Secularism is one of CFI Canada’s core areas of focus. Our position is that secular society, one which is not defined or directed by religion, is a key to creating a more peaceful and integrated society. A secular society is one in which the government and all its institutions — from its military to its courts to its schools — are religiously neutral.
A secular society
- respects and protects both freedom of religion, and freedom from religion
- supports the right to an education that is free from all religiously motivated requirements
- upholds the rights of all citizens to hold and practice religious beliefs that differ from those of other citizens, and from those of the government (including the right to no religion)
We do not seek to ban religious practices in public spaces. However, we do seek to eliminate any special considerations afforded to such practices, and as such we oppose anti-blasphemy laws, government funding of religious organizations, public funding of religious schools, religious tax exemptions, and other legal exceptions that provide special treatment for faith-based organizations or practices
Recent events in Quebec have raised questions as to how best to attain the goal of a secular society. The government of Quebec has a unique view of secularism, for which they use the English term “laicity” (a translation of the French laïcité, a term which has its roots in the French Revolution.) Further, the CAQ government states that Quebec, as a nation, “has its own characteristics, one of which is its civil law tradition, distinct social values and a specific history that led it to develop a particular attachment to state laicity.” But some have challenged Quebec’s approach as racist (or at least xenophobic), and raised questions as to whether this “laicity” is really just an implementation of “cultural Christianity”.
In a secular society, there must be neither special accommodations nor special sanctions applied to any persons, writings, or actions for purely religious reasons. In today’s pluralistic society, it is important for all people, whether or not they are religious, to understand the principles of secularism, and work towards a society which balances embracing diversity against the freedom of each human being to make their own choices with respect to their faith or lack of faith.
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