The place of religion in the public square is a debateable topic. In essence, the dispute centers on the fundamental question: should religious beliefs be excluded from consideration of public policy? That is to say, if society strongly believes that the state should not adopt or implement religious positions, views or policies; to what extent should religious ideologies or concepts be used to publicly support or oppose governmental actions? Or perhaps do religious beliefs and public policy make too dangerous a mixture to even consider? In any vibrant culture, governmental decisions and actions are largely influenced by the public square. Policy-makers discuss, justify and support or oppose public issues in hopes of reaching a consensus in the enforcement of public policy. Liberal thoughts within public debates clash when placed in the same forum as democratic pluralistic societies. Religion, in theory, is a sense of individuality. Thus, to exclude religious beliefs from considerations of public policy would be close to impossible. So is it acceptable for public officials to make decisions grounded in part by religion? This paper asserts that religious beliefs should be excluded from consideration of public policy because; 1) it leads to the ignorance of many religious minorities in the face of dominating religious groups; 2) religious views jeopardize social stability; and finally, 3) it diverges the basis of political decisions from the needs of the public.
It is understood that religious beliefs should be excluded from consideration of public policy because it leads to the ignorance of many religious minorities in the face of dominating religious groups. Most people believe that the question on whether religious beliefs should be excluded from public policy raises concerns about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In support of my thesis, this argument will show that the exclusion of religion from public policy should be a neutral debate and no religion should be publicly endorsed over another (Guinn 3). Thus, more substantive interpretations addressing the Charter’s equality provisions are necessary in order to overlook the treatment of religious minorities. Section 2(a) states:
To ensure that the government does not advantage some beliefs and disadvantage others. To ensure equal respect for all religious viewpoints, they argue that the government: (1) must respect an individual’s beliefs and the right to act in ways that are demanded by those beliefs; (2) may not impose the majority’s religious views on minority believers; and (3) may not exclude believers from public benefits for adhering to their beliefs.(Smithey 89).
According to this mandate, the government cannot enforce any laws based strictly on a traditional view, nor can a law be repressed solely based on religion (Guinn 3). On a wider spectrum, with hundreds of established religions and thousands of their various sects around the world, it is evident that religious beliefs have been included in consideration of public policy (Dickinson and Dolmage 364). This results in clashes amongst differing religions. All religious beliefs have their accepted doctrine or system of belief that followers of the faith must accept without any questions asked. This, in turn, can lead to a great deal of intolerance in the face of other religious groups. After all, how can one contradict a policy if it is grounded in the belief of a God? Thus, religious conflicts arise over whose belief is the right one; a problem that ultimately cannot reach a consensus as there is no arbiter. In 1996, the Adler vs. Ontario (Ministry of Education) case was a product of including religious beliefs in consideration of public policy (Dickinson and Dolmage 370). Parents complained that their right to freedom of conscience and religion was being violated as proof in section 2(a) of the Charter (Dickinson and Dolmage 370). It was later established that this violation was...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document