supposedly done. Calling themselves the Sunday Assembly Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have garnered hundreds of people to attend godless mass. At first it seemed quite excessive and pointless to me but the writer of the article Harry Cheadle spoke on a few points about principles of a godless congregation.

 

Cheadle presents that statistically those who attend regular religious congregations are found to be happier as these functions serve as a place of meeting people, making friends. Really just a place to connect with people who are like minded. The Sunday Assembly is just the place for people who like the idea of church just without the religion. Though non religious there is something parallel to what could be religious in the sensational “sermons” Jones gives. Being happy that you are alive and celebrating that could be the main focus, in one word humanism is what the two are advocating for.

 

Humanism is a wonderful thing to promote but I find a congregation is quite excessive. Rather than congregating every Sunday for an hour these people could invest their time in perhaps volunteering, tutoring, banjo lessons etc. So much can be done. Hopefully if they ever do grow into a worldwide organization, which is a goal of theirs, they will direct their members to doing such things.

 

As much as people can disagree with what the Sunday Assembly is doing there will always be a few or more people looking to join. Again something like this provides a sense of community and connectedness, which ironically in our super connected world can be quite difficult to find.

 

 

Link: http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/no-god-no-problem-0000206-v21n1

 

Marriage between same sex couples is a highly controversial topic for many people and religious institutions. Given that more and more states are beginning to legalize gay marriage, it seems that this is a very relevant topic in our world today. A recent controversy involving the tug-of-war between religious institutions and same sex marriages occurred in Birmingham Alabama on October 25th, 2013. On this day a retired bishop, Melvin G. Talbert, officiated the union of two men.

 

Following the union, complaints were filed against him. Talbert is now known as the only bishop to have broken the church’s official laws and is now perhaps facing a trial and the termination of his clergy credentials. Given the state of our world and our various differences in beliefs, it seems quite necessary to have cases like this become aware to everyone. I think what we can take from this controversy is that open mindedness and respect for each other is key. It is also necessary to point out that Talbert showed courage in standing up for what he thinks is right. It is a sign of bravery to do what you think is right, while knowing that some wont agree with your decision.

 

Talbert is not the only religious figure to make headlines through uniting a same sex couple. Recently, Rev. Thomas Ogletree, officiated the marriage of his own son to another male. Although Talbert is still awaiting the church’s decision he believes that this is a step in the right direction and hopes that this will begin to change the discrimination directed towards couples of the same sex.

 

Original Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/bishop-melvin-g-talbert-gay-wedding_n_4959934.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

Is the fact that to achieve religious statues, you must be heterosexual to be accepted? Gay activist student Marc Hall wanted to feel like any normal 17 year old student whom was about to graduate. Yet does Hall learning at a Catholic school he was denied any chance to express himself by bringing his 21-year-old male date to the prom? The answer may be split in our society but ultimately an individual should be able to express him or herself.  In 2002 when Hall was supposed to graduate he made the decision to leave the Catholic School board and take them to court, launching a 100,000-dollar lawsuit to the school. With news spreading like wild fire and Hall awarded as a “gay hero” people could view this as a shift in how religion can control how a person acts and behaves. After the school board dropped thousands of dollars of fees, and the CBC covered the interior case, with the idea of a movie in mind, Hall withdrew from pursuing his case to the end. With Halls minor success into the movement of religions adopting different beliefs into their religion, we can see that religion should be a topic of success and not failure to act on minor topics of this. Overall I believe that Gay communities and other less privileged community should not be looked down upon by other religions, it’s seen as a opportunity to strengthen and diversify their religious community and thus expand its beliefs and ideas further into the future.

 

 

C-C

 

 

http://bit.ly/1j53FW7

Legitimizing Discrimination Using Religion

Religion & Politics

On the week of February 10th, the House of Representatives in Kansas passed a bill, which would have legalized the discrimination against gays and lesbians. (http://bit.ly/MjPBvV)

This bill would have allowed business owners to deny any service to those whose relationship they disapproved of  based on their religion. This bill would not only allow businesses to restrict extended health insurance coverage to a gay employees husband or wife but it could also restrict gay couples ability to adopt or foster a child, access social services or even attend particular restaurants.

Luckily however, there was massive resistance to this bill and so it was put on hold.  There is increasing support for same-sex equality in the United States however many right-wing conservatives still have a desire to stand against gay rights.  According to the article, “situating the discrimination in religious liberty is about more than just homophobia: it’s part of a larger right-wing strategy to allow those who hold particular religious beliefs to make the rest of us live according to their whims.”

Conservatives are seeking to make laws, which coincide with their religious values, while ignoring the rights of any many same-sex couples.  These Kansas legislators “claimed that this law is about preserving the rights of religious folks to exercise their beliefs without state interference.”   But as stated in the article, the state is not forcing religious people to enter into same-sex unions. They are still able to practice their faith but should not withhold and discriminate against others based on sexual orientation.

