In Justin Trudeau’s world, Christians need not apply

An odd post by Rex Murphy on religion and politics, prompted by Justin Trudeau’s decision that Liberal party candidates and MPs must toe the party line on abortion:

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 that his faith condemns, his Church forbids, and his conscience cannot abide?

Religion, under these conditions, cannot survive political engagement. An understanding of politics based on an exclusion of thoughtful and engaged religious people — on the rejection of ideas and understandings offered by the great religious teachers and the massive legacy of thought our churches have to offer — is radically incomplete.

As things now are, a truly religious person must actually stay out of politics — must forgo an active role in democratic government — because in our brazen and new age, he or she will be faced with irreconcilable moral choices. If elected, he or she will be required to betray their faith and themselves, and on those very issues that matter most: issues of life, family, autonomy and the dignity of persons.

Whatever one’s views on abortion, the broader issue, as Rex points out, is the relationship between religion and politics. But his view breaks down when we look at other religions, where I suspect he would be less absolutist.

Would Rex support a party allowing an Islamist candidate opposed to equality for women? Advocating for sharia?

What about traditional Sikh or Jewish candidates who disagree with equality for LGBT persons?

What is different about Catholic orthodoxy compared to other orthodoxies that makes it more unchallengeable?

In the public arena, one has to temper one’s personal religious beliefs with the reality of living in a diverse, multicultural and pluralistic society. Most leaders get this and it is no accident that PM Harper has kept his social conservatives in line on abortion and other issues.

This is not to diminish the moral, ethical and faith dilemmas that abortion and other social issues pose for politicians, but it’s part of the “job description.” And there are plenty of ways to live your faith on a wide variety of other economic and social policy issues.

Rex Murphy: In Justin Trudeau’s world, Christians need not apply




About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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