UChicago Divinity Alumnus of the Year lecture with Mark G. Toulouse

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LAURIE ZOLOTH: Whenever I
start coming up to the podium, I’m reminded of a
joke my rabbi told me that I’ve heard from
every minister ever since. The rabbi gets up there
and takes off his watch and puts it on
top of the podium. And what does it mean? Absolutely nothing. Interfaith Chair. [LAUGHTER] You’re in your
[INAUDIBLE] ranks. Well, welcome, everyone. I’m Laurie Zoloth. I’m dean of the
Divinity School here at the University of Chicago. And one of the best things
we get to do once a year is to honor one of
our great alumni. And it was a privilege
to invite you here to honor Mark Toulouse. Mark Toulouse is principal of
Emmanuel College and Professor of the History of Christianity
at Emmanuel college and the Department for
the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He joined the faculty
of Emmanuel College, one of the three theological
schools associated with the [? federated ?]
universities in the University of Toronto in 2009 after serving
23 years at Bright Divinity School at Texas Christian
University as a Historian of Religion and Culture. And 11 of those years were
spent as dean and Executive Vise President. And dean years are
like dog years. They count [INAUDIBLE]. He began his work in
theological education in 1984, when he joined the
faculty of Phillips Theological Seminary in Enid, Oklahoma. Dr. Toulouse is the author of
numerous articles and books. His books include The
Transformation of John Foster Dulles From Prophet of Realism
to Priest with Nationalism in 1985– pay attention to these years– Joint in Discipleship, the
Shaping of Contemporary Disciples Identity,
1992 and 1997, Makers of Christian
Theology in America, also 1997, Sources of
Christian Theology in America, 1999, Walter Scott, a
19th Century Evangelical, also 1999, and God
In Public, 2006. The Academy of Parish Clergy
named God in Public one of the top 10 books of the year. It’s one of my
favorites as well. His most recent
work is co-authored. It’s a religious analysis of
North American popular culture, The Altars Where We Worship,
the Religious Significance of Popular Culture in 2016. We are extremely proud of you,
Dr. Toulouse, for you have taken the teachings of
Martin Marty, who’s here, and the other faculty who
trained him into the world at large and in so
doing, you transformed how we understand the
history and agency of the Protestant
Church in American life. In his award winning
book God in Public, Toulouse takes on the complex
and essential question of political life and religious
expression, a question he reminds us readers was
as central to Jefferson as it is today. In fact, just yesterday
after a presentation by the editor at
the New York Times, a political scientist stood
up to give his opinion– actually, what he said was the
facts about today’s America. You see, he said,
the country is now divided between
post enlightenment and pre enlightenment thought. On the one side, he said,
stands rationality, science, and on the other,
superstition, and– you guessed it– religion. I thought for a few
moments and asked him what he thought religion was. And he said, you know,
religious people. Those fundamentalists. And this is why he
needs to read your book. [LAUGHTER] And this is why we need
scholars of religion such as Mark Toulouse, who
can understand, for example, the complicated discourse
of Christian Evangelicals, the nuances of the
constitutional clauses of the First Amendment, and
how it can be misinterpreted, and the forces that drive
modernity and post modernity. Of importance in his work is
the clarity of his understanding that the Universalist, common,
secular thought patterns of the whole community just
do not exist and perhaps never did exist. There is, he writes, no
simple, secular rationality, no objective, neutral
consensus any more than there is in an irrational
metaphysically unstable faith on the other side
of the discourse. For two centuries,
he said, what passed for secular neutrality
looked a good bit like what a white male
Protestant might say. He then quotes
scholar Robert Levin. The practical effect of
belief in public reason was a demand that
everyone in politics talk like a Presbyterian lawyer. [LAUGHTER] One of my favorite quotes. Toulouse sees
another possibility. Essentially, as I read
him, the Christian wisdom and Christian faith offers
good and truthful arguments, and it is good to claim them
and to help others understand and perhaps come
to agree with them. I wish that the
political scientists could open a book
of Mark Toulouse, for opening a book
of his is to be invited into a conversation
in which everyone is there. Stanley [INAUDIBLE]
is in a corner talking to Jeffrey Stout,
and Ron Dworkin is talking to [INAUDIBLE]
and Diana [INAUDIBLE] and James Gustafson. There’s David Tracy,
and [? Augustin, ?] Carl Henry, and James Madison,
arguing with Antonin Scalia. You will find them all
