The federal Conservative government is creating an Office of Religious Freedom, intending to monitor and criticize religious persecution and to promote religious freedom around the world. Perhaps especially in Winnipeg, where the Harper Government’s preferred religion is Youth for Christ (Winnipeg) Incorporated.
This organization received $6.8 million from government in the last two years, most of that from the Harper government. Grants of public funds enabled the charity to accumulate a surplus of $8.2 million at the end of 2011. Because of its focus on preaching to Aboriginals, the fundamentalist organization has been accused of trying to design a modern-day equivalent of residential schools, sad institutions of Canada’s dark past.
Were the Harperites serious about religious freedom, as opposed to promotion of a fundamentalist Christian sect, they would not dump millions of dollars into minority institutions. Nor would they have cancelled the contracts of part-time prison chaplains, an act that eliminated non-Christian religious staff from federal correction facilities.
If they were truly interested in religious freedom, they would stop promoting any prayerful organizations. Freedom is about each of us making our own decisions and tolerance is about fellow citizens respecting those individual decisions.
Stephen Harper and fellow fundamentalist Christians should not design a policy that makes their personal religion the preferred sect of Canada’s government and its taxpayers.
Categories: Harper Government