What Say You?

Quebec Bans Religious Symbols

Courtesy Stockvault.net

Supporters say it “upholds the separation between religion and state, and maintains the neutrality of public sector workers.”

Critics say it “flouts freedom of religion, breaches constitutional protections and excludes minorities who choose to wear symbols of faith from vital professions.

A Catholic teacher, who wears a visible cross and medallion of the Virgin Mary, said in court papers that her faith and identity were inextricably bound, and that her constitutional right to freedom of religion was being breached. Others who wear religious symbols of other faiths echo this sentiment.

The ban has its roots in Quebec’s historic evolution into an abidingly secular society.

34 thoughts on “What Say You?

  1. Hi Nan,
    I’m not sure where you are getting your info from, but religious symbols were NEVER a problem as long as they were only Catholic symbols, Quebec being a highly Catholic province. It was only when Muslim or other non-christian symbols started appearing that this became an issue. Burkas turned it into a huge issue. This is religious persecution, and nothing less.
    For a Catholic to say her cross is part of her identity, but suggest other things are religious but not personal is a farce. This from a Canadian.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rawgod doesn’t understand either the law or the history of Quebec to say this standard media tripe.

    The law – Bill 16 if I recall correctly – removes religious symbols from being worn by those who act as officers of the state. The hue and cry over ‘religious freedom’ utterly fails to take into account the feelings of those being served by these officers. It’s the age-old argument that anything that interferes with individuals advertising their religious affiliation even when being paid to act as a representative of something other than individual identity MUST be religious discrimination. It’s just as wrong and argument here as Officer Bob deciding which PUBLIC laws he will enforce based on his PRIVATE preferences and complaining about interference with his personal freedom when corrected.

    This is not religious persecution – as every court has ruled when taken there by the religiously deluded who expect nothing but special treatment and legal privilege for it – but creating a level playing field for all officers of the state to appear unbiased and unaligned when acting as an agent of the SECULAR state.

    Boo-fricken-hoo.

    I am in daily contact with some Yazidi refugees and they keep asking me why the state doesn’t recognize or care about their feelings? This family has immediate members who have been raped, tortured, and some killed by people who wear the same religious garb as these pathetic individuals who decry being told they can’t advertise their faith while working as officers of the state that the Yazidi must use. Talk about being triggered… having to send their traumatized children to a PUBLIC school where their teacher is dressed in the enemy’s uniform.

    Think on that, rawgod in your zest to appear to be virtuous and respectful in the guise of claiming religious persecution for not being able to wear your religious advertising when working with state authority in the PUBLIC domain.

    Quebec gets this one right (and upon passing of the Bill removed the large cross from the National Assembly).

    Liked by 5 people

  3. BTW, the law is grandfathered so that previous employees can continue wearing their religious privilege and feel entitled to do so while new hires cannot.

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    • That sure seems lopsided to me. I understand the principle behind it, but …

      The primary reason I posted this is to point out how “upset” the religious crowd gets when someone steps on their toes, but it’s A-OK for them to push their prayers, symbols, icons, statues, etc. into secular settings.

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      • It is lopsided, but the gov’t was trying to fair and not change the rules half way through, so to speak.

        Rawgod is right in one regard: the influx of burka-wearing women into the teaching profession in particular was causing a growing outcry about foreigners flooding into a sensitive political landscape… a people unified by a linguistic difference from the Rest of Canada (called semi-fondly as the ROC by Quebecois) who had not gone through the long, slow, and painful public extraction of its institutions from the Catholic Church’s once-iron grip. This is what the Quiet Revolution was all about, if people know their Canadian history.

        Religion and religious expression is a very sensitive topic in Quebec and it should be noted that over 70% of Quebecers support this Bill. There are very few gov’t policies anywhere that achieve such an across-the-board high approval rating, so to strike down this law by the federal court over the provincial will spark yet another powerful separatist movement against what is considered the very stupid meddling of do-gooder federalists (that is to say, Ontario English speaking voters) to intentionally and with malice interfere in Quebec politics and impinge on Quebec’s near-sacred right to its own civil law (which is a condition of federation, donchaknow).

        This is why I say that rawgod’s opinion clearly does not grasp the context or danger to Canada by misguided people thinking themselves morally superior to ‘correct’ what they presume must be a discriminatory legal ‘bias’ supported only by bigots and xenophobes. Yes, there is a fear but that fear is quite legitimate.

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      • but it’s A-OK for them to push their prayers, symbols, icons, statues, etc. into secular settings.” My take on this is quite different, but that may be that I grew up in a different environment. Very few of my fellow countrymen view public display of religious symbols as “pushing” or “imposing” their beliefs onto others.

        That may be because fewer than half the population have a religious affiliation (33% Christian and 12% all other religions). We are constitutionally a secular nation, but none other than a few religious and non-religious bigots object to religious symbols in either the private or public domain. It’s simply part of sharing the diversity that makes up this nation. There’s no requirement for you to wear symbols or participate in ceremonies if you don’t wish to. Nobody should make any judgement about you whether or not. After all, it is a free country.

        Besides, how does one distinguish between religious and cultural symbolism? Is the wearing of a beard cultural or religious? How about the hijab? In this country Sikh police officers can wear a turban (and carry their ceremonial dagger) – religious or cultural? Every official occasion will include a karakia. Religious or cultural? Forests, rivers and their entire watersheds, and mountains are legally living entities with the same rights and privileges as people. Religious or cultural?

        Our Bill of Rights Act states “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”. Banning of religious symbols would be contrary to the spirit of that legislation.

        Tildeb does have a point that in some circumstances the display of some symbols (not necessarily only religious ones – the swastika for example, or a military uniform) may be a distressing trigger, but surely this is a matter of sensitivity on a case by case basis. For example a female victim of male violence is most likely to be referred to a female police officer instead of a male officer, but if the attacker was female, then unless the attack was sexual, the gender of the officer probably doesn’t matter.

        Often, a little commonsense is a better solution than imposing widespread bans.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Barry, you don’t get off that easily!

          You presume that, “none other than a few religious and non-religious bigots object to religious symbols in either the private or public domain. It’s simply part of sharing the diversity…” You’ve just called millions of Quebecers “bigots.” How very tolerant of you! Very sensitive. But, hey, this respect for diversity only goes so far… right up until a position is in conflict with your own, am I right?

          Let’s see if I’m right.

          You also say that in, “some circumstances the display of some symbols (not necessarily only religious ones – the swastika for example, or a military uniform) may be a distressing trigger, but surely this is a matter of sensitivity on a case by case basis.”

          Surely. A matter ofsensitivity! Those darn people… so insensitive! But not you. Look how willing you are to be inclusive: on a case by case basis, of course. With bigots…

          You can smear millions of Quebecers as bigots and that’s not insensitive at all… apparently… because it’s in the name of ‘sensitivity’ for some perceived minority that are all grouped under this label of ‘religious’ that you, once again, presume feel such a close bond with the identity of their religion that they have to wear its symbols while on official duty (as well as privately, you think, even though often the religious symbols are removed at home…) or… what… they’ll melt? Their ‘freedom’ to advertise their private religious beliefs will be impinged. Boohoo.

          But you draw the line, apparently, at the swastika and have no sensitivity to the delicate feelings of those poor national socialists who, apparently, are not allowed by you to share the same sentiment of identity as those with religious sentiments. Nope. The bigotry is clear and it’s assigned by you… but assigned to only those you presume are bigots because, well, just because that’s what causes not granting special privilege to the wearing of religious symbols while exercising public authority! There’s nice piece of circular reasoning.

          And you have no sense of hypocrisy nor any sense of granting very specific special treatment that you are willing to grant to these people but not those people because this identity is valid and that identity too triggering… but apparently not on a case by case basis for the religious side of this issue. You are the Decider! And, somehow, you’ve decided you aren’t the one imposing ‘widespread bans’ by labeling anyone who disagrees with the privilege a bigot; you’re the one offering privilege here but not there and calling it diversity and sensitivity rather than bigotry. After all, you can’t possibly be the bigot here.

          My point before your headache sets in is that you reveal the problem sweeping the western world: you presume you have the right to tell others to go along with your sense of entitlement and privilege that YOU are willing to parcel out as YOU see fit or be labeled as a bigot… even though you are doing exactly that – demonstrating bigotry (def: showing intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself) – but calling yourself respectful of diversity and sensitivity doing so. And thinking yourself tolerant! This is the hallmark feature of post modern muddled thinking (known by various names but what I will call ‘Woke’ culture) that inverts language – in this case ‘bigotry’, ‘respect’, ‘sensitivity’, and ‘diversity’ to make everything seem virtuous when it’s clearly a form of thinking that creates and permits and supports vice. As the children’s song goes, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here,” and that thing is woke ‘thinking’. It’s broken.

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          • No Tildeb, you miss the mark completely, apart from the use of the word bigot. I regretted choosing that word the moment I hit the Send button. It was supposed to be a temporary filler while I looked for a more suitable term. It’s a word you you throw about liberally and why you remain in moderation on my blog, but its a word I prefer to avoid. I’ll concede I often find it difficult to choose the most appropriate word to use, especially on a forum where shades of meaning can differ significantly between cultures, even English speaking ones, not to mention the fact that the wife and I still misunderstand each other at times even though we’ve been together for 48 years.

            I perhaps should have used the word ‘intolerant’ or perhaps ‘narrow minded’. But before you jump on your high horse once again, let me make it quite clear that in this context it is relative. I was referring to fellow Kiwis Not to the folk in Quebec. What is acceptable or not acceptable in one culture (New Zealand) may or may not be acceptable in another (Canada). I’m fine with that. Perhaps you aren’t?

            I find it rather incredulous that you would assume that what might not be acceptable in Aotearoa New Zealand necessarily applies anywhere else. When it comes to social sensitivities, I know little of that province nor of Canada as a whole. I have no idea why you have come to the conclusion you have. My immediate thought is that your dislike of religion and your knowledge that I feel differently has coloured your interpretation of what I wrote. Alternatively, my use of language as a Kiwi and/or being autistic means you read into my words something I didn’t intend.

            Please re-read my comments again, keeping mind that regardless of whether I used ‘bigot’ or ‘intolerant’ or ‘narrow minded’ or any other term, I was referring to my view of a small minority of Kiwis who have views that are at odds with the majority. And to be honest there probably are better words to use if I had given it more time to research through word options.

            My objection to banning symbols is based on the principle of freedom of expression, not on the protection of religion or its expression. If you ban what you perceive as religious symbols, where does it end? Who decides what is religious?

            The swastika is just such an example. No I do not draw the line with this symbol as you seem to believe. I was using it as an example of a non-religious symbol that can be extremely disturbing and offensive to many people, just as a crucifix, a military uniform or even a police uniform might be to some people due to their personal experiences. If you re-read what I wrote, you will see that I did not advocate the banning of the swastika or any other symbol for that matter. Banning that symbol raises exactly the same issues as banning a crucifix, a crescent, a turban, a hijab, or god forbid, a beard. That was what I was attempting to say.

            That symbol is, as you say, highly offensive to many people, but not all the world holds it in similar light. For example, in Japan the swastika is used on road maps to indicate the location of Buddhist temples. The symbol does not indicate the locations of dens of national socialists. Should a local authority ban such maps from their information centres, or carefully twink out each symbol before putting the map on display? Perhaps they should be treated like cigarettes and banned from public display behind nondescript and locked cabinets and made available only on request.

            I started the original comment with “my take” specifically so that what I wrote would be understood as a point of view, not to taken in absolute terms, not to prescribe what should or should not be banned, but how the concept of banning symbols would be viewed by Kiwis and specifically this Kiwi. And I gave specific examples of problems that would arise if attempts to ban the display of symbols, religious or not, was attempted here.

            Here’s another example. I frequently wear a Hei Matau given to me by my former son-in law. I value it highly. The majority of Māori also wear a pendant (for want of a better English word) of some type. Depending on how it’s worn and what articles of clothing one has on, it may be or may not be easily seen. These pendants contain religious, spiritual and cultural significance, either for the wearer or for the person who presented it as a gift. It’s not something one gives to oneself. Again, I ask is it a religious, spiritual or cultural symbol, or is just a “personal adornment” that caries no significance at all? Who decides?

            How about wedding rings? For many Christians, their wedding ring is most definitely a religious symbol. Are they banned in Quebec as well?

            What about Moko (facial tattoos)? They too can hold religious, spiritual and/or cultural significance. In other words they can be religious symbols. Should a public servant’s job be determined by whether or not he or she has one? Should their manager grill the wearer as to what the moko means to them, and ban them from the front desk if the wearer admits to a religious symbolism. Or should everyone with a moko be banned from the front desk because a client might view it as a religious symbol and would be offended, or feel the wearer is pushing their religion onto the client?

            I appreciate that in many cultures, the public display of tattoos is frowned upon and in some countries banned. In Japan you are barred from any public pool or onsen if a tattoo is visible, no matter where on the body it is located. Air New Zealand tried to ban cabin crew with tattoos (including moko) from international flights as some passengers from some countries were offended or frightened by them. The airline lost its case. Freedom of expression won over customers being offended. These issues may be peculiar to Aotearoa New Zealand, but I suspect similar issues would arise in other jurisdictions.

            A ban of religious symbols in Quebec exists, and I would expect that the ban would also apply to my Hei Matau. Fair enough, but I should still be able to argue that the banning of symbols is against the spirit of freedom of expression, as I understand the term, without being labeled a hypocrite. I see no difference between religious and non-religious symbols, be they objects or performances. And in a New Zealand context, such a ban would be highly offensive to a significant section of the population.

            Another example: In some regions of the country we have problems with what we refer to as motorcycle gangs. They are often involved in organised crime and tend to use violence to get their way. When congregating in public areas, they can be very intimidating especially when dressed in their gang regalia. Some local authorities have attempted to ban the wearing of gang insignia in an effort to keep them from congregating in public places, only to run foul of the the Bill of Rights Act and its protection of the freedom of expression.

            Would I like to see the banning of gang insignia? Yes I would if I was sure that would make it safer for the general public, although I very much doubt it would have the desired effect. But liking a ban is one thing, wanting it to exist is another. I would be opposed to a ban on gang insignia for the very same reasons I oppose the banning of religious symbols.

            I am also sensitive to the fact that in some instances the display of symbols, religious or otherwise is indeed inappropriate. Common sense, or if necessary persuasion and arbitration, is preferable to a blanket ban in my view.

            Your assumption that I have a list of symbols I think should be banned while others should be permitted is no more than a figment of your imagination, let alone the idea that I would wish to impose that (non-existent) list on any one else or any other country for that matter.

            If I get lost in an unfamiliar place, I have no hesitation in asking directions from a police officer wearing a turban or a solitary motorcyclist displaying the full Mongrel Mob insignia. I don’t need to assume that they’ll attempt to push their religion or lifestyle at me. When I renew the car registration, I don’t need to be concerned that the lady behind the counter who is wearing a hijab will try to convert me to Islam.

            From my perspective, and I emphasise it’s my perspective, I view all symbols worn by others as personal adornments that have no special meaning or significance to myself while acknowledging the adornment may be of significance, religiously, spiritually, culturally or personally to the wearer. I would like to think that that attitude is reciprocated. If that makes me a hypocrite, then I’m guilty as charged.

            So Tildeb, what is it that I apparently have claimed is permissible and not permissible? I have argued that symbols should not be banned based on the spirit of freedom of expression not on the basis of freedom of religion. Additionally, any definition of what symbols is religious is arbitrary and open to abuse.

            One last thing you might like to clear up for me. I found your “My point before your headache sets in” somewhat offensive. At best the comment was in bad taste and unnecessary. At worst, the implication is that I use headaches to avoid discussion. If I’m wrong I apologise. I will make the point that I don’t suffer from headaches. I suffer from chronic migraine. Headaches are merely a symptom, and fortunately in my case, it’s a symptom that often does not accompany a migraine attack.

            Nan, sorry for the length of this comment but I couldn’t leave tildeb’s unfounded criticism unanswered.

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            • I find it hilarious that so many people see religious symbols as some kind of individual expression. They’re not. They are identical in meaning to gang colours. And you bet that such overt displays are very much restricted when working in the public domain. But the idea that restricting them indicates bigotry is only popular when it comes to religion. Hence, the special treatment and privileging championed by those whose thinking is muddled.

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            • But religion is a personal matter, at least in this country it is. Working in the public domain does not does not make you a non-person nor does it mean everything you express represents the authority you work for.

              I will remind you that the majority of kiwis are not religious and for those who are, most believe their faith traditions are a truth, not the truth. Of course, there are some, my son is an example, who are convinced their truth is the absolute truth. But they make up such a small percentage of the population that their influence is relatively insignificant.

              The simple fact is that in this mostly secular country, no one gives a damn what religious symbols are displayed. They are not perceived as pushing a religion or ideology. In other countries where the influence of religion is stronger it seems that religious symbols have more significance, so much so that their display is perceived as promoting or pushing that religion. That very idea seems strange to us.

              In this country an example of religious symbolism that is the equivalent of a group of bikies in gang colours would be several hundred brown shirted members of “Bishop” Tamaki’s Destiny Church marching on Parliament in protest to the recognition of same sex marriage, while shouting out homophobic slogans. But an individual in a brown shirt? Who cares?

              I notice you have ignored the issues I raised about what constitutes a religious symbol. If they are to be banned, how do you define what is religious and what is not? Does spiritual count as religious? Would a ban on religious symbols mean that our Prime Minister would be banned from wearing the hijab while acting in an official capacity when in dialog with Muslims? Or how about the many, many non-Muslim women in the public service, including police officers, who donned the hijab in solidarity with Muslim women who find themselves the victim of racial or religious abuse and discrimination because of their distinctive attire?

              Your original tirade was over my aledged hypocracy regarding religious symbols versus other symbols whereas in fact I make no such distinctions. Yet you completely ignore my reinforcement of that fact and state “But the idea that restricting them indicates bigotry is only popular when it comes to religion” which seems to imply that I do object only to the restricting of religious symbols but not others. I do not.

              Finally, your silence regarding my request to clarify what you meant with the headache comment leaves me wondering whether you are simply insensitive or whether you intended it to be a put down, an insult. Which is it?

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            • First off, you have signed off on dozens and dozens of discussions with me with the reason your migraines seem to worsen when you try to follow my reasons. Hence, I was cutting to the chase.

              Second, you raised the idea that because the Nazi symbol could invoke certain feelings, perhaps it is reasonable to ban it (but not religious symbols)… but on a “case by case basis,” whatever in the world that means. Mobile emergency tribunals, perhaps?

              Thirdly, I pointed out your original assumption that labeled ANYONE who, “other than a few religious and non-religious bigots object to religious symbols in either the private or public domain.” You may have been referring only to Kiwis but the sentiment is identical to those presuming bigotry drives the Quebec law. In the same way, are you seriously saying any Kiwi who objects to the symbol-laden biker gang member serving them as, say, a police officer is therefore bigoted if they think this private affiliation has no place in this official capacity? Of course it does, and yet you do see that legitimate concern as anything other than bigotry.

              Finally, you have expressed some concern about the feelings you have when you encounter a biker wearing the symbols of their affiliation. This indicates to me (but obviously not you) that you are holding a double standard because you grant religious symbols displayed in the same circumstance a free pass but are willing to immediately label the person who feels it is inappropriate and unnecessary for the police officer or judge or teacher or government administrator to show such an affiliation as a bigot. This is the hypocrisy I am pointing out. (hypocrisy def: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.) And this is why I also say you are appointing yourself justified to make these distinctions (without understanding or seeing your own bigotry on behalf of religious gang membership hard at work here). Assuming as you do that it is the bigotry of others that motivates the reasons against the wearing by PUBLIC officials (with authority from the state when acting in that capacity) the right to ALSO promote/advertise/indicate their PRIVATE gang affiliations (with authority from the state when acting in that capacity) in the name of freedom of expression is intolerant (intolerant def: not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own). You have applied the label of bigot outwards, as I’ve quoted, and are trying to present this characterization as what it is NOT: tolerant, sensitive, and necessary to allow for diversity. It is hypocrisy and bigotry hard at work defending religious intrusion into the public domain using the inverted terms common to wokeness that oh-so-typically vilifies those who have legitimate and reasonable counter-arguments.

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            • To you, the headache comment might only be cutting to the chase, but as someone who has to battle migraine on an almost daily basis for approaching 60 years, it was in poor taste. And the reason this reply is delayed is because of one. It’s a fact of life I have to deal with.

              While it’s true that I find your reasoning difficult and sometimes impossible to follow, it’s the general tone of your language and the use of emotive and often pejorative language that’s triggering to me that is a bigger issue. There I’ve admitted it, the way you use language terrifies me. It’s the kind of “education” that results if one is an undiagnosed autistic for 60 years.

              Your second point: I made no such suggestion that the swastika should be banned, not even the nazi version of it. Case by case does not mean symbol by symbol, it means incident by incident – the same way as any other offensive behaviour is managed. Common sense, taking into consideration the sensibilities of the various parties, is the first step, and if that fails there’s arbitration, education and persuasion and then if all fails, the disciplinary process as for any offensive behaviour.

              Your third point: My regret for using the word bigot was not regarding what it means, but that it is often thrown about in a way that implies a lot more about a person than the word should. But the word as it should be used was appropriate. My words were “none other than a few religious and non-religious bigots object to religious symbols”. One definition of a bigot is “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions”, another is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”. In other words, I’m referring to people who are obstinately or intolerantly devoted to their opinions and prejudices regarding the display of symbols, religious or otherwise. You know better than I whether or not that this is the case in Quebec, but I very much doubt it.

              Finally: My unease about some symbols is no reason for them to be banned, and if you understood my comment about brown shirts (although that was a Freudian slip – they were actually black), you would realise that those shirts were indeed being used as a religious symbol, and in mass they had much the same effect as nazi brownshirts in mass. But to ban them? Absolutely not.

              And one other point: Somewhere before the migraine intervened you mentioned the idea of religious neutrality by the state, but I can’t locate it now. So you’ll have to excuse me placing it here.

              You stated the neutral position is the prohibition of the display of religious symbols. I don’t agree. Once the state starts making declarations of what is or is not acceptable, it is no longer neutral. The neutral position, as I see it, is not to regulate at all. I’m not making a statement about the rightness or wrongness of blanket bans, just that regulation for or against something removes any neutrality in my view. And my unease about who decides what does or does not constitute a religious symbol remains.

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            • Barry, you wrote: In other countries where the influence of religion is stronger it seems that religious symbols have more significance, so much so that their display is perceived as promoting or pushing that religion. That very idea seems strange to us.

              I wish it were “strange” to us in the U.S., but unfortunately we are one of those countries where the influence of one particular religion imposes itself on every facet of our lives. Others may not agree, but this is why I, personally, am less disturbed by burkas, skull caps, and turbans than I am by CHRISTIAN symbols.

              I would never deny the right of a person to worship as they please (even the Pastafarians 🙂), but in the U.S., Christianity is promoted and pushed on every street corner … and this is why so many of us rebel against it, in particular, so strongly.

              In the case of Quebec, it seems to me their primary desire is to separate church and state … and it would seem to me they have the prerogative to do that.

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            • Both Makagotu and consolereader have summed up my thoughts better than I can and in far fewer words 🙂

              And what\s wrong with the Pastafarians? They look rather fetching in their colander hats. I’ve even got a few colanders stored in a kitchen drawer in case they hold a rally in my vicinity. They take themselves a little bit less seriously than Jedi (Irrelevant fact: According to the 2001 NZ Census, there were approximately 35 Jedi for every Quaker in this country)

              And of course Quebec has the prerogative to act as best they see fit. I have not stated otherwise. All I wished to do was express my opinion on why such a move would be an uncomfortable fit in this part of the world and nothing more.

              I’m aware that somehow I push all the wrong buttons for tildeb, so I prefer to remain silent when I think he might be around. I simply find his style too confrontational for my comfort, and that’s not why I visit blogging sites.

              I’m better able to express myself in written form than I can in spoken form. I can practice what I want to say for as long as I need before I press the send button – something that can’t be done in real-time face to face conversation. But 60 years of being an undiagnosed autistic and being gas-lighted by language similar to that used by tildeb into thinking I was in some way inferior intellectually and socially has had an effect.

              In the real world such language often deteriorated into bullying or straight out violence. and while I might be able rationally understand that that’s never going to happen with tildeb I still find his use of language triggering, probably in much the same way you experience Christian symbols.

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        • Barry’s words: “We are constitutionally a secular nation, but none other than a few religious and non-religious bigots object to religious symbols in either the private or public domain. It’s simply part of sharing the diversity that makes up this nation.”

          So in New Zealand most people are fine with others wearing religious symbols, except for a few bigots.

          Tildeb’s interpretation: So what you’re really saying is that most of the people of Quebec who support this law are a bunch of bigots! Now let me lecture on how bad and muddled your thinking is by engaging in some bad and muddled thinking!

          I can see why Tildeb causes Barry to get so many headaches!

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          • You’ve interpreted my meaning correctly, although I regret using the term bigot. And as far as your interpretation of tildeb’s interpretation goes, I agree entirely with the first sentence. As for the second sentence, that’s how it feels, but as to its accuracy, only tildeb knows.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t see the article due to the paywall, but I gather the headline is misleading. Québec did not “ban religious symbols”, it banned public employees from wearing religious symbols on the job. If you have a cross on the wall in your house or if you wear a pentagram on your own time when you aren’t at work, you’re not going to be arrested, as “bans religious symbols” would imply.

    As such, this could even be defended on the basis of our own First Amendment on the grounds that letting police or bureaucrats wear religious symbols creates a potentially intimidating environment for members of the public who are not of the same religion but need to deal with those officials. It would be a borderline case, but a defensible argument. (Yes, I know the US Constitution does not apply in Canada, but it shows that the logic is somewhat similar.) I think some European countries have a similar rule.

    When I was unemployed last year and went to the Oregon state employment department for help, the person who interviewed me was wearing a hijab. As I recall, I didn’t feel particularly intimidated or offended by this. For all I know, though, Québec may have social tensions over such issues that the US does not. It’s a grey area. Either side of the argument is defensible.

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    • That’s exactly right, Infidel. Religious freedom is alive and well in Quebec and protected under our version of the Bill of Rights, namely the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Do what you want, wear what you want, in the private domain but if you are representing the public and have authority from that job, then you don’t get the right to advertise your religious affiliation in the face of those who must encounter you and your borrowed authority and call it freedom of religion. By analogy, a person can’t use the authority of a public office – say, a police officer – and represent by symbol some personal allegiance to an anti-police organization and call it freedom of association.Public and private; the religious tend to have much difficulty grasping why these are different terms.

      The religious and their supporters who think this law is discriminatory really don’t see, don’t grasp, don’t understand or appreciate, but clearly do not care, why pushing private religious belief through the use of symbols in the public domain while WORKING for the public in this domain might be considered deeply offensive and completely inappropriate.

      But I’ll bet this goes to the Supreme Court so that the virtue signallers can champion the poor downtrodden religious folk from the imposition of bigotry somehow related to white supremacy that they think they must combat. Little do they know they are the real threat to the continuation of Canada as a place of tolerance and respect for differences. They just don’t get it in their mad rush to pretend the Muslim is the downtrodden when, in fact, the Jews are by far the most targeted. But hey, they’re mostly white…

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    • Sorry about the paywall. It’s getting so a person has to PAY to read any type of online news article. Even if they only visit that particular news source every now and then. When I see NY TImes or NY Post is the source, I just scroll on by.

      Greediness knows no bounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do not think religious symbols of any religion have a place on public documents, buildings, monuments, etc. However, if a person wishes to wear a cross, a Star of David, a hajib, or whatever … so what? As long as they’re not shoving their religion down the throats of others, I don’t really care. However, it’s all or nothing at all. Either symbols of ALL religions are allowable, or NONE. Sheesh … why does this have to be so bloody hard for people???

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know John, but as long as the government employee isn’t trying to convert me, they can wear whatever they want. I sit in a school board where the principal is a nun and wears her regular habit and so far as i can tell, her habit has not been a barrier between her and those she serves. What do we achieve by demanding that public servants don’t wear any religious symbols? Maybe I don’t understand the extent to which freedom of expression goes. Is it limited only to private realms? We defend journalists, artists even for pieces that others might find offensive.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I agree with this, Jill: I find public religious symbols annoying, in many instances, since for the most part they’re so big and physically obtrusive–but have no quarrel with a private person who wishes to wear ‘religious’ jewelry or clothing, not for the sake of proclaiming, but because it’s part of who they are–
    As a former Catholic, we were taught (and quite rightly so) that genuflecting or the sign of the cross in public was tacky, and not to be done. No “swatting flies” at the baseball game, or taking a knee.
    In other words, keep the holy stuff for the holy places, don’t wear it out.

    And if someone is more comfortable with a birqa (or without it, for that matter), then they should wear it. Banning all outward signs of a religion would also mean Mennonites and the Amish would not be allowed to wear those long dresses or the broad brimmed hats, and Hasidic Jews could not wear the sideburns and head covering their faith insists on. That would also, Im guessing, mean no more clerical collars, and no more nuns wearing their habits.

    Like

  7. I worship the Great Golden Boot, a god who kicks those I dislike hard in the arse, and His symbol is a Great Golden Boot planted firmly against a naked, fat buttocks. As long as I can continue to wear His image on my t-shirts and jewelry when I visit other places, I’m fine, but should the image of my God be banned ANYWHERE in the world when I’m visiting, I’ll send Him to plant His Great Golden Boot HARD against the arses of all those who’ve banned Him! All praise the Great Golden Boot! And woe to he who refuses to worship Him–for his buttocks shall quiver in fear/pain for all eternity. $Amen$

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think this can go either way. On the one hand, employers do have a right to establish dress codes, even outside of the context of religion.

    On the other, I don’t really see wearing religious jewelry or clothing necessarily constitutes pushing a religion on somebody. I never saw someone wearing a cross necklace or wearing headgarb and assumed they are telling me that I should join their religion.

    Liked by 3 people

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