brought into the conversation, their ideas beautifully
summarized by Mark Toulouse. Mark is there in
that room to question the purpose of Christian
life, and by so doing, raising questions about
the America that we hold in common and the questions
we hold complexly together, humanity, freedom, justice. American history is a story
of the creation of democracy, by which we learn it is a
creation over the long years of a sort of human person,
marked by her context and curious in her inquiry. And central to this
creation is religion in all of its
various organizations and its various truth
claims, and they are all a part of public policy. Mark has listened closely to the
claims of his faith community, and his attention both
loving and critical, reminds us of the great
questions of democratic life, as he says, discovering how
to live together and listen and learn from one another. As a historian he is willing
to wait to see the answer. As a theological scholar
trained at Chicago, he reminds us that
hope is beyond history. We love complexity
at Chicago, Mark, and we’re determined to have
hope carry our teaching, and your work and your career
remind us that it is possible. Thank you for coming, and
congratulations on this very well-deserved award. [APPLAUSE] And if you can
carry this around, this is an award
memorialized and explained on the back by the audience. MARK TOULOUSE: That’s beautiful. LAURIE ZOLOTH: It is yours. Thank you. MARK TOULOUSE: And this is done
by someone in New Brunswick, right? LAURIE ZOLOTH: Yes, far away. MARK TOULOUSE: Yeah,
[INAUDIBLE],, New Brunswick. A Canadian did this. LAURIE ZOLOTH: Yes, a Canadian. Because we care about Canadians. MARK TOULOUSE: It’s so nice to
have a Canadian touched this. LAURIE ZOLOTH: And so it says,
for his profound scholarly contributions to our
understanding of the relation of faith to public life. For its exemplary
leadership of over 35 years in theological education. For his dedication to
nourishing individuals as well as institutions. The Baptist Theological Union
names Mark Toulouse Alumnus of the Year, 2018. MARK TOULOUSE: Well,
thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] Well, thank you, Dean
Zoloft, for that very gracious introduction. I think it’s probably the
best introduction I’ve ever had in my vocation and career. Thank you. It’s such a pleasure to
be back at Swift Hall. I have had teachers
and colleagues here who taught me the
value of scholarship. I’m especially pleased
Martin Marty is here. Marty identified potential in
me and patiently nourished it with his personal touch
and extraordinary talent as an advisor and mentor. He also did the calligraphy
for the birth announcement for my daughter Cara,
who’s sitting over here well over three decades ago. I won’t tell you how much
over three decades ago. I’ve been fortunate in my
career to be surrounded by people who set high standards
in their own lives and work. And [? Jeffca, ?] my
partner who’s here, is, of course, first and most
important of those people. But I should also
mention those I met here during student days
who have continued to be important friends
and colleagues for me. A few are here,
people like Joe Price and Don Musser and others. A couple of our
basketball team are here. There’s a picture in Ricks and
Rich’s office, the three of us on the Div school
basketball team that finished second in
the University of Chicago, one year to the law
school and the other to the medical school, but that
was quite an accomplishment for Div School athletics. [LAUGHTER] Also, the many faculty I’ve had
over the years, the pleasure of working with them. Staff, ministers–
a few ministers are here, one from
the United Church of Christ, one from
the Disciples of Christ that I really appreciate
your being with us today. And also, Stacy
Floyd Thomas, who’s a friend and co-author of
the book we did last year, who’s made the trip
from Nashville. She’s the E. Rhodes
and Leona B. Carpenter Chair in Ethics at Vanderbilt,
and thank you for being here. It means a lot to me. Chicago’s felt like home
for [? Jeffca ?] and me since the days we moved here
together over four decades ago. And all three of our
children were born here. Cara is now a Professor of
Social Work at St. Louis University. She’s here along with our
youngest grandson, who’s just under six weeks old, Xander. I’ve not researched
it, but I think that [? Jeffca ?] and I and
Doug and Rhonda Jacobsen may be the only two
couples who each had three children born while
here at the Div School’s PHD program. The Jacobsons and Toulouses
entered together in 1977. Had three kids each
in about five years. So I’d say our years at Chicago
provided a prolific start to both our careers. Finally, I want to express
deep appreciation to colleagues who nominated me for this
award and members of the Alumni Council and Board of Directors
at Baptist Theological Union for providing this
opportunity to return to Chicago for this award. I possess some
old Baptist roots, and I’m proud to be connected
