CANADA - Quebec Bars Religious Symbols for Civil Servants

Arno Froese

A Canadian province has passed legislation that would bar civil servants in positions of “authority” from wearing religious symbols at work.

It prevents the wearing of symbols such as the kippah, turban or hijab at work.

The secularism bill in particular has sparked protests and debate in the province since its introduction.

It was passed late on [a] Sunday night following a rare weekend sitting at the Quebec provincial legislature.

Critics argue the legislation unfairly targets Muslim women in the province who wear hijabs or other head-coverings.

In an attempt to insulate the legislation from a legal battle, the center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec preemptively included the “notwithstanding clause” in the bill.

That clause is part of the Constitution that allows the government to override “fundamental freedoms” of religion, expression, and association; the right to life, liberty and security of the person; and freedom from discrimination—essentially an opt-out option that can be used for a five-year period.

Religious groups and organizations like the National Council for Canadian Muslims, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, B’nai Brith, and the Anglican dioceses of Quebec have come out in opposition, as have some school boards and unions.

Secularism, or laicite, organizations and their supporters have praised the law as a reasonable step towards enshrining the separation of Church and state in Quebec.

Numerous opinion polls have also indicated that about two-thirds of Quebec residents support a religious symbols ban in some form.

-www.bbc.com, 17 June 2019

Arno's commentary

The provisional passing of the bill is limited to Quebec. The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has expressed his opposition: a free society should not legitimize discrimination of citizens based on religion.

The apparent problem of such and other legislation lies in the fact that there is no end to the argument. Thus, the question will arise: what is and what is not a symbol of religion?

What we do know is that Canada, and for that matter the whole world, will eventually strive for a new religion, and that can be described by one word: self. Mankind will and is already in the process of producing the new religion, based on digital technology, with the ultimate authority placed in the product the Bible calls “the image of the beast.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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