Violation of religious freedom?

The legislature in New Brunswick (along with PEI and Nova Scotia), still recites the Lord’s prayer at the beginning of provincial and municipal council meetings.  How does this coincide with the separation of church and state? Also, for religions other than Christian, does religious freedom not include the right to not have to sit through the Lord’s prayer?

As a multicultural society, provincial governments should not be reciting a prayer directly associated with one religion (the mainstream religion if you will). New Brunswick should follow the lead of other provinces, and the federal government, and recite non-denominational prayers to ensure the protection of religious freedom. This will also protect from further enforcing a gap that already exists in society between Christianity and other religions.

Category: Freedom of religion / Liberté de religion

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3 Responses

  1. avatar Andre says:

    I’m not sure that the public prayer of some political leaders results in a violation of the freedom of religion, and is certainly less of a violation than forcing them to NOT pray. If some public officials wish to recite a prayer that is meaningful to them, then why take that away from them? (I’m assuming that the practice is a voluntary tradition) Freedom of Religion is an individual right that public servants should enjoy as well. Furthermore, there is no legal doctrine of separation of church and state in Canada; that’s an American concept. Our section 2a freedom of religion does not require a strict separation of church and state – rather, it protects all citizens from the imposition, regulation or restriction of religious belief and practice.

  2. avatar Renee says:

    Saying there should be no prayer in the Legislature is not forcing someone not to pray. Clearly your bias is toward religion staying part of our political process. It’s saying rather that the Legislature is not the appropriate place for prayer. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. There is no full separation of church and state, if religion remains as part of the practises, activities, routines, processes that our elected officials participate in while serving in our Gov’t.

  3. avatar David Gruber, Dalhouse University says:

    Unfortunately Andre is right about one thing—there is no separation of church and state in Canada. This posting is a good illustration of the absurdity of trying to promote religious freedom when the public sphere favours one religion. If Canada had a law akin to the Establishment Clause in the US, we’d have a simple remedy for this kind of problem.

    I would question the wisdom of “non-denominational prayers,” though. The largest non-Christian minority in Canada is people who don’t practice any religion. Why not just keep the public sphere free of religion altogether?

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