Excerpt: Divine Interventions, on religion and government | Rick Salutin

Some interesting commentary by Rick Salutin on secularism and post-secularism:

That’s the real argument for post-secular tolerance: not just that it’s right but that everyone feels better; you’re no longer stifled by the monolithic, exclusive nature of an identity that, back home, defined and determined who you were, totally outside your will; here, in the Canadian blender with no dominant force, other possibilities jostle with it. Slowly, everyone gains access to new resources and the freedom to try them.

If not a definition, what about rules — or, as Captain Jack Sparrow says, guidelines. Here’s one for religion’s post-secular role, with thanks to Alia Hogben: in political discussions, no one may quote God. Why? Because it cuts off debate and tries to restore the pre-post-secular status quo. It’s like Godwin’s law about Internet debates: whoever mentions Hitler first loses.

This poses a challenge to religious people: they must find ways to make their point without quoting God. It forces them to express themselves in ways accessible to unbelievers. Not everyone will agree, but it’s easier than banning believers from the political arena totally — which will just alienate and frustrate them while depriving others of the benefit of their insights.

Besides, religion isn’t going to go anywhere. It’s more likely that other components of the post-secular public square, like Marxism, Ayn Randism, atheism, humanism or even, God willing, neo-liberal economics, will depart first. The point isn’t that religion in its many versions has answers that others don’t, but it’s one resource among others.

Excerpt: Divine Interventions, an ebook about religion and government | Toronto Star.

When atheist billboards and Muslim veils are both under threat, we need secularism

An op-ed by Justin Trotter and Kevin Smith of the Centre of Inquiry Canada on how secularism, properly understand, respects both the neutrality of public institutions and individual freedom of expression (unlike Quebec’s proposed charter which focuses on such individual freedom):

The appropriate response to this inconsistency is a middle ground based on secularism as neutrality, in which public institutions and the public square are cleansed of preferential treatment accorded to any religion, and where freedom of expression is enjoyed without discrimination by individual citizens. This should be a national interest. Quebec employees who are not in positions of authority should have their freedom to wear religious symbols respected. Atheists putting up advertisements on the other side of the country should have their access to market guaranteed. The fight for religious and secular expression is one and the same. That is the real meaning of secularism.

When atheist billboards and Muslim veils are both under threat, we need secularism – The Globe and Mail.

Tumulte autour de la laïcité – Il faut continuer de débattre | Le Devoir

Commentary on the panel discussion of the proposed Charter organized by Lucie Jobin, Présidente du Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ) (see earlier post Un débat sur un «Québec laïque» dérape | Le Devoir). I tend to believe the earlier account than this justification piece, given that the proponents of laicisme at the debate are as fundamentalist in their beliefs as the people they  are concerned about. People who may have attended may wish to comment.

Tumulte autour de la laïcité – Il faut continuer de débattre | Le Devoir.