OTTAWA – The influence of religious faith as it applies to decision making in the public domain was the focus of a recent public forum at St. Patrick’s parish hall in Ottawa.
Sponsored by the Catholic Civil Rights League and the Canada Family Action Coalition, the event featured pro-life Members of Parliament Deborah Grey (Reform, Edmonton North), Jason Kenney (Reform, Calgary Southeast) and Dan McTeague (Liberal, Ajax-Pickering-Uxbridge), who discussed how their beliefs shape their parliamentary work.
The forum also examined a number of issues now facing Parliament and how the secular or no-faith attitude has come to dominate political and social intercourse.
Nearly 100 people attended the inter-faith event.
In summarizing the forum, Jason Kenney told The Interim that people of faith and conscience are beginning to take a more active role in political affairs. He said society’s efforts to include a multitude of views on public policy matters has tended to shunt religion to the sidelines.
“An authentic pluralism should include a place for Christian views in the public domain,” Kenney said. “The increasinging secularlization of society is no excuse to remove religion from the public square.”
Kenney’s views, and those of the other speakers, were similar to those expressed in the new book The Tower of Babel by Dr. Brian Stiller, former head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). In the book, Stiller argues that Christians have become timid about expressing their faith in any public way for fear of appearing intolerant of minority views. As a result, the Judeo-Christian values on which much of Western society is based, are sacrificed to a secular pluralism.
Peter Stock, an official with the Canada Family Action Coalition, one of the co-sponsors of the event, said it is important to remind people that religious values have a place in political discourse.
He said the effort to suppress religious points of view can be seen in recent decisions by Canadian broadcasting authorities to reject religious programming.