Centre for Inquiry

Centre for Inquiry

September 13, 2013 11:11 ET

Quebec Charter Misses Opportunity to Address Institutional Religious Favouritism: National Secular Organization

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Sept. 13, 2013) - The Charter of Quebec Values squanders a valuable opportunity to focus on legitimate dangers around religious accommodations, and the real need to remove institutional religious favouritism.

"The government claims their motives are consistency and clarity, but their proposal brings neither," said CFI spokesperson Justin Trottier. "The Charter prohibits teachers from wearing religious symbols, but children will continue being indoctrinated at taxpayer expense through public subsidies to faith schools."

A secularism charter should take the crucifix off the wall at the National Assembly, remove Christian prayer at public city council meetings, and revoke special property tax exemptions for religious buildings.

"The Charter has the wrong aim, to take religion away from people, while ignoring institutional favouritism which threatens state neutrality and is the more serious threat to equality of treatment between believer and nonbeliever," said Trottier.

But equality also requires the same rules on government employees with respect to limits on freedom of expression. Where dress codes already provide constraints, religion has been getting a free pass.

"We don't support a blanket ban on public employees wearing religious symbols," said Trottier. "But we do stress that religious forms of expression are due no more respect than secular forms," said Trottier. "Where state neutrality or its perception is an issue the same rules should apply to all forms of expression."

Contact Information