Article Link: http://bit.ly/1ppVdmI
Trudeau: Rejecting Canadian Theocracy
In the linked article entitled “In Justin Trudeau’s World, Christians Need Not Apply”, published by the right-leaning publication National Post, Canadian author and commentator Rex Murphy comments on the Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau’s stance taken on the issue of abortion during the summer of this year. To give some context to the reader, earlier this year Trudeau announced in an interview that, in the future, legislators from the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) will be required to vote in favor of defending the abortion rights of Canadian women should the issue come up in legislation during his time as leader of the LPC. This demand is within his rights as leader of the party; party discipline is a key feature of the Canadian system of government and is central to its ability to pass legislation.
However, Trudeau has come under fire from some political commentators, such as Murphy, for applying a strict policy of party discipline in this particular case. Murphy, and others like him, take issue with Trudeau’s stance because they see it as a violation of legislators’ freedom to “vote with their conscience” on moral issues such as abortion where their personal religious beliefs may compel them to vote in a certain way. In Murphy’s words, “What kind of politics are they which require an MP to renounce his deepest moral commitments; indeed, to go beyond renunciation and declare himself positively in favour of ideas and actions which his faith condemns, his church forbids, and his conscience cannot abide?”
In my view, Murphy’s position is problematic to say the least. As voters we should not elect our representatives to be moral arbiters, imposing our personal religious views on the rest of society. If a legislator’s “deepest moral commitments” require her or him to try to restrict a woman’s ability to make her own decisions regarding her body, then it is the legislator’s patriarchal beliefs that should be disregarded, not Canadian women’s autonomy. The view that contemporary Western Christians are being persecuted, and that this is exemplified by their inability to impose their views on larger society through reactionary social policies, is both a dangerous idea and a highly delusional one. This sense of persecution is used to galvanize believers to causes such as the fights against marriage equality and abortion rights, as well as to try to push anti-scientific curricula into science classes.
Murphy’s hyperbolic title, “In Justin Trudeau’s World, Christians Need Not Apply”, makes it seem as if the LPC leader has banned Christians from his party altogether. The majority of current Canadian legislators are self-described Christians, so to pretend that Christians are underrepresented in our political system is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst. That a small minority of legislators who hold beliefs that fall outside the mainstream of Canadian society should be asked to defend the rights of women to make their own decisions regarding their bodies is both reasonable and just.