Religion in Retreat

– in Montreal, Quebec –

It’s never too early to close the minds of the young. That’s the thinking of the provincial government here, which recently announced a ban on religion in subsidized daycare centres.

Subsidized daycare is a central part of social policy in Quebec — parents pay $7/day, and provincial government pays the rest, about $40/day. The government of Quebec is now increasing its vigilance on what dangerous ideas the toddlers might be exposed to. Continue reading

A time for light to penetrate the darkness

There is a forbidding verse in the 12th chapter of Saint Luke’s Gospel: Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Imagine what our neighbours, our colleagues, our schoolmates might think if they knew what we said in secret. Would our friends feel betrayed? Would our enemies take delight? Continue reading

Hope and diamond earrings

I came late to the frenzy. A few nights ago, flipping through the channels, I happened upon Oprah and her audience in a state of advanced excitation. She was giving them a series of expensive gifts, and in return they whipped themselves into a hysteria of screaming, shrieking, weeping, embracing, leaping and collapsing. Subsequent research revealed that this was a feature called “my favourite things,” in which Oprah and her sponsors lavish her favourite luxury items upon the audience. She does this every year, and this year, being the final year of her eponymous show, she did it twice. Apparently everyone knows this. Continue reading

Christmas time is here, prepare for the Globe’s seasonal religious cheer

Just in time for Christmas, The Globe and Mail newspaper ran a five-part series on the “future of faith” in Canada. In its unflagging service to the nation, the Globe customarily marks the Christmas season with depressing religion stories. This year’s contribution was rather more ambitious than most, and worth a read. Continue reading

A bold challenge from Rome

China’s reaction to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo was in keeping with how totalitarian regimes behave. The long time campaigner for freedom in China was not allowed to attend the ceremony, and the Chinese government prevented news of it from being broadcast on television or transmitted on the Internet. But that was not the only crackdown on liberty in China highlighted this week. Continue reading