The chaplain general’s office has issued a directive to Canadian Armed Forces Christian chaplains to purge all specifically Christian references from prayers and invocations at general ceremonies and functions, although they are still permitted to mention Christ at “voluntary” Christian worship services in chapel, in the field or onboard ship. The rationale for this edict is of course the great Canadian political correctness obsession, multiculturalism and inclusivity, as well as the small “l” liberal-left and big “L” Liberal establishment’s general hostility toward religion as anything more substantive than window-dressing. It is supposed, and I expect sincerely believed by some, that repeating the Lord’s Prayer or mentioning the name of Christ when addressing a general audience might offend or somehow impinge the human rights of minorities among the assembled hearers who are not Christian.
For example, according to the Canada Family Action Coalition, prior to Remembrance Day, a time when millions of people of faith, including Christians, pray and remember those who lost their lives for our freedoms, military chaplains were told not to recite the Lord’s prayer nor use terms like Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Jesus or any other Christian reference in public prayers and services.
In the context of multicultural ideology, I suppose that the “no Christianity in public, please” policy pronouncement makes some convoluted sense. Indeed, the statement from the chaplain general, Commodore (the Venerable) Timothy Maindonald, to all Canadian Forces chaplains notes that, “The religious celebrant is encouraged to be sensitive in the use of specific sacred faith formulas to allow for greater inclusivity.”
However, prohibiting Christian chaplains from explicitly affirming their faith in public ceremonies raises the question of what point there is in their participation officially at all at such affairs. Viewed logically, it doesn’t make any sense, and a is part and parcel of the philosophical obtuseness of the whole multiculturalism apparat.
Christianity is not incidental or dispensable to the qualities that made Canada an attractive destination for refugees – political or economic – from other cultures. Indeed, all around the world, destinations of choice for emigrants looking for freedom, opportunity and safety are the nations with a Christian tradition. There is virtually no immigration pressure on non-Christian countries.
This is one of those obvious facts of which liberal-left secularists seem oblivious. A 1998-99 survey of political rights and civil liberties around the world by Freedom House, a Washington-based NGO founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, found that 79 of the 88 countries rated as “free,” “are majority Christian by tradition or belief.” Christianity founded and built Western culture, and it is Christian values that have made Canada, Great Britain, the U.S., Australia, and Western Europe the attractive, free, and relatively just societies that they are (and by extension these qualities underlie Western scientific, technological, and economic superiority). As Calgary Sun editor, Licia Corbella recently observed, “Christianity and the tolerance it produces is ironically what has allowed this kind of double standard against itself to exist.”
Consequently, it is not irrelevant or inappropriate that Canada’s majority Christian culture and heritage be explicitly affirmed in ceremonies and functions of the organizations charged with defending and protecting Western culture, and indeed in the public square in general. Programmatic multiculturalism is a dead end. If Canada ever ceases to be a Christian nation, it will no longer be a society that attracts outsiders or a society that insiders will find congenial once the consequences of post-Christian reality sink in.
This is not a freedom of religion issue. Acknowledgment of the fact of Christianity as Canada’s founding and majority culture does not inhibit the small minorities that adhere to other religions (some two percent of the population, according to the 1993 MacLean’s/Angus Reid poll on religion, including, but not limited to Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and adherents of New Age philosophies) in this country from practising their faith privately.
However, Christianity, from a Christian perspective is not and cannot functionally be just a particular flavour in a smorgasbord of religious choices. That concept may work for other religions. I can’t speak for them, but Christianity speaks for itself: “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”