The movement against Legault and the CAQ has zero credibility.
A recent demonstration in Montreal by so-called “anti-racist” activists illustrates yet again that the enemies of secularism are sadly lacking in moral and intellectual integrity. In particular, they deliberately conflate race and religion, thus aiding and abetting religious fanaticism.
Sommaire en français Une récente manifestation à Montréal par des militants soi-disant “anti-racistes” montre encore une fois que les ennemis de la laïcité manquent tristement d’intégrité morale et intellectuelle. En particulier, ils confondent délibérément la race et la religion, favorisant ainsi le fanatisme religieux.
Shortly after being elected on October 1st 2018, the new premier, François Legault, and his CAQ party announced their intention to start implementing various secularism measures, in particular, banning religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, i.e. police, judges, prosecutors, prison guards and teachers. This is incomplete, but nevertheless an excellent start to implementing secularism in Quebec and supported by the majority of the population and basically all secularists in Quebec.
But there are forces who oppose secularism and do so in an extremely dishonest manner. Yesterday (2018-10-07) a demonstration was held in Montréal to protest the new measures. The demo was announced as being against racism, but a major focus was on denouncing Legault and the CAQ as racist.
The fallacy of conflating race and religion is a common tactic used by anti-secularists. It has been refuted countless times, but because of the extreme dishonesty of anti-secularists who falsely claim to be “anti-racist,” it is necessary to do so once again. So I summarize:
- Race involves innate and immutable characteristics of the individual, whereas a religion is an ideology—a collection of ideas and beliefs—which can change overnight.
- Religion and race are thus completely different phenomena.
- Religion may be freely chosen if and only if there is freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, most religious believers have a religion forced on them as children, via indoctrination.
- One of the key pillars of secularism is freedom of conscience, i.e. to make sure that individuals have the freedom and the autonomy to choose or reject an ideology which others may try to force on them. Thus, public institutions must not show preference for any religion.
- The secular measures announced by Legault and CAQ are obviously not racist. Their purpose is to keep religious bias out of the affairs of state and government. They apply to all religions.
- The secular measures announced by Legault and CAQ are clearly necessary because public servants in positions of authority must not display any religious partisanship.
Furthermore, the anti-secularists masquerading as “anti-racists” are dishonest in several ways:
- The conflation of race with religion is clearly a fallacy, a strategy used in order to defame secularists as “racist.”
- The conflation of race with religion constitutes a denial of freedom of conscience, condemning individuals to the religion into which they were born, a product of pure chance. It is a denial of a basic human right, the right to think for oneself.
- They use the crucifix in the Quebec National Assembly as an excuse to allow public servants in authority to wear blatant religious symbols. Of course that crucifix must be removed, and Legault’s decision to keep it there is unacceptable, but that is no excuse. Two wrongs do not make a right. The government needs to remove the crucifix:
- because it is the right thing to do; and
- in order to deprive anti-secularists of one of their favourite propaganda ploys.
Furthermore, the opposition to any form of dress code is nonsensical and dishonest, because:
- In the Quebec public service, politically partisan symbols may not be worn by employees on duty. It is thus hypocritical to allow religious symbols to be worn. Religious symbols are generally very political.
- Dress codes are a widespread phenomenon throughout society. For example, the Canadian parliament imposes certain restrictions on Members of Parliament. The Rules of Order and Decorum stipulate that “to be recognized to speak in debate, on points of order or during Question Period, tradition and practice require all Members, male or female, to dress in contemporary business attire.” Why should any MP be allowed the privilege of being exempted from this rule simply because of his or her religion?
- It is a major goal of Islamism to impose the wearing of the Islamic veil anywhere and everywhere. By opposing all dress codes, anti-secularists are objectively allied with extreme right-wing political Islam. Anti-secularists are not anti-fascist, they are objectively pro-fascist.
Given the above considerations, we see that those who denounce the new Quebec government as “racist,” because of its secular measures, are both intellectually bankrupt, for their arguments are fundamentally irrational, and morally bankrupt, because they oppose freedom of conscience and support the agenda of a far-right religious movement.
One small glimmer of reason from an individual who is normally a staunch ally of the anti-secularists: Manon Massé of Québec solidaire has publically stated that Legault and the CAQ are not racist. Very good. But she nevertheless opposes Legault’s plans because QS would not include teachers in the religious symbol ban. Furthermore, she did not, as far as I know, distance herself from the so-called “anti-racist” demonstration.
Anyone who cares sincerely about child welfare, especially the well-being of believers’ children, will support Legault’s proposed ban on religious symbols worn by teachers, thus helping to make public schools a refuge from religious indoctrination.
One final observation about the modern anti-racist movement, and this should come as no surprise to anyone: that movement is often racist itself. In particular, here in Quebec, so-called “anti-racist” activists often accuse Quebeckers in general of being racist. This itself is a racist attitude, an expression of anti-Québécois ethnic bigotry. In reality, the vast majority of Québécois, including those who voted for the centre-right CAQ, are more progressive that many of those activists.
- Les manifestants contre le racisme s’adressent à Legault, Ugo Giguère, La Presse, 2018-10-07.
- Des manifestants contre le racisme ciblent la CAQ, La Presse canadienne, 98.5 Montréal, 2018-10-07.
- Signez cette lettre d’appui à la laicité., Marco Leclerc, Discernement, 2018-10-07.
Next blog: The Dishonesty of the Globe and Mail