In an unanimous decision (shocker!), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the municipal council in the town of Saguenay, Quebec, can no longer open its meetings with a prayer.
While the ruling is still fresh, there are questions now about what this means for municipalities across Canada. Many have already announced that they will pull prayer from their next council meeting.
The court stated:
"A neutral public space free from coercion, pressure and judgment on the part of public authorities in matters of spirituality is intended to protect every person's freedom and dignity, and it helps preserve and promote the multicultural nature of Canadian society."
But is this about promoting multiculturalism, or fostering a monoculture of secularism?
Peter Shurman, former PC MPP for Thornhill, Ontario became acquainted with a similar issue when former Premier Dalton McGuinty thought eliminating The Lord's Prayer from the Legislature was a good idea.
He told me that as a Jewish man, he was never offended by the recitation of that Christian prayer, and explained why by way of his own personal history.
"This is far less about religion," he said, "than it is about tradition."
Shurman warns that this "is just the beginning" of a battle about separation of church and state in Canada.
Do you agree?
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