with these Baptists today. Recognition from peers
is always gratifying but even more so when they’re
associated with the Divinity School. An early Chicago
colleague actually helped me acclimate to
new Canadian surroundings when I moved to Toronto in
late 2008, Phyllis Earhart. An historian of
the Canadian church offered me, given my
interest, the opportunity to teach religion and
public life in Canada, a doctoral seminar
that she had taught a few times over the years. And I asked if she
would co teach it with me the first time, and
she graciously accepted. She taught me a great
deal during the semester and provided the
leg up that I needed to make sure the nuances
of the Canadian scene did not completely elude me. You know a number
of years ago, I heard a saying was making the
rounds at the Divinity School. Power corrupts, and power
point corrupts, absolutely. In spite of the sage
wisdom contained therein, I thought I’d start
with a few photographs with PowerPoint this afternoon. The first features a photograph
I took at a fast food restaurant when
[? Jeffca ?] and I were driving to a family
reunion the year before we moved to Toronto. And as you can see featured on
the window of this Whataburger restaurant is the phrase, one
nation under God, indivisible. Now, this sticker
continues a decade later to appear on all the restaurants
of this Texas based food chain. I’ve learned recently
that they even sell t-shirts on their website. Now, I contrast
this photo with one I took on the Toronto subway not
long after I moved to Toronto. This advertising
campaign began in London and opened in Toronto
during the winter of 2009. There’s probably no God. Now, stop worrying
and enjoy your life. And I looked up at that
when I saw it in the subway, and I said to myself, yep. I’ve definitely moved
to a different country. [LAUGHTER] Now, I move back to Texas. When my property tax
bill arrived in January, I have to say, even I
was surprised to find these words occupying the
middle portion of the bill– in God we trust. You can see it there. Interesting. When you Xerox it,
it doesn’t show up. But in God we trust. On my property tax bill
in Fort Worth, Texas. Again, the realization hit me,
you’re no longer in Canada. In Canada, the
public expectation is that religion doesn’t
belong in public. While churches recognize the
privatization of religion in Canada and many
even affirm it, religious leaders often
continue to speak out on important issues. But few are inclined
to listen to them, and the media
generally ignores them unless it’s to claim that
some public comment makes it perfectly clear that the
collapse of the liberal church has taken place. An op ed writer for the Toronto
Star put it this way in 2012. Fortunately, nobody cares
what the United Church thinks about Israeli
settlements or anything else, for that matter, because
the United Church does not matter anymore. Canada has not developed the
kind of civil religious context that operates in
the United States. Robert Bellah
attributes the lack of civil religious
context, at least partially, to an
inability of Canada to develop a national identity
given the existence of Quebec with its differences
in religion, ethnicity, and language. Andrew Kim defined
two factors that have hindered a pan Canadian
identity, regionalism and biculturalism. Most Canadians,
he argued in 1993, identify more with
their province than with their nation. Canadian provinces,
you see, were settled by different
ethnic groups, and there are large
distances between them. Of the 10 provinces
in a 1980 survey, only the population of
Ontario selected Canadian over provincial identity. The phenomenon of biculturalism
refers, of course, to the French and
English influences. Kim argued that commercial
rivalry and differences of language and
religion and culture figure prominently in
the ongoing conflicts between the anglophone
and the francophone. Thus, national symbols like
the beaver or the maple leaf have all failed
to be sufficiently sacrilized to serve as a
form of civil religiosity. The maple leaf flag,
adopted in 1965, is gaining ground in Quebec. A 2012 poll found 2/3
of Quebec’s residents willing to recognize it
as a source of pride. But 58% of Quebecers viewed
the national anthem that way, gaining its official status in
1980 as either very or somewhat important. Although these national
are gaining ground, they’re late comers. They don’t have
a lengthy history that enables them to play
a role as unifying symbols in the culture. And with no strong
national symbols associated with a
dominant civil religion, the public expression
of religion in Canada has had a tougher time
holding its ground. The predominance
of British symbols in national military ceremonies
and the symbolic importance of the British
Royalty also served as cultural dividers between
Quebec and the rest of Canada. In 2013 on April the
27th, just two blocks from our home in
downtown Toronto, Prince Philip presented
new regimental colors to the 3rd Battalion of the
