(PewRC) Quebec considers new restrictions on wearing religious symbols, clothing

Quebec’s governing party introduced legislation Thursday that would ban public employees from wearing “overt and conspicuous” religious garb, such as headscarves, yarmulkes, large crosses and turbans.

The so-called “Charter of Values” also would require all Canadians living in the province of Quebec to have their faces uncovered when they receive state-funded services, including health care and education. Several other countries have considered restrictions on religious attire, including France, which has banned full veils in public places and headscarves in schools.

The Quebec proposal already has sparked protests and political opposition. Much of the public debate over the charter has focused on the measure’s potential impact on immigrants and their religious beliefs and practices.

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One comment on “(PewRC) Quebec considers new restrictions on wearing religious symbols, clothing

  1. Terry Tee says:

    The problem with liberalism is that it ends up tying itself in knots of self-contradiction. Consider this: it is a basic tenet of liberalism that public life reflect the multi-cultural community itself. Public servants should then, ideally, be recruited from all walks of life, ie different races, social groups, etc. But now Quebec also wants its public employees to be religiously neutral to the naked eye. This rules out any Sikh men, who must wear a turban; strictly Orthodox/Charedim Jewish men, who will want to war a kippa/yarmulke; Muslim women from conservative backgrounds who want to cover their hair. And so on. Result: all-white, all middle class, all politically correct public service, with little understanding of minority communities.

    I have a further reflection, one that saddens me. Some of the countries that have most enthusiastically secularised have a long Catholic history: Belgium, Spain, Quebec, even Ireland. Perhaps it raises questions about the depth of faith inculcated. But to me it almost certainly flags up the danger of the Church being in bed with the political establishment. Across time people will identify the Church with social control, limitations, imposition of orthodoxy, and in the belief that they are modernising, when the time comes they will reject the Church as part of the old controlling system. Far, far, far better the separation of Church and State, with the Church responsible for itself and its own mistakes – but no more than that.