I received this statement (partially quoted below) which represents a response from multi-faith leaders across Canada. I certainly add my vioce to this.
While the neutrality of the state in religious matters is a principle that helps to ensure the equality of all people and all faiths, and while Quebec most certainly has the right to its own self-identification, we strongly believe that secular institutions do not require the prohibition of personal religious symbols in order to provide fair and equal access and services to all citizens. Rather, we celebrate the diversity of a truly pluralistic society. It is in the freedom of diversity for all faiths and those of no faith tradition that there is justice for all.
The Canadian Interfaith Conversation encourages the Quebec government to reconsider its proposed ban on religious symbols in the public service. Requiring individuals to abandon certain religious practices and essential parts of their identity creates an atmosphere of intolerance and inequity and will undermine the egalitarianism and the sense of the unity that the Quebec government wishes to uphold with this move.
The Canadian Interfaith Conversation is an advocate for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life. We want to promote harmony, dialogue and insight among religions and religious communities in Canada and all Canadians, strengthen our society’s just foundations, and work for greater realization of the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for the sake of the common good and an engaged citizenship throughout our country.
in the Dharma,