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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Canadian Professor Calls for State Control of Religion

Canadian National Public Radio Broadcasts Call for State Control of Religion, Especially Catholicism:

Just as Senate approaches the final vote on the gay 'marriage' bill, C-38, Canada's national public radio CBC Radio has aired a commentary by a retired professor from the Royal Military College calling for state control over religion, specifically Catholicism. While parliamentarians dismissed warnings by numerous religious leaders and experts that such laws would lead to religious persecution, former professor Bob Ferguson has called for 'legislation to regulate the practice of religion.' ... Continuing his comparison Ferguson stated, "I envisage a congress meeting to hammer out a code that would form the basis of legislation to regulate the practice of religion. Like the professional engineers' P.Eng designation, there would then be RRPs (or registered religious practitioners). To carry the analogy to its conclusion, no one could be a religious practitioner without this qualification." Ferguson also suggests 'obvious' prohibitions on religion including preaching of 'hate'. "I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc.," says Ferguson.
It should be obvious that he is not actually calling for state regulation of religion, he is actually calling for imposition of his secular faith (by force if necessary.) It is quite possible that the value he is supposedly championing are laudable and that the various religious denominations would do well to adopt them. That is really beside the point however. One lesson that I believe can convincingly be drawn from history is that whenever a religious ideology is promoted by force the society it is foisted on and the ideology itself are both greatly damaged. I don't think that Canada is anywhere near enacting anything like this (although with some of their speech codes they are not all far away from this as one would wish) but it is clear that there are people who desire this end, and that religious people who fear such a thing are not entirely paranoid. I am not deeply religious, although I have a lot of respect for faith and people who hold it. Religious or not though, this sort of stifling of freedom in the name of tolerance has the potential to be truly dangerous. (via The Anchoress)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

The way I've always looked at is this: Government mandates on religion are not right, but they need to be applied to everyone, including those who choose not to practice any religion whatsoever.

That being said, anything that is clearly not a government mandate, I see nothing wrong with.

For example, while I agree mandatory prayer in public schools is not appropriate, I see nothing wrong with voluntary organizations in schools, such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The key word is "voluntary." As long as you don't force somebody to participate in a religious activity, there's no harm done.

So yes, I agree with you that Ferguson is barking up the wrong tree.

7/21/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Mystic Knight said...

"It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone."

Right.

Isn't that sort of the whole point of most religions, that they ARE the only path?

7/21/2005 01:17:00 PM  

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