Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Cost of Conservative Religious Hegemony

How much would you give to protect your own religious freedom? Probably a lot, from money, to political action, to perhaps your life. I suspect you would give comparably to protect that freedom of another Canadian.

Now what would you give to protect the religious freedom of only people in other countries who worship the gods and dieties this government approves of (and by that I realize those nouns should have been singular)? I suspect it's much less, not because you don't care about those people who may have their religions repressed, but because the process is wrong.

Unfortunately, the amount you are willing to pay is not dependent on how much you will pay. The government is fulfilling an election promise and will soon establish an Office of Religious Freedom, the first Canadian office mandated to interfere in other nations in order to promote values and religions selected by this Conservative government.

The cost for this new office has been estimated to be $5 million a year, however the Conservative platform offers details that the scope will cost much more. The 2011 Conservative platform (pdf pg 40) states that the Office of Religious Freedom will protect religious groups in other countries that are being repressed, but in addition the Party also promises to "ensure that the Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] works with groups supporting such vulnerable minorities."

The office may only cost $5 million a year to fund preferred religious groups, infringing on other nations' sovereignty, but how much money from CIDA will be directed to this ignoble hegemonic goal is unknown.

In the end though it doesn't matter how much you would you pay for our government to selectively fund certain religious groups in foreign nations, how much you would pay for Canada to lose its image of a tolerant nation, and how much you would pay for our country to join the United States as the only nations with offices intended to interfere in other societies; you're going to pay anyways, and it's clear, you're going to pay more than you know.

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