Is it going to soon be against the law to wear symbols of your personal belief system in public schools? Policies enforcing secularism in the public sector have already been established in France. Every school there will have a secular charter posted on their walls this September prohibiting the wearing of Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulkes and Muslim head coverings.

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Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This morning CBC radio just commented on the discussion to legislate the prohibition of wearing any kind of religious symbolism in our pubic schools in Canada. Yikes! Where do these misconstrued efforts to eradicate religion from the public stem from? Most probably, they began by the dramatic rise in immigrants proudly sporting their religious symbols in they way they dress. Yet those brave enough to publicly distinguish themselves by symbols of their beliefs are actually trying to live by higher moral codes of conduct. At least we know they stand for something, which is usually far more than how our esteemed politicians present themselves.

What is a religion anyway? According to any dictionary you consult, it’s simply a personal belief system. Everyone has a set of beliefs that determines our conduct and defines our morality. We’ve only branded labels on certain religions and set them apart. Even the popular North American fad of wearing skull and cross-bones is evidence of a belief system. It just hasn’t been given a name yet.

Last Saturday the globe and mail ran a scathing article on (August 31, 2013 issue F2) from reporter Doug Saunders entitled, “Quebec’s Slapdash Bid for Secularism doesn’t even Work.” Saunders fired his doctor. Why? It was because this professional used a religious term during a conversation with him. Saunders may not want a doctor who has faith in a power higher than medicine but I bet a great many of us with medical conditions do.

Saunders whines that if a public professional has a religion he should “keep it out of his profession.” How can you keep your own set of values separate from how you act? A belief system, if it has any depth to it at all, penetrates our actions and decisions.

We might want to consider the pros and cons of this move to completely secularize government and public institutions. If you eradicate religion from public life you also eradicate the basic laws of the Judeo-Christian ethic system; things like honesty, respect, integrity, treating others as you would like to be treated; things we once based our nations upon.

Saunders has the audacity to state that the 50% increase in Canadians-without-religion in the last ten years is… progress. He says he’s glad that the same thing is happening in all the developed nations. Our whole world economy is facing meltdown because of the greed and profit-only priorities of the big corporate structures, and do you think that might have something to do with the lost moral standards we used to live by. Progress, in the minds of us with old-fashioned common sense, means authenticity, transparency, integrity, charity, and fairness for all.

Progress is NOT eradicating religion out of the public life, but by expecting a higher-power code of ethics be evident in public professions regardless of the symbols they might choose to wear. Thanks to this Globe and Mail journalist, I think I might start wearing a Christian cross now.

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