Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TEACHING INTOLERANCE FROM THE CONFEDERATION BUILDING

Finding a parking spot at the front of the Confederation Building was tough yesterday morning. 

A crowd had gathered to watch as the so called "Christian Flag" was hoisted to bring attention to the persecution of Christians throughout the world.

Christianity is certainly the largest faith group in Canada, but it is far from the only one. I believe in the freedom of speech, within limits (ie. publicly agitating hate based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion ) and the principle of separation of church and state. I also think most religions have a generally positive influence on their followers and on society.

There is no doubt that "Christians" in some parts of the world are persecuted and slaughtered for their beliefs, as are believers of other faiths.

My purpose is not to get into a tirade about religious denominations, or what brand of Christianity is better than the other.  33% of the world population claims to be Christian but there is no unified flag . In fact, 1,000 Christian faith groups in the U.S. and Canada believe themselves to be the only true Christian denomination.


I am a Christian. The only other time that  I have seen this flag was last year when it was flying next to a Confederate Flag in the United States related to a protest in support of bigot Kentucky town clerk Kim Davis's refusal to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples.

This "Christian Flag" is associated with many destructive Christian cults that profess hated and intolerance. A self proclaimed, americanized flag and pledge does not reflect all Christians. We have symbols - such as the cross - why would we want a symbol in another symbol?


Which leads to the question, why would any official at City Hall or the Provincial Government allow a controversial flag to fly over our democratic institutions? Are we not trying to attract immigrants  who may not share our Christian faith? Are we not acceptant of other faiths, genders, races, sexual orientations?

I am very curious to see how the approval process worked that permitted the flag of a small break away Anglican Church to represent all Christians.  It it is perplexing. Surely there are rules, standards, best procedures involved with allowing flags to be flown over our public institutions. How does a flag that is associated with intolerance make the cut?



Perhaps the provincial and  officials responsible for such poor decisions are simply ignorant, lacking in education and common sense; or perhaps they are determined to promote their religious convictions.

It displays a profound contempt for other faiths, atheists and those of other sexual orientations that are the victims of hate campaigns by extremists who proudly use this flag.

In fact, American case law is clear: the display of the Christian flag on public property violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

What precedent does this set for other organization that wish to use our public institutions to further their political and social views. How can we say no to a IslamicFlag or even a Tamil Tigers flag - if the purpose is to bring attention to the persecution of those group?

The bottom line is to each their own, love your neighbour, practice your faith, practice tolerance but religion does not have a place in our governance.

As a CHRISTIAN, I find this flag offensive.

As a member of a tolerant society, I find it incompressible as to why this particular flag or any other religious emblem would be flying over public buildings in our province on the face of the secular values inherent in our multi-cultural society!

I hope common sense prevails and the flag comes down!







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