Banning Tolerance

Janina Stajic

Monday, September 16 2013

If there’s anyone in their right, left or centre mind who can give me reason to support Quebec’s nefarious proposal to ban religious symbols from public intuitions I would welcome their response to this editorial. This charter is nothing but discriminatory nonsense that has no intrinsic value (as one astute journalist said “It’s a solution looking for a problem”) and in fact could help to inflame religious intolerance as of course it will discriminate mostly again non-Christians. Why? The people who came up with this idea have suggested ‘smaller’ symbols can be worn so the good Christians in society can simply wear a smaller cross. But there’s no such thing as a mini hijab, a wee yarmulke or a teeny turban. And what message is this sending to children in the society? That religion is so awful that we don’t want people to celebrate it in our public institutions (oh, unless there is already a cross hanging on the wall)? Frankly at the moment I think it’s far more damaging for our children to be exposed to celebrity culture (Miley Cyrus anyone?) then a hijab in the classroom. Or, to be taught, as we all are, to worship the God of Mammon rather than a religious figure. Their argument for this ‘charter’ is that the state is neutral and so their employees must reflect that. But by introducing this measure they are demonstrating exactly the opposite – that the state is not neutral and only certain types of people (Christians with small crosses) can play a part in it. If it wasn’t so frightening it would be laughable. But frightening it is, particularly in its sinister similarity to other countries who legislate what their citizens can and can’t wear. So I ask – what place does this have in our society?