The Bouchard-Taylor report on the accomodation of immigrants has recommended that Quebec be neutral as regards religion i.e. a secular state.

To that end judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers and prison guards should be banned from wearing religious signs or symbols, but teachers, public servants and health professionals should be allowed to do so.

Most controversially, the Commission recommended that the crucifix be removed from the walls of the National Assembly to reassure religious minorities of the secularity of the legislature. The crucifix was first placed over the speaker’s chair when Maurice Duplessis was premier in 1936.

Bouchard and Taylor argue the crucifix has to go because, they say, it associates the state « with a single religious affiliation rather than addressing themselves to all citizens. »  But the Globe and mail says this morning: « Wouldn’t its removal tell Quebec’s Catholic majority that they have to give up something they hold dear because of the newcomers? And how would that contribute to social harmony? »

Premier Charest stepped up immediately to shoot down any banning of the crucifix: « The crucifix is about 350 years of history in Quebec that none of us are ever going to erase and of a very strong presence, in particular, of the Catholic church, and that’s our reality. » The other parties in the National Assembly backed the premier on his refusal to remove the crucifix.

Charest’s opposition to banning the crucfix did not sit well with the MOntreal Gazette: « The suggestion to move the crucifix was hardly one of the report’s most important rcommendations, but it gives critics an easy symbol to focus on. Charest’s motion [retaining the crucifix] seems to play to the very fears and forces he was trying to restrain when he commissioned the report in the first place. »

Do you think the crucifix should be removed from the National Assembly?  Does it favour one religion?

Or should the crucifix be retained, if not as a religious, at least as a cultural symbol?



  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Jean de La fontaine wrote, as the moral of one of (Aesope’s) fables: »You can not please everybody and your father ». Wether we like it or not, Duplessis understood Quebecers as no one ever did since then. Of course it also allowed him, or his henchmen rather, to get away with the till. He himself did not get rich. The crucifix he hung was, and still is, the symbol of Québec’s traditions and beliefs. If we want people to « integrate » to something we’ll have to hold on to a few things to be integrated into.
    Secularism has become just another type of tyranny and I do not believe in total neutrality of anything or anybody.

  2. 2
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    Would we next like to tear down all the churches that as a Christian remind me of God but may remind tourists of culture and beauty. How far are we willing to go? In the 30 years I have never heard anyone say that they think the cross anywhere disturbs them. But I have many times listened to tales about injustice. Why do we not just accept newcomers as people and give them a chance? We, in Canada are so fortunate to learn so much about different cultures.I listen to the national broadcaster evenngs and weekends and am enchanted about all the stories. I love stories. I feel I do not have to attend lectures to learn.
    Whether the cross stays or goes is not that important to me. But tolerance and accptance and enjoying each others gifts is.

  3. 3
    jim Says:

    No religion should enroach on an individual’s space. If we allow church bells to peal, the ring invades my space. Ergo, we must also allow the Islamists to scream from a tower 5 times a day. You talk about going crazy.

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    Is there something Freudian about the use on enroach in lieu of encroach.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Jim, I don’t know where you live, but down here, church bells peal a lot less than they used to and the five or six mosques in 514 and 450 do not have « minarets ». Even the Hare Krishnas are not dancing and ringing bells on street corners anymore. It has been many moons since I have seen and heard a Salvation Army band on the street.
    In away I think it is sad. It gave colour to our neighbourhoods and, for church bells, a chance to set our time pieces.

  6. 6
    Chimera Says:

    « …Crown prosecutors, police officers and prison guards should be banned from wearing religious signs or symbols, but teachers, public servants and health professionals should be allowed to do so. »

    No. If one group of public servant (that it, paid by one of the forms of government) is to be prevented from displaying articles of religious adherence, then all should be prevented. If you’re going to allow a public school teacher to wear a religious article, you have to allow a police officer the same freedom. They both work for the government and get paid from the public purse. The only exceptions should be for reasons of safety.

    This whole mess started some months ago when a small town in Quebec wanted to ban the wearing of certain articles of clothing worn primarily by Muslim women. Not only Muslim women. And not by all Muslim women. But the association is there. The move garnered enough public protest against discrimination, that the scope of articles that should be banned has grown to include all kinds of religious artifacts worn by all kinds of people. It has gotten ridiculous.

  7. 7
    Chrism76 Says:

    Yes! the crucifix should be retained.

    Canada is a Free Country that preaches Human rights, which has it’s great moments until things like this pressures us to change our identity to shoving our religion or symbols out the window to accomodate or even eventually be replaced by another.

    Human Rights is man’s morale of what should be allowed as laws, some are great, some have devastating concequences like abortion, same-sex mariage etc.. I don’t expect non-believers to understand and I’m not pushing anything, these are just my thoughts and what I consider that God would agree with.

    Especially in Quebec, where the crucifix has been taken out of schools. By it’s population, Quebec has the worst cases of suicides in the country, very close to the worst in the world. God/Jesus/Holly Spirit is shoved aside as no one believes in it since it’s stopped being taught in schools. To cure their depressions, as things don’t always go our way, they’re fed pills and anti-depression drugs and eventually they lose the will to live, and may very well end up in Hell which is an infinite times worse of a place.

    There are laws that are written for man and that’s the bible, we do have concequences as per the choices we make throughout our lives which God gave us as free thinking brothers and sisters. God may be a hard thing to believe in for many, but it’s alot less harder than Macro-Evolution (i.e. fish growing lungs over time), but that’s another topic.

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