In her attempt to persuade readers that Canada’s new Office of Religious Freedom is a much-needed institution, Lorna Dueck asks us to “count the dozens of warring conflicts on our planet and try to find one where religion isn’t complicit or at least a factor.” She then presents accounts of human-rights abuses committed by people of a particular religious persuasion against others with opposing beliefs.
Herein lies the paradox: Yes, we should be campaigning for protection of free thought and human rights worldwide; but the very belief systems that this office seeks to protect are often the source of these human-rights abuses in the first place. As political satirist Jon Stewart once said: “Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.”
Note: This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Globe & Mail.