Royal Canadian regiment. Drivers from the marching band
put their musical instruments down on the ground. They laid them
down on the ground. The instruments were then
covered by a white cloth, thereby resembling an altar. Dominating Ontario
news, the event included a liturgy and
a blessing delivered by the chaplain general as
the new regimental flag was draped over the altar. The ceremony recalled
the Battle of York fought exactly 200 years before
and was followed by a parade through the streets
of downtown Toronto commemorating the War of 1812. And I wondered at the
time how Quebecers viewed the ceremony, given
that a 2012 survey showed that only 16% of
Quebecers viewed the monarchy as significant, and
only 33% think the War of 1812 is an important event
in Canadian history. For many Quebecers,
the Chaplain general with its ties to
the Anglican church operates as a continuing sign
of British domination In Canada. The Protistant vision
in Canada dominating the English provinces
has long been in conflict with the Catholic
vision of Quebec, which largely laid the ground
for separatist nation building. And contrary to
the United States, where Protestantism has
played a central role in defining a distinctive
cultural and national identity, religion represented
very strongly by two very different visions of
the nation had a difficult time gaining a culturally defining
foothold in Canadian ideology. Now, this is not to claim that
Canadian culture was never dominated by Christianity. Mark [INAUDIBLE] has argued
using significant statistics that Canada was both more
observant in religious practice and more orthodox in religious
opinion than the United States. In 1950, a Gallup Poll
measured 67% church attendance in Canada, with 90% attendance
of Catholics in Quebec. So the idea of a
Christian Canada was widespread across
the country in the ’50s. And by mid 1960s,
things changed. As one Canadian
historian put it in 2001, not only has the image
of a Christian Canada faded into history,
but the very thought that religious institutions
and beliefs might have a role to play in public life
strikes me today as archaic if not problematic. In 2013, including
all religions, attendance at worship services
in Canada stood at around 13%. Only one in 10 of
mainline identified people said they attended
worship weekly, one in 10. This transformation occurred
in both English Canada and in Quebec. In 1969, 98% of all marriages
in Quebec where religious. By 2016, this had
dropped to 42%. In fact, the majority of couples
in Quebec do not marry today. In 1969, only 8% of babies
born had unmarried parents. In 2011, 63% of all
babies born in Quebec are born to an unmarried woman. To understand what’s happened to
the hope for a Christian Canada since the ’60s, it’s important
to understand the broader canvas of Canadian history. So first, I’m going
to treat briefly the history of English
Canada, known as upper Canada, and cover some contemporary
examples of mixing of religion and public
life in both upper Canada and Canada in general. And secondly, I’ll deal
briefly with Quebec, providing some examples, and
conclude with the nation’s move toward secularization and
privatization of religion in the context of
developing commitments to multiculturalism. So the history of English
Canada’s difficulties with church establishment
began when the Americans burned Niagara on the Lake in 1813. At the time, the income from the
clergy reserve’s more than 2.5 million acres of land
supported Anglicanism, the established church. Presbyterians after
Niagara Lake was burned sought support to rebuild their
church from the government, but they received no support. And such difficulties
were not easily resolved, because the government in
Canada was generally convinced that the major cause of
the American Revolution was the absence of
church establishment. So in 1836, upper Canada
endowed 44 Anglican rectories by granting each of them 400
acres from the clergy reserves. And by 1837, upper Canada
reached a compromise, where the current
income of the lands would go to the Anglicans,
but any future funds would be divided in a way
that included the smaller denominations. So that kind of multiple
establishment feeding on the clergy reserves
ended in 1854, just less than a couple
of decades later, when John McDonald’s government
secularized the reserves. But the move to
disestablish did not guarantee separation of
church and state in Canada. The four established churches,
the Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Churches,
Methodist and Anglican all received cash settlements, and
the Presbyterians and Anglicans turned those into endowments. The Anglicans in
Ontario, frankly, are still funded by
those endowments, and further, the 44
rectories established in 1836 survived the challenge
in 1856, and publicly endowed rectories
still exist in Ontario. In 1849, the secular and
non-religious University of Toronto emerged from King’s
College, The Anglican college. And historian J. M. S.
