Vision Logo Circle
Vision Logo Circle

Canadian Agency Says Christian Holy Days Reflect ‘Religious Intolerance’

by | Wed, Nov 29 2023

Text size: A- A+

The Canadian government panel in charge of human rights law claims Christmas and Easter public holidays are examples of “systemic religious discrimination.” The Canada Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has put out a Discussion Paper on Religious Intolerance which cites Christianity’s two holiest days as discriminating against religious minorities whose own holy days are not statutory national holidays.

The CHRC claims the discrimination is grounded in “Canada’s history of colonialism.” It says non-Christians may need special accommodations to observe their own holy days and other times of the year where their religion which requires them to abstain from work. The Christian Post reports the discussion paper recommends all Canadians be made aware of “diverse religious days of significance” other than Christmas and Easter.

While religion is not defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is listed as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination, along with race, age, sexuality and gender identity. Some of the most common forms of religious intolerance, according to the report, include the use of physical or verbal attacks on religious symbols such as hijabs, turbans, and kippahs. “When these symbols are attacked the violence and trauma is the same. It is a compounded trauma resulting from the attack itself that is in addition to the fear of being able to openly practice and represent one’s religion,” the paper writes.

It also lists what it describes as “everyday manifestations of religious tolerance,” including “microaggressions” that can range from the verbal to the “behavioral.” Some examples listed in the report include “scheduling team meetings on Jewish or Muslim holy days” and “assuming that a Muslim person is new to Canada.” The paper goes on to highlight what it describes as Canadian social preferences, which are “constructed in a way that places value on certain traits or identities to the exclusion of others — for example, white, male, Christian, English-speaking, thin/fit, not having a disability, heterosexual, gender conforming.”

Pointing to “both domestic and international obligations to protect Canadians” from religious intolerance, the report concludes by stating “all Canadians must first acknowledge Canada’s history of religious intolerance, and more importantly, its existence today” in order to make Canada “more inclusive and accepting.”

The Christian Post observes that: “Despite the rhetorical calls for religious inclusion, Canada controversially adopted a law in January known as the “anti-conversion therapy law,” which essentially condemns the Biblical view on human sexuality. The law states that the Biblical view on sexuality “propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including the myth that heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.”