In my opinion, religious freedoms are very important in any society. However, these religious freedoms granted to individuals should not also discriminate or take away advantages to others of a different belief system.  Politicians are so often attempting to use religious values to pass laws such as those against abortion and same-sex marriage.  Why must religion have an influence in the decisions of legislators? Individuals do not all support or believe in the same religion, and therefore no legislator should make discriminatory decisions based on one majority religion.

http://bit.ly/MjPBvV

Tolerance Trumping Tolerance

 

Gender equality or religious tolerance, which is more important? It seems like a rather silly question with the obvious answer being “we should have both,” but conflicts inevitably emerge where both cannot be equally respected.  Some Orthodox Jewish or Muslim men find in their religion the command not to come in physical contact with women other than their spouse. From a religious tolerance perspective, these men should not be forced to give up their beliefs. From a gender equality perspective no woman should ever be forced to feel like a second class citizen. Although both are important, societies are being forced to decide which should have more respect and power.

In Halifax, a Muslim man joined a martial arts club but stated that he could not touch women on a religious basis (http://goo.gl/TGQpx1). The school accommodated this request by allowing the student to only train with other men. This may not have been an issue had Sonja Power – a 17 year old woman – not quit because she felt that she was being discriminated against based on her gender. Although the segregation concerned Sonja, what drove her to leave was when the Muslim man gave out pamphlets that included the suggestion that men could lightly strike their wives if the woman has acted improperly. Sonja felt that she could not go to a dojo (training facility) with someone that held these beliefs.

This isolated event is indicative of a more common conflict that is emerging in Western societies. As our world becomes smaller, interchange of individuals from all of the world will occur far more frequently. Immigrants bring with them their cultural and religious practices that may not be in line with current Western thinking. As immigration rates grow Sonja and her martial arts club will not be the only ones that face such issues.

An obvious solution would be to force classical Western ideals on all immigrants; if you want to live in Canada you would act Canadian first and then Muslim (for example) second. This would run in to all kinds of problems: What Canadian ideals should be forced upon new immigrants? What about those who are born on Canadian soil that disagree with the ideals put forward? And many more. Although it may solve one problem, the issues that it would arise are too large to ignore. At the other end of the spectrum is the suggestion to allow all practices without question. This would allow all immigrants to follow their cultural practices, but runs risk of allowing practices Canadians fine abhorrent. A man might kill his cheating wife, daughters may be abused or forced out of our school system, honor killings might occur to save face, and the list goes on. Some few individuals out there that would use complete religious freedom to justify some truly repugnant actions. A balance between these extreme positions is needed that we have obviously not yet found as seen through Sonja’s example.

Original Link: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01/14/teen-felt-degraded-after-teacher-divided-aikido-classes-by-gender-following-male-students-religious-request/

Pope Francis: A Paragon of Goodwill and Faith?

Pope Francis: A Paragon of Goodwill and Faith?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/05/pope-francis-sex-abuse_n_4905744.html

Time’s Person of the Year: an illustrious award given to the individual who created the biggest stir in that particular year. Last year, such an award was given to Pope Francis, heralded as the “People’s Pope” in this article for his open address of common social issues. Pope Francis has made notable changes in the way he addresses the media’s criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, but is he moving from a purely altruistic perspective?

 As news reports of the Catholic Church generally feature child molestation scandals and corrupted clergy, Pope Francis couldn’t have been a better decision for the papacy, nor for the distinguished “Person of the Year” title. Pope Francis’ distancing himself from the practices of previous popes sets him apart in a way that removes him, and the Catholic Church by relation, away from the scandals and corruption that seemingly defined what modern Catholicism was known for. Media reports of the pope’s compassion in action, whether he be openly embracing the disfigured form of a man or speaking publicly against the corrupt ways of his fellow clergymen, have won him the love of many across the world, theist or not. However, his commitment to traditional Catholic beliefs despite his outspoken comments on modern interpretations are considered disappointing to more liberal Catholics who had hoped for more tangible proof of change. One example of this is the recent criticisms of his inaction (prevention and protection) with regards to victims of sex abuse. (See more at http://tinyurl.com/jvh4tpv). To those who have not looked closely enough, his doctrine follows the paths of his predecessors: staunchly conservative. Despite his humble demurs that “he is no one to judge”, many have pointed out his views towards lesbians, gays, the transgendered, abortions, contraceptives, the female would-be priests, etc have not strayed from the strict and archaic views of Catholicism. Despite his attempts to be more publicly inclusive of the “lesser people” in society, in reality those belonging to marginalized groups will find themselves still shut out.

It’s clear that Pope Francis’ move away from traditional secrecy to transparency has won him a few favors with the public. But despite the transparency, still there are no actual changes in policy in addressing the problems that plague the Catholic Church.

Perhaps Pope Francis’ focus on social justice is just a “rhetoric” used to inspire “good feelings” (Douthat, 2014). Nothing more.

References

Chua-Eoan, H., & Dias, E. (2013, December 13). Time’s Person of the Year. Person of the Year . Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://poy.time.com/2013/12/11/person-of-the-year-pope-francis-the-peoples-pope/?iid=poy-main-lead

Douthat, R. (2014, January 15). Catholicism and Cognitive Dissonance.The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/catholicism-and-cognitive-dissonance/

Hafiz, Y. (2014, March 5). Pope Francis Criticized By Sex Abuse Victims’ Groups For Silence And Lack Of Action. The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from 

Wooden, C. (2013, July 31). CNS STORY: ‘Who am I to judge?’ Pope’s remarks do not change church teaching. Catholic News Service. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1303303.htm