soutenir la religion dans une société pluraliste et dans la vie publique canadienne

Religious Freedom & Building Bridges

I keep a Grateful Journal. Daily I try to itemize at least one thing for which I'm appreciative. Today's entry reads, "I'm grateful for Justice Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court who ruled in favour of religious freedom and association." I'm referring of course to the case of Trinity Western University v. Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.

Much has been written by way of legal analysis and I don't suppose to add anything more to the expert arguments made by both sides. Instead I celebrate a decision that enlarges our tent, a tent with expandable borders sufficient to shelter both LGBT and TWU law graduates.

When law suits, judgments, petitions and/or differing beliefs create a climate for building walls, I'm encouraged by the work of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation that advocates for building bridges instead. The values behind CIC's Charter Vision include honest, open, respectful dialogue with a view to promoting harmony and religious insight amongst religions and religious communities in Canada.

Dallin H. Oaks has said, "To achieve our common goals we must have mutual respect for others whose beliefs, values, and behaviors differ from our own. This does not expect that we will deny or abandon our differences but that we will learn to live with others who do not share them. It will help if we are not led or unduly influenced by the extreme voices that are heard from various contending positions. Extreme voices polarize and create resentment and fear by emphasizing what is nonnegotiable and by suggesting that the desired outcome is to disable the adversary and achieve absolute victory. Such outcomes are rarely attainable and never preferable to living together in mutual understanding and peace."

If I have learned anything through life's experiences in my own religious affiliation and/or as an immigration lawyer, it is that we are all beloved of God and have much to learn from each other. My best learning has come through association and respectful dialogue so today I pay tribute to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia which I believe has furthered that cause.

Contributed by Sandra Pallin, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints