Canada Doesn’t Have an Anti-Christian Bias
Opinions / June 29, 2017
Accusations of Liberals being intolerant of Christian groups are unfounded and offensive
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor
A small number of Canadians are calling foul against the federal Liberal government, which they allege is full of anti-christian bias. Meanwhile, the world is reeling from unprecedented and widespread Islamophobia, and conflicts motivated by religious beliefs and values are raging in other countries around the globe.
A piece published in The Globe and Mail on May 29 from columnist Andrew MacDougall slams the Liberals for attacking newly elected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer about “his Catholic beliefs,” which include “pro-traditional marriage and life, and opposition to transgender rights.” He points to statements from Liberal MPs criticizing social conservatives after Scheer’s election to support his beliefs.
“This kind of anti-Christian sneer is nothing new for the Liberals, and it comes from the top,” writes MacDougall. “It was Justin Trudeau who declared in 2014 that no candidate could run on the Liberal ticket in 2015 if they opposed abortion…So much for tolerance.”
What MacDougall is proposing is that tolerance of intolerance is the only true form of fairness—that restricting women’s, LGBTQ+, and non-Christian religious rights should be encouraged in politics, because discouraging discrimination is discriminatory against old-fashioned Catholics.
This argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. At its foundation, it suggests that being a bigot and being Christian are intrinsically linked, and that hate speech and oppressive policy-making should be allowed in federal politics because, if Christians are doing it, they deserve to practice their beliefs.
If Scheer is being pressured to avoid pushing anti-abortion or gay marriage, it’s because Canada has been moving forward as a progressive and accepting nation for years, and the days of telling marginalized groups what they can and cannot do with their own lives should be over by now. That’s one of the reasons why Harper was voted out in the last election, and why Trudeau put his foot down on abortion opposition.
In reality, Scheer isn’t being picked apart because he’s Catholic. He’s being picked apart because he’s a traditional, far-right social conservative. Regardless of who was elected, the Liberals would have had something skeptical to say about the party’s new leader. That’s just politics.
MacDougall, and others like him, are blinded by their own privilege. In his piece for The Globe and Mail, he writes, “In today’s Canada – and in most Western democracies, for that matter – you can get away with criticizing a Christian far more readily than you can for criticizing a Muslim, even if you’re talking about the same social beliefs,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s absurd and deeply offensive to those who have been hurt, killed, or otherwise abused for being Muslim.
According to a 2014 Statistics Canada report, anti-Muslim hate crimes more than doubled over the previous three years, and that’s taking into account that many instances of abuse and assault go unreported. In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that, while hate crimes in general decreased in frequency, more of them targeted Muslims between 2012 to 2014.
To those who needlessly bemoan the plight of the Canadian Christian, consider spending your energy on a more important cause. While there are surely Catholic-hating people somewhere in our country, there are truer causes to dedicate yourself to than those that hardly exist.