Former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau once said “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” And in Canada, where LGB people have equal rights and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005, the state pretty much stays out of its citizens’ bedrooms.
Alas, there are some religious busybody fundamentalists who still feel they should have the right to dictate the parameters of what goes on in strangers’ bedrooms, but they have long since been overruled.
So, when it comes to the bedrooms of the nation, Canada is mostly a secular society (despite its laws governing prostitution).
Canada is secular in many other ways as well. For example, there probably aren’t many workplaces that promote religious beliefs in Canada (other than religious institutions). Indeed, religion is largely confined to its institutions, i.e. churches, mosques, kingdom halls etc.
And that is, increasingly, the case for many western nations.
But how far should secularism be taken? In Quebec, the attempt by the former PQ government to ban religious symbols in government-run institutions was met with much howling and protest, and eventually led to their election defeat. It seems everybody agrees in Quebec that religion has no place in politics and government-run institutions, but banning the religious symbols government employees wear everyday was going too far for some.
What do you think?
Should government employees be barred from wearing their religious symbols to work? Those employees include teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, politicians etc.
Where do you draw the line on secularism?