Friday, April 06, 2007

Blog Against Theocracy

In a wonderful secular democracy like Canada, who'd have thunk we'd have to "Blog Against Theocracy" -- to me, the separation of church and state has always been a given. Both have their place: like human beings and fish, they can co-exist peacefully. But one is public while the other is private; in a democracy, religion is the choice the individual, not imposed by the state, nor are religious beliefs imposed on the state by any faith. Everyone has the right to worship (or not), but religion isn't the arbiter of secular law.

Societies constantly evolve and change. For the last 50 years we've been moving forward in many ways, including better attitudes about diversity and the expanded role of women in society. Unfortunately some interpretations of religion don't celebrate diversity or women's rights; for example, the right to reproductive choice. Contraception and especially abortion, pivotal to the freedom of women, have been under attack recently. The anti-choice movement, many if not most of whom are religiously-motivated, increasingly puts pressure on the government for more restrictive abortion laws, their ultimate goal being a complete ban (and then on to contraception!). But Canadian abortion laws are guided by medical and scientific definitions and personal privacy rights, not by anyone's interpretation of religious tenets.

In spite of anomalies like the House of Prayer just a short walk from Parliament Hill, we don't yet have a theocracy. But with stealth tactics like Focus on the Family-type groups trying to exercise influence in politics, it isn't for lack of trying on the part of the fundies, and they will keep pushing. We need to send the message that when push comes to shove, we can push a lot harder than they can.