Careless described that event with the 1849 Parliamentary
Bill as an entire victory for the forces of
secularization and centralism in upper Canadian
higher education. And by 1854, Upper
Canada had removed exclusive financial support
from the Anglican church. With confederation of the
British North Americans Act of 1867, there was no mention
of a religious establishment or state supported
church but simply assumed the practical loss of
every church privilege. However, loss of
exclusive privilege did not mean that church
enterprises in upper Canada would lose all
government funding. There is no constitutional
separation of church and state in Canada. So federal funding of
religious enterprises remains possible in
Canada in many ways that are prohibited
in the United States. In 2010 to 2011, for example,
Youth for Christ Canada sought funding to build
a new downtown youth center in Winnipeg. So the city donated the land,
offered a $2.6 million loan, which made possible an
additional $3 million of federal funding from
Harper’s government. The province denied
provincial funding, with one of its MPs describing
the federal support as taxpayer funded proselytization. On its various websites,
Youth for Christ Canada conveys its Canadian mission– to participate in
the body of Christ in responsible
Evangelism of youth, presenting them with the person,
work, and teachings of Christ and discipling them
into the church. So federal funding of these
kinds of direct proselytizing efforts is a little bit
more difficult to come by in the United States. In Canada, a measure
of public monies is also utilized to fund
theological education when theological schools
are connected to provincial universities. Emmanuel College, where
I served as principal for the last decade,
receives provincial funding that usually amounts
to around a half a million dollars per year. Christianity also prevails
in the public schools until at least the
mid 1960s, where it was finally ousted only
through a prolonged, contested process. But today, there’s a
separate school program that’s mostly Catholic. It’s rarely Protestant,
and it’s never connected to other faiths. And they’re still
publicly funded in three provinces
and three territories. In addition, British Columbia
provides significant funding of religious schools
when they follow the provincial curriculum,
and four other provinces use public moneys to support
Catholic schools that are willing to submit
to varying degrees of provincial supervision. Those institutional examples
of mixing religion and public are also not present in quite
the same ways in the United States. Christian influences in
public and political life of the British
provinces in Canada have a significant history. Throughout the 19th
century, Canadian clergy fought many of the
same battles on most of the same issues
as their colleagues in the United States. In addition, during
the 19th century and as late as 1970, the
mainstream churches, United Church, Anglican,
Presbyterian, and Catholic worked as agents of the
Saint through management of the native
residential schools. Though the church’s
principal goals were all religious and
humanitarian, in the end, they participated in inflicting
irreparable damage on those who lived under their tutelage. The ramifications of
residential schools in Canada continue to play out in
apologies and attention to the calls for action
of the 2015 Final Report of the National Truth
and Reconciliation Commission. In the early 20th century, many
of Canada’s political leaders were influenced by the
Social Gospel Movement. When Josiah Strong’s leadership
in the Evangelical Alliance organized three
interdenominational conferences, 1887,
1889, and 1893, Canadians attended
all three of those. And although the
movement in Canada largely dispersed into
more pragmatic politics after the 1920s,
the Social Gospel had lingering effects
that lived on particularly through a string of
20th century politicians that were influenced by the
early Social Gospel leaders. Beginning with people like
JS Woodsworth, a Methodist minister, Tommy Douglas,
a Baptist minister, they were both key
leaders who worked to create the Cooperative
Commonwealth Federation, CCF. The Social Gospel
gained a strong foothold in Canadian national
politics through that group. And then, the CCF morphed
into the new Democratic Party in Canada. And in 1921, Woodsworth
led in the creation of Canada’s old age pension
plan that was enacted in 1927. And in 1932, he became the
first leader of the CCF and developed programs that
brought social assistance to Canadian public life. Tommy Douglas served as a
seventh premier Saskatchewan and was instrumental
in introducing the first single payer health
program, universal health program in Canada. And in 1961, he became the
national leader of the new MVP and served in
parliament until 1979. Left leaning Christian
politicians mixed religion and politics significantly
throughout the 20th century and concentrated on programs
mostly improving social policy. They were informed by faith,
but they rarely talked faith. During the post-war period,
they developed child labor laws, collective bargaining, a
public education system, and infrastructure that
could provide such things as transportation,
communication, energy, auto insurance, and water. A progressive tax
system, housing policies to generate equal access and
fair prices, generic drug legislation, health care policy
that would protect consumers from the inflationary
context of the marketplace. And right leaning Christians
in the last two decades have tended to stress
issues connected to individual moral character,
particularly in relationship to abortion and sexuality and
in crime and law enforcement. But they also mostly
refrained from making explicit connections
to their faith. When the MeToo movement
led to the resignation in January this year
of Patrick Brown, who was the leader of the
Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario, it led to
the election of Doug Ford as the new leader. Now, Doug Ford is the
brother of Rob Ford. I don’t know how many of
you remember Rob Ford. He was the former mayor of
Toronto while we lived there. He enjoyed a crack cocaine
habit while he was mayor. Brother Doug, who is not
particularly religious himself, swept to victory in employing
the same divisive playbook that helped propel his brother
to power in Toronto in 2010 and that handed Donald Trump
the White House in 2016 with the zealous support
of Christian conservatives in Canada. Currently, Doug Ford is
technically the favorite to win election for Premier
of Ontario on June the 7th of this year. One month ago, 83 year
old pastor Paul Melnichuk, who’s the leader of Toronto’s
megachurch Prayer Palace, who by the way, was
found not guilty, not enough evidence, last year
of sexually assaulting members of his own
congregation, stood on the stage of his church
with Doug Ford by his side, urging his members to get out
and vote for Ford, he said. This is a man who
surely the Lord has visited and granted
him a dream, a vision, for the people of this
land in his province for the glory of God. For his part, Doug Ford stood
in front of a giant video screen displaying the
address of his website and spoke a promise
to the congregation. I can guarantee you we will
make sure the church has a voice all the time. All the time. He’s promised conservative
Christians in Canada he will re-address
and perhaps remove the promise of sex
education curriculum, which attempts to talk to students
frankly and without judgment about sexual activity,
gender identity, and sexual orientation. And Ford has indicated he would
allow anti-abortion protesters closer access to legal clinics,
deep six the carbon tax, and give Christian
doctors the right to refuse referrals in cases
of abortion and assisted dying. In an article just
two weeks ago, Michael Cohen uses Doug Ford
to describe an emerging battle for Christianity in Canada,
where conservative voices, he says, are on the
ascendant, resembling their counterparts on the
religious right in the United States. And he points to Sam Oosterhoff,
who’s a 20-year-old Evangelical champion and a member
of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament, who
recently used Facebook to denounce the ability of same
sex couples to adopt children. And he said it was disrespectful
to others and followers. Charles McVety, a well-known
conservative firebrand, has also worked hard
to elect Doug Ford. Conservatives,
Coleman argues, have found new champions
in rising politicians, both in provincial
and federal politics. While signaling some important
trends in Evangelicals public voice in
Canada, Coleman’s fear of a rising battle
does not clearly consider a number of
important factors. First, Canada’s
conservative party does not lean nearly as right as
the Republican Party these days and is nowhere close to the
Tea Party’s perspective. Second, evangelicals are a
much smaller group in Canada. They comprise only 8% to
10% of Canadian population, compared to 35% in
the United States. Yet, they have tended
to hold their percentage of the population over the
last number of decades. So that means they are growing
with the Canadian population. And mostly growing
because they’re attracting Asian
immigrants so successfully. This stands in contrast
to the mainline church, of course, which is seriously
shrinking in Canada. It’s about 14% mainline
Protestant population, 39% Catholic population. Third, about 40% of Canadians
Evangelicals, so 40% of the 8% to 10%,
regularly support either the Liberal Party or the
new Democratic Party, the NDP, representing a significant
variety in Evangelical voices in Canada. Fourth, historically
Evangelicals in Canada have not much resembled
the religious right in the United States. Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada, an Ottawa based
umbrella group, contains 160 different groupings
of Evangelicals and denominations
and organizations and educational institutions. And historically, they’ve not
been terribly active or visible in politics of the country. It’s true, however, that a
growing number of Evangelicals in Canada seem to be harboring
a persecution complex. The sex education curriculum
implemented in 2016 in Ontario obviously fed that complex. Another contributing issue
emerged in January this year, when Justin Trudeau and
the Federal Government required that all groups seeking
funding from the Summer Jobs Program must affirm respect
for a woman’s right to choose. The program provides
public funds for businesses
providing services and meet legal priorities of
hired students for the summer. And over the past five years,
the Campaign Life Coalition and the Canadian Center
for Bioethical Reform have used this
summer jobs program to secure a $3.5
million in public funds. The latter group is known
for using gory placards and pamphlets in
efforts to convince Canadians abortion is a bad
thing and should be banned. The Evangelical
Fellowship supported a motion in Parliament
this last month to allow non-political,
non-activist groups to be eligible for
summer funding regardless of their private
convictions about abortion, and that motion failed in the
House of Commons on March 19. Evangelicals and
conservatives, though, are not alone in their concern. As the [INAUDIBLE] editorialized
that while legal access to abortion is not
going anywhere, neither is debate about it. Therefore, the
Trudeau government should make peace
with these facts instead of stigmatizing
and discriminating against Canadians who don’t
see the prime minister’s view. For his part, Trudeau actually
claims that a religious group’s privately held convictions
should not stop them from receiving funding. Rather, he says, the
application merely requires the group’s
core mandate not be dedicating to fighting
women’s reproductive rights or LGBT groups. And he says, places like the
Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform have core mandates
that the whole purpose for their existence is to fight
abortion and anti-gay groups. Therefore, they
shouldn’t be eligible. But it doesn’t matter what
your private beliefs are as long as your core
mandate isn’t fighting abortion or gay groups. But for the
Evangelicals, of course, this doesn’t work,
because for them, there’s no difference between their
beliefs and their core mandate, even if their core mandate is
to evangelize for Jesus Christ. They feel like they’re
denying that if they are quiet about such
things as abortion. I want to talk briefly
about Quebec, now, and then we’ll move to a
conclusion about privatization and multiculturalism. While provinces in
British Columbia worked towards disestablishment
since at least 1854, a different reality
existed in Quebec. Union of upper and
lower Canada in 1840 consolidated the power of
the British elite in Montreal and perpetuated this political
and social inferiority, French Catholicism
and French Canadians. When confederation
took place in 1867, even though it created a
separate province of Quebec, it did not much
change their reality. The British belief that French
Canadians could be assimilated was frustrated by
the Quebec church, a body entirely under
French Canadian control. And the church recruited
new leadership from France and sought to care
for French Canadians by providing a range
of educational, health, and welfare services. During the second half
of the 19th century, the number of men and
women in religious orders increased tenfold, from
900 to 8,600 in Quebec, and women made up
77% of the increase. With this leadership,
the Catholic church created 24 parishes
in Montreal alone, and by the end of the century,
established schools, convents, colleges, hospitals, chronic
care, and welfare facilities of all kinds. By the time of
Confederation in 1867, the Catholic Church dominated
areas of health, education, and welfare in Quebec. The province retained the
power of economic and political matters, but the
church maintained a French Canadian
culture and fashioned a cohesive and self-confident
identity during that last half of the 19th century. The Catholic church maintained
cultural influence and power throughout the first
half of the 20th century, and indeed the party
of Maurice Duplessis, Premiere in Quebec from about
1944 to his death in ’59, provided financial
support for the church, and he declared Quebec
a Catholic province. The church, for its part,
helped to legitimate power of the government and
remained in charge of education, health care, and
social services in provinces. So Quebec fully connected
religion and nationalism until about 1960. With the election of the
Liberal Party leader John Lesage in 1960, the
so-called quiet revolution emerged in Quebec. By the mid 1960s, religion and
practice in Quebec markedly declined. Young people showed
little to no interest. Priests abandoned their
vows, few showed interest in pursuing religious orders,
social services and education were deconfessionalized and the
religious values of the culture were easily supplanted
by secular values of mass market and North
American consumer society. The social and cultural
modernization of Quebec developed quickly in
the ’60s, and ever since historians
have tried to examine the origins of the change. And in most cases
and approaches, historians have claimed
that the Catholic Church was an institution mired
in rural Utopian past and inevitably
destined to melt away in the face of the march
of secular ideologies and cultural practices. But then, there developed
an alternative explanation that historian Michael
[? Gabaro ?] argued, and it’s become quite convinced. That the roots of
the quiet revolution lay rather in the efforts
of the Catholic Church to devise a social
political solution to the Great Depression. The social critique offered by
Catholicism during that period brought to Quebec’s society
a significant degree of ideological pluralism
that later blossomed into the suggestion that state
intervention could actually restore social solidarity lost
because of the economic crisis. And in this sense,
the Catholic church was not simply a traditionalist
obstructionist voice standing in the way of
modernism but actually provided a transformative catalyst
through reformist ideas in response to the
Great Depression. During the four decades
following the Quiet Revolution, many in modern Quebec have
sought a thoroughly secular society. In recent years, these
efforts have hit the news on a couple of
significant occasions. In 2013, for example, Parti
Quebecois Premier Pauline Marois proposed a
new charter of values designed to help
the province reach its goal of state secularism. She described the charter
as a unifying document. She hoped to use it to establish
a principle of neutrality for anyone who worked as an
employee of the government. Therefore, the proposed
charter prohibited the wearing of religious symbols
by anybody who worked for any arm of
Quebec’s civil services. Certain Christian
symbols and rituals, such as the large crucifix in
the Quebec national assembly and the observation
of Christmas, were exempt due to the cultural
heritage of the province. And small religious symbols like
rings, earrings, and pendants would be allowed. But more obvious
items like wearing a turban or a hijab or larger
pendants would be prohibited. Reaction to this bill in 2013
was divisive throughout Canada, and most politicians outside
the governing party in Quebec opposed the proposal. And even that party’s former
Premier, Jacques Parizeau, publicly repudiated the
proposed charter claiming it goes too far. In the wake of her proposal,
anti-Muslim sentiment and behavior rose
measurably in Quebec, and the Human Rights Coordinator
at the National Council of Canadian Muslims noted
the irony of politicians in Quebec representing
a minority that is so afraid of its own minorities. This bill for a
new Quebec Charter died when Parti Quebecois
lost the specially called provincial election
in April of 2014. Then, in 2015,
Quebec’s liberal party introduced Bill 62, a
new religious neutrality law that passed in October,
2017, so just last fall. The law is meant to provide
a framework for when religious accommodations
should be granted. Specifically, the
law requires the face to be uncovered
in Quebec whenever working in a government office
that meets with the public or whenever you as a person
seek a public service. So that means when
you sit-in a classroom of any secondary school or
public school or any university or when you check
out a library book or when you enter
public transit that depends upon an
identification card, your face must be uncovered. Therefore, public
services in Quebec are essentially
denied to Muslim women who wear face coverings
due to religious belief unless they’re willing
to remove those coverings for these particular
interactions. In addition, the
bill adds a section that now prohibits the
use of provincial funds by any child care services that
teach religious beliefs as part of their service. Denial of such funding seems
natural in the United States, but in Canada, actually, it
represents a new definition of how public funding for
such services is to work. In response to a court
challenge mounted by a mixture of Muslim
and civil rights activists, a Supreme Court
judge granted a stay on December the 1st last year of the
section of the law that deals with face coverings. So the government’s now
required to delineate just how this part of the law will
work in practice, a delineation that the government has
promised by this summer. Ironically, this push to
secularization in Quebec grew naturally in
the soil produced by the policies of Pierre
Trudeau, a liberal leader from Quebec who was greatly
influenced by the close reading of Catholic thinkers. Trudeau adopted a
theory of secularization and widely understood
to be the architect of the shift in the Canadian
landscape that essentially privatized religion. As early as ’67, as
Minister of Justice, Trudeau instructed
parliament that we are now living in a social climate
in which people are beginning to realize, perhaps
for the first time, that we are not entitled to
impose the concepts which belong to a sacred society upon
a civil or profane society. So in his work as
Minister of Justice, he sought to decriminalize
homosexual acts between consenting adults. He legalized contraception,
lotteries, and also abortion in broadly defined
health related instances. He imposed new restrictions
on gun ownership and liberalized laws
restricting divorce. In large measure,
all of these actions were actually supported
by the mainline churches, who like Trudeau, favored
a distinction between sin and crime. Catholic bishops
opposed the changes in areas of abortion
and homosexuality, but they conceded the changes
in birth control and divorce. And even when they
argued against abortion, they deliberately avoided
using religious language in argumentation. The changes Trudeau made
along with his formation of the new Constitution
when he was actually Prime Minister, the new
Constitution in Canada appeared in 1982. There had never been
a constitution before. And that constitution
opened up possibilities Trudeau did not foresee. His positions in these
areas caused religion to be divested of the formal
role they had played as arbiter of public morals and transformed
churches in the words of one scholar from the
conscience of the nation to privatize suppliers
of spiritual services to consumers. The work of Catholic
philosophers Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson greatly
influenced Trudeau, particularly in this absorption
of French Catholic personalism. Though he had their work at
the latest by the early 1940s, he made this philosophy
his own after the war by seeking out the personless,
particularly Gilson, Emmanuel Mounier,
and Gabriele Marcel, while he studied in
Paris and in London. Gilson believed the
role of the state is to contribute to the
full development of all the human beings
who make up society, while for Maritime,
pluralism helps guarantee religious liberty and
freedom of conscience. Given the cultural
pluralism found in Canada as he assumed his role as
Prime Minister in 1968, Trudeau sought to create
a welfare state ordered toward the self realization of
every citizen, a public sphere where space for diversity
of faith, ideologies, and lifestyles could thrive. As Trudeau put it, the
philosophy of personalism offered him a good way to
distinguish my thinking from the self-centered
individualism of laissez faire liberalism by restoring
it with a sense of duty to the community in
which one is living. Trudeau’s interest
in human rights found healthy support
in the work Maritain, who’d helped to draft the
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And near the end of his
work as prime minister, Trudeau brought all Canadians
under a Constitutional Protection of Human Rights,
the one I mentioned, called the Charter of Human
Rights and freedoms in 1982. Until 1982, Canadians had
consistently and manifestly grounded human rights in
a religious framework. Trudeau’s new
constitution grounded human rights in an essentially
secular civil libertarianism. The result from the
’60s onwards led to a process of Canadian
de-Christianization. And increasing immigration in
Canada and growing diversity led to changes during
the Trudeau years. And on October 8, 1971, Canada
became the first country in the world to create an
official policy adopting interculturalism. Multiculturalism promulgated
a Canadian identity that replaced the old notions of
a deeply divided British Canada and French Catholic Canada. The multiculturalism
policy in Canada affirmed the dignity
of all Canadians regardless of racial or
ethnic origins, language, or religious
affiