You can teach someone to believe, but is it right?

By Jan Creaser

I shudder when I hear politicians discuss morals and values. These words ooze from their mouths with such ease no one ever stops to question what particular list of morals and values these people actually follow. With the controversy surrounding the Humanist Association of Canada’s petition to strike God from the constitution, I think we can safely assume the morals and values of our politicians are derived from a solid, Christian, right-wing background.

Primetime TV can’t top the flustered, indignant rantings of the offended mostly male, middle-aged, white-skinned Canadian political leaders. We call ourselves a democracy with a tinge of socialism thrown in for colour, but in actuality we perpetuate a patriarchal movement started over 2,000 years ago which has subjugated people around the world for centuries. For all of Canada’s anti-discrimination laws, the government is still the supposedly liberated person who says, "I’m not a racist/homophobe/chauvinist, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever understand why those people choose to practice or believe in that."

The camps against change argue that the charter preamble simply states the historical fact that Canada was "founded on principles that recognize the Supremacy of God" It doesn’t require us to believe nor make legislative decisions based on the bible or any religious belief. If that’s the case, then why are several MPs bellowing about the decay of Christian morals and values? The leaders of several non-Christian religions predicted disaster if God is stricken from the Charter. Apparently, the disaster we face in leaving God (even if it is the Christian God) out in the cold is a slide toward worshiping ourselves. Even poor Svend Robinson arbitrarily denied any part of the petition other than being its messenger.

So much for open minds. So much for philosophy and the evolution of cognitive thought. We don’t need to get rid of God to fulfill the fear of what might happen if we start erasing Him from public life. We already worship ourselves and what we think we know. We lounge in Western comfort, turn our noses up at the poor and weak, ignore social injustice when it doesn’t affect us, and frown at the follies of world instability. Then we freak out when someone questions our ill-defined morals and values. Self-worshiping at its best.

As for our politicians, their defensive stance on this issue demonstrates their intolerance for those who don’t follow their beliefs. Sugar-coat it, factualize it, rally support from all four corners of the globe – it won’t change the fact that they’re afraid of change, afraid of looking for new solutions to old problems. I’m talking real change, not the band-aids we keep plastering on the constitution to recognize the rights of all Canadians.

We can’t keep tacking on changes and still cling to the original framework. If the original framework is so flawed that we need to add changes, then it probably needs a complete overhaul if not a new beginning. Therefore, I refuse to acknowledge the Christian morals and values on which this country is purportedly founded. It’s not the Charter’s wording that needs changing, but the whole belief system surrounding it.

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