Wednesday, April 30, 2008

it's just not prisons...

My blog buddy, Darcey of Dust my Broom has a post up on the lengths to which the Canadian government goes to accommodate multi-faith dinning in Canadian prisons but it is just not prisons. A year ago, I posted a piece about another great Canadian institution and the drive to accommodate any alleged religious practices. Taken from a March 31, 2007 article in the Toronto Star:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Members of the Wiccan religion celebrated the arrival of spring outside the Christian fellowship centre at the NATO military base here. Canadian Maj. Malcolm Berry smiles as he recalls being approached a few weeks ago by a group of soldiers of the Wiccan faith – a neo-pagan religion strongly tied to nature.

"They wanted to welcome the spring in a ceremony where they are very thankful to Mother Earth and the new moon with pagan prayers," said Berry, the senior chaplain for Task Force Afghanistan. "We had no difficulty with that. We just didn't want them to do it `sky-clad' (naked) in this environment because it would be too dangerous."

The six Wiccans – a Canadian and five Americans – were invited to hold their service outside the Christian fellowship centre. They were given water, candles and food that they were welcomed to eat inside the centre after the ceremony. The Wiccans were treated with the same respect as any Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist.

"We are way ahead of the curve in terms of adaptability, understanding others, being sensitive to the needs of all Canadians," said Berry, a friendly, talkative Anglican minister from Oromocto, N.B.
There was a time when the most common adjective used to describe Canadians by others was 'boring'. Somehow, I don't think 'boring' quite cuts it anymore.


Kateland, aka TZH said...

Yes, I believe it is possible, as an individual, and if one speaks directly to policy but my criticism (if you will) speaks to Christian church collective action. And it is there that I believe there is no moral standing left.

No one is more critical of the Israeli state than the Jews themselves. In fact, that tradition of criticism and the depth of passion for self-examination is one of the things I admire about the Israeli state.

I rarely engage others directly in the conflict on other blogs because one of the frustrations of doing so is caused by the superficial knowledge of Israeli society of those who are attempting to make a point. The whole society under siege by enemies thingy is often overlooked or discounted entirely as some kind of frivolous afterthought. Usually I have to stop myself from asking how many Israelis must be maimed or murdered before the Israeli state has an acceptable moral right to act in defense of its citizenry. Then there is the whole lack of consensus of what information from what sources is considered credible and it just becomes a such a ridiculous exercise - much like trying to nail jello to the wall.

GenX at 40 said...

I think you cross-posted to this Wiccan story by small accident so I will hope you will shift both. I do recognize your focus is far more detailed than mine and respect the society is under siege but I rarely discuss it for fear that I, too, could get labeled. I would put one thing to you for your consideration: I don't know that there is anything that can be properly characterized as "Christian church collective action". If the Pope or an southern US evangelical or even Rev. Wright makes a statement, many are indifferent by definition. Denominations are too fractured.

I think sectarianism, racism is more the cultural result, though this may speak more reduction of the church as a cultural pillar. So that when I worked in Poland for four months in 1991 or Holland for two in 1986, my experience of average Joe views of Jewishness were almost 180 from each other - and you may guess in which way each went.

Kateland, aka TZH said... Alan, what's your take on Wicca's?