Monday, June 25, 2012

Should Religious People Keep Their Noses Out Of Politics?

On the June 5th edition of CBC Radio's As It Happens, Canadian Senator Nicole Eaton offered up the following statement:

"I don’t think that churches should take political stands. I think they should be more about helping people and giving people succor.”

This statement came after her criticism of the United Church of Canada's boycott against Israel, saying, "is that helping the poor, educating the poor or giving people a hand up? Or is that political work?”

Interviewer Carol Off inquired, “Churches take up a lot of causes – they go after politicians about poverty, they go after them about abortion laws. Do you think they should cease and desist from all of that?” This is when Senator Eaton made her statement about churches taking political stands.

Michael Den Tandt of the National Post postulates some interesting questions in a recent article, such as: Should churches be exempt from paying taxes? Should their donors also be exempt from paying taxes?

Mr. Den Tandt's article also features quotes from religious political figures, including current Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: 

“In recent years, some politicians and commentators have asserted that in order to maintain the separation of church and state, legislators should not be influenced by religious belief. Leaving aside the fact that the separation of church and state is an American constitutional doctrine, not part of Canada’s legal or political tradition, the notion of separation refers to the state not interfering in religious practice and treating all faith communities impartially. It does not mean that faith has no place in public life or in the public square.” (2006)

Here is the full article at the National Post.