Taking a Fresh Look at Religion and Public Policy in Canada: The Need for a Paradigm Shift
Iain T. Benson
University of the Free State - Faculty of Law, Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law; Miller Thomson LLP, Canada
January 1, 2008
Presentation to the Religion in Public Policy Project, Policy Research Initiative, Federal Government, Canada, January 2008
A new approach to religion and public policy is needed in Canada. This paper draws upon the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 6 (2002) to argue that the term “secular” should now be understood to be a religiously inclusive term rather than a religiously exclusive one. It argues that the relationship best characterizing an appropriate way forward for Canada is the co-operation of church and state. This type of co-operation suggests a necessary jurisdictional distinction between church and state and a functional relationship built on mutual understanding, rather than strict separation, between the two. Numerous practical approaches for implementing this new relationship are suggested. The terms "faith”, “belief”, “religion”, “liberal”, “diversity” and “multi-cultural” are examined and the websites of various Federal Government Ministries examined in terms of how they deal (or do not deal) with religion and religious believers and their communities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Canadian constitutional law, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 2(a) Freedom of Conscience and Religion, Abortion, Homosexuality, Same Sex Marriage, Religion and nation, Church and state, Freedom and diversity, Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Sexual Orientation, Freedom of Religion
JEL Classification: K12, K39, Z12Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 7, 2010
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