Monday 28 July 2014

Separation of church & state 1: How to be christian without being a Christian

Sharon and I have been on the road for the past month, visiting children, siblings, assorted other relatives, and friends in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. We drove east across Canada and back home via the Excited States. In doing so, we were thrilled by the beauty of this continent, and enjoyed many outstanding experiences, among them:
  • The Cabot Trail, and Cape Breton Island generally.
  • Celebrating our 45 wedding anniversary with our children, their spouses, and Sharon's brother in lovely Baddeck, Nova Scotia (home of Alexander Graham Bell in his later years).
  • Peaceful agricultural and cottage country along the north shore of Lake Erie.
  • The South Dakota Badlands.
  • The Bighorn Mountains and the wild terrain generally of Wyoming. I expected a stage coach to careen around the corner pursued by a half a dozen mounted outlaws at any moment.
  • Mt. Rushmore.
  • Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota (you had to be there).
  • Yellowstone National Park.
  • Glacier National Park in Montana, particularly the Going to the Sun road (pictured on right). My knuckles are still white, and my mind continues to be boggled.
  • And once again, the beautiful foothills country west of Calgary. It never gets old.
Since returning three days ago, we have done seven loads of laundry, waded through scores of email messages that needed addressing right away, calculated our vacation expenses, committed suicide (just kidding, although contemplated when we did the expense calculations), and brought our schedules for the rest of the summer up to date.

Now my mind has turned once again to blogging. I was rushing at the end of my last few posts regarding Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau as we prepared to leave on the big road trip (12,000 kilometers in our trusty Camry, by the way, plus a return flight from Toronto to Sydney NS). I feel that the really big issue in connection with those posts has not yet been addressed; i.e., how would a person of faith whose principles include the right to life for unborn babies function in a non-sectarian setting like the Canadian Parliament.

That insightful, erudite and humorous Newfoundlander Rex Murphy summarized his thoughts on Trudeau Jr.'s pro-choice pontifications with a column entitled In Justin Trudeau's world, Christians need not apply (

I enjoyed the column thoroughly, as I do all of Murphy's writings. But I had to ask myself, "Is he correct?" Are principled, committed Christians (or people of any other faith that includes a commitment to pro-life beliefs) doomed to be pushed to the margins of society in the face of not compromising their principles?

Or, to put it another way, how is a person of faith to function in a system that is, by practice or definition, based on the separation of church and state?

As usual, I have only very formative ideas of what the answer is to that question. So this is what I would like to explore next.

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