The following article, by ARPA Canada board member Neil Dykstra, was published in the Calgary Beacon in response to an opinion piece by Janet Keeping, president, and Dan Shapiro, research associate, of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership. You can find their response here. Ms. Keeping and Mr. Shapiro, in their agreement with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal decision that banned prayer in Saguenay’s city hall, describe a vision for Canada in which government policies are made without any influence whatsoever from religion. They invert “Freedom of religion” into its exact opposite – where only humanist ethics are acceptable in the public square, to the exclusion of all other belief systems. In so doing, they ignore the pluralist foundation of Canada’s constitution and history.
On May 4, 2010, Ray Pennings (Senior Fellow and Director of Research at Cardus) made a presentation to MPs in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. The event was organized by ARPA Canada and was co-sponsored by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott and Liberal MP John McKay. The presentation was a condensed version of this document. The extra information in this booklet was prepared by Mr. Pennings to supplement his talk. Booklets are available by contacting [email protected]
Reader's Comments: We would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. What are some reasons for optimism or concern when it comes to our public witness? Comments are welcomed through the Facebook page or send us an email at [email protected] (By Mark Penninga): It has only been about 60 years since a swell of Dutch Reformed immigrants crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a quest for space, freedom, and opportunity in Canada. A lot has changed since then, with a third and fourth generation emerging, many of whom have more awareness of Quebec culture than Dutch. We may wonder what the future looks like for a church community that is now fully Canadian. Here are some things to consider when we look specifically at the role of Reformed Christians in the public square.