Dear Minister Baird,
I see that you are setting aside $5million for an Office of Religious Freedom. It makes me nervous whenever governments start mixing their politics with religion. Good governance should be independent of religion. Mixing politics with religion is dangerous in the extreme, need I remind you of the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust?
Religious freedom means the freedom to practice a religion --- or not to practice a religion, or to practice many religions --- independent of governmental interference. Your Office of Religious Freedom has been set up to advocate on behalf of religion. This is wrong. It is the job of government to represent people, not religions! Religions do not have rights. People have rights!
It speaks volumes that you secretly consulted with "the Holy See in Rome, the Aga Khan, head of the Greek Orthodox Church" and their ilk --- yet you spare not one thought for the people whose political representative you claim to be. I am an anti-theist and a Canadian. How do you see your job? It is NOT your job to govern me according to secret advice from foreign god-freaks!
An "Office of Religious Freedom" can only end up serving the interests of those who force religion upon innocent people. I reiterate, freedom is for people, not religions! The simple fact of the matter is that there is a shameful terrible continuing history of religions gruesomely harming unbelievers. I urge you to protect the people, not the religion. Let us have an "Office of Personal Freedom".
Religion is not worth protecting --- freedom is, people are.
We have been told that the "Office of Religious Freedom" will protect religious rights and advocate on behalf of religions. It is the job of government to represent people, not religions! Religions do not have rights. People have rights! Let us have an "Office of Personal Freedom".
If there is one good thing that has come out of our invasion of Afghanistan, it must be a sharpening of our awareness of the extent to which people are persecuted by the religious: women forced to marry their rapists and apostates executed for their convictions. We can turn back the clock and be in the midst of similar travesties by Catholics, although other flavours of Christian were equally brutal when it pleased them to be so. Christian eyes more clearly see the hostility of one Muslim sect against another than they see the hostility between Christian sects. Jew, Christian, and Muslim all believe in the single same god and they're all quick to fight over who is the true believer.
So yes, Mr Harper and Mr Baird are correct to have concern for those persecuted by religion. Naturally, the religious apologist will claim that the persecution is not by religion but by people who claim to act in the name of religion. Unfortuantely, the bible and koran are full of exhortations to the contrary. If Muslim, Jew, or Christian really wish to wash their hands of the misdeads of those that act according to a literal reading of their texts, then they should first revise those texts to remove all that is false and nasty. This is not a job for government to do!
Mr Harper and Mr Baird are motivated by a need to protect people from persectuion by religion but their solution is to give government protection to religion. This is the logical equivalent of catching a taxi and having the driver tell you where he would take you. It is a pure nonsense!
And why would any self-respecting religion need government protection? God can protect his own religion, or not if that is his preference.
It is the job of government to protect people. People have a right to freedom. Any government that promotes the false-rights of religion is surely diminishing the real-rights of individual people.
So why is Prime Minister Harper going down this path. Well, for the same reason that our PM meets with the Pope (or our Prodestant Queen) whenever he (or she) comes to town --- and for the same reason I don't ever expect to have a private audience with the PM. It's called power-mongering amongst power-mongers: "My religious/political tribe will support you if you promote our crumby religion/party."
If we were free, we wouldn't be pathetic subjects of a Prodestant Monarchy.