Rex Murphy: No summer jobs for you! And other decrees from Bishop Trudeau
January 19, 2018
3:02 PM EST
What shallow hubris engenders the prime minister's view that he has the authority to undo citizens' religious and moral beliefs?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets a crowd during a reception marking the start of a Tamil festival in Toronto on Jan. 16,
Just because you vacation with an Aga Khan, however often, doesn’t make you one. You leave the idyllic island with no more religious authority than when you arrived. Come as a secular politician, leave as one. I think we may begin to wonder if Justin Trudeau understands this point.
The prime minister has recently, speaking as one should say ex cathedra, declared a doctrinal test for any who wish to make application for student summer job grants. If any church, charity or club wishes to apply for one — successfully — it is insisted they endorse and declare in writing their agreement with the Liberal party’s understanding on (a) abortion and (b) a whole raft of other progressive doctrines and dogmas on other sexual and gender issues.
It’s a strange turn. How does one get from students trying to work off their education debts to a government insisting its citizens declare themselves on issues of the deepest moral and religious sensitivity? From student jobs to the roiling tumult of abortion politics? I guess there is more than one way to spin a handperson’s tale:
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Roman Catholic Church?
“No summer jobs for you!”
Under the latest Trudeau encyclical, the priest, minister, imam, shaman or rabbi would have to publicly repudiate his faith
We return to the Bishop of 24 Sussex for explication. Suppose some parish council wants to do a cleanup of the town stream, and figures with a grant it could help half a dozen debt-hounded students by giving them summer jobs. Under the latest Trudeau encyclical, the town’s priest, minister, imam, shaman or rabbi would have to publicly repudiate his faith on an official document and maul his conscience with a lie (thus playing roulette with their immortal souls; religious people actually believe they have them) if the poor students are to be helped by said grants.
Does anyone think Mr. Trudeau, more a stumbler than a specialist on the ethics front, is overreaching here? Just a jot or a tittle? Has he really not read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document on most occasions he treats as believers of old reverenced the Sinai tablets?
It has as central prime rights those of religion and conscience. Religion and conscience — rights that are as ancient as the concept of rights itself, the pivot on which all ancillary rights depend. They are not rights that depend on a calendar date, nor are they mere manifestations of a particular, transient political climate. In so far as any rights are eternal, these are.
The Liberal platform of the day is not a synonym writ large for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
What shallow hubris engenders the sense that Mr. Trudeau, as through this both petty and profound intrusion he has, has the authority to undo the balance of citizens’ religious and moral beliefs and the political dispensations of a particular government? The Liberal platform of the day is not, as this government wildly seems to think, a synonym writ large for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But hey, it’s only a jobs program. Well, once started, why stop? Why stop at the grant-applying organizations? Why not question the students who are to get the jobs? Why shouldn’t they be asked to sign on the dotted line, tick the right boxes? Why shouldn’t they be asked as well if they endorse the Liberal readings on abortion, the carbon tax, diversity, NAFTA, refugee intake, the return of ISIL fighters?
On the principle underwriting the summer jobs policy, there is absolutely no logical reason why they should not be so interrogated and obliged.
At the core of this affair is the blasé assumption of the secular progressive mind that religion, and most particularly the Christian religion, is “so over” so “not 2015” that the rights of the religious are not of the same stamina, not of the same worth and “truth,” as all our “modern” rights freshly blossomed out of fashionable ideological hothouses.
Traditional Christian rights are the rights of the backward part of the population, those who rarely make a noise, block a street, or besiege a parliamentary office. So fooling with them, forcing believers to make awkward or even impossible choices, is seen as either an amusing, politically costless game, or as a condescending prod towards their inevitable evolution to a higher plane. Their betters hurt them only to help them.
It’s an act of arrogance that comes very glibly to a crowd that requires no exertion to feel pleased with themselves — the same arrogance that skips blithely over the stated ethical standards of Parliament and Prime Minister, but in lordly fashion riffs in town halls and cabinet rooms what is right for everyone else to believe and what is not.
As for those dissenting, who sense their deepest convictions are being outraged, their consciences mocked, why they are just stirring up a mere “kerfuffle.” We will be long waiting for the day when an equal slur against a non-traditional religion or one on, say, gay rights, is so characterized.
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