John Baird, who I don’t regard as a SoCon, is gamely promoting his government’s decision to create an Office of Religious Freedom. You can read his rationale, such as it is, here.
I’m going to be debating Brian Lilley about this Orwellian kookiness tomorrow on Sun News. Given how our last get-together turned out, it might be worth a gander.
Here’s a brief summary of why I think this is a bad idea. More to come.
1. It involves government in matters of religion. Government should leave religion alone, and vice-versa. Church, state, wall, etc.
2. It’ll cost $20 million, minimum. In times like these, we don’t need yet more layers of bureaucracy.
3. The Americans did something similar, and it was found to show bias against Muslims, and a bias for Christians.
4. In that regard, it’s clear this thing is ripe for political abuse: an October invitation-only meeting with Baird didn’t even invite Sunni or Shia Muslims – two groups, coincidentally, who don’t vote Conservative much.
5. I’m concerned that the office will focus only promoting Judeo-Christian traditions, and nobody else’s. Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus were also excluded from Baird’s secretive little meeting.
6. $500,000 is going to operate the office for this thing; where will the other $4.5 million go every year? The Reformatories won’t say.
7. The new office won’t report to Parliament. Unlike the U.S. religious-freedom office, it isn’t multi-partisan, either. Baird runs it.
8. The Pew Forum found that Christians are persecuted in 130 countries, and Muslims in 117. Is the Harper regime saying the former matter more than the latter?
9. This entire thing, as Amnesty International and human rights experts have noted, is being done behind closed doors. None of them have been consulted.
10. Even my friends at Sun Media have editorialized against this thing. They, like me, feel it’s a bad idea on many, many levels.
It’ll be an interesting debate.
UPDATE: After reading the list above, a youngster named Faith Goldy-Bazos – who describes herself as “Christian and Conservative” – has been whipped into a veritable fury against Yours Truly on Twitter. After viewing this, sent along by an interested party, I now know why she was invited to the closed-door meeting: she’s a SoCon kook. Takes one to know one, etc.