Sunday, September 7, 2008


Canada is far more a part of the spiritual cold belt of western Europe than of the hot flashes of America's current Great Awakening, and a country whose history of the past half-century has been one in which the Christian Right has experienced unmitigated failure in promoting its agenda. We are a different country with a different cultural history.

Canadians, unlike Americans, are remarkably cohesive in their values. Logic suggests that any religious movement that appears forcefully indiscreet, that rejects iconic values, institutions and behaviour central to the fabric of Canadian cohesion -- multiculturalism, the equality of women, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, civility, acceptance of the Other -- is going to have a hard time expanding its support and strengthening its message.

-- Michael Valpy, "The Noisy Christian Right," in The Literary Review of Canada (September 2008)

Large majorities voice disagreement with politicians discussing religion, and religious leaders talking about politics

Canadians are adamant about keeping politics and religion away from each other. In the online survey of a representative national sample, 82 per cent of respondents consider it inappropriate for religious leaders to urge people to vote for or against a political candidate. The highest level of rejection for this practice comes in Quebec (89%) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (89%). Respondents over the age of 55 (88%) and those with a high school education or less (87%) also deem this action inappropriate. Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) believe it is inappropriate for political candidates to talk about their religious beliefs as part of their campaigns. Image source here.