In Quebec, a mosque is splashed with what may have been pig’s blood amid Quebec’s debate over the government’s controversial proposal — Quebec’s Charter of Values — to prevent public employees in the workplace from wearing religious symbols like the Muslim hijab.
In Russia, homophobic violence is on the rise after the government there passes anti-gay legislation that targets “homosexual propaganda.”
See a connection there? Both governments are trying to restrict the rights of some people, inspiring nutcase bigots to commit despicable, and illegal, acts against others.
In Russia’s case, we know that many elected officials abhor LGBT people and would just as soon flog them in the streets, as one politician called for. But nobody in Quebec would for a moment think that politicians here would condone violence against anyone because of their religion, sexual orientation, race, language or whatever. Indeed, Premier Marois denounced the vandalism at the Quebec mosque — which is far more than I am hearing from Russian politicians about the violence against LGBT people in Russia.
BUT . . . While I, personally speaking, have no problem with people wearing religious symbols — I wear a crucifix sometimes — I can see how the symbols can disturb some people. For example, in many countries, Christians wearing crucifixes persecute LGBT people. Religious leaders seekto deny LGBT people equal rights. Some religious leaders support the death penalty for same-sex couples. Others never speak out against the oppression of LGBT people. In many countries, LGBT people fear religious leaders and their bigoted flocks.
Even in Canada, some religious people speak out against equal rights for LGBT people, particularly for transgender people. Some still speak out against same-sex relationships.
Let’s face it: It wasn’t that long ago that organized religions — people wearing crucifixes — in Canada were against all LGBT people and were trying to deny them equal rights.
Is it any wonder that some people do not look on crucifixes and other religious symbols with respect?
Of course, it is not just Christianity that has sought to oppress LGBT people. Other religions do it, too.
So maybe there is a method to the PQ’s apparent Charter of Quebec Values madness. I’m not saying it is right, but I can see how some people don’t like what the crucifix and other religious symbols stand for: exclusion, oppression and bigotry. I also find it interesting that many of those who have sought to oppress others are now complaining because of what appears to be a case of reaping what they have sowed, i.e. karma. It doesn’t feel good when somebody tries to restrict your rights, huh? Think about that when religious people oppress LGBT folks and try to deny them equal rights.
Again, I want to emphasize that I am not against people wearing their religious symbols. I am only against religious intolerance that tries to deny equal rights to everyone, and there is still far too much of it around the world.