The good in differences

  • June 6, 2013

There was a small moment at a recent McGill University conference that put the very large debate about public religious faith into clear perspective. Rabbi Lisa Gruschcow, appearing on a panel called Taking the Temperature: Religion and Secularism in Canadian Society, spoke eloquently and effectively about the delicate balancing of neutral secular governance with public manifestations of religious freedom.

She acknowledged that, even as a religious leader, she is unsettled by certain religious symbols in public places. The appearance of, say, a crucifix in Quebec’s National Assembly sends a clear — and threatening — message, she said. So do other artifacts of overt religious significance in other institutions.

“It feels threatening. It does not feel like a safe space for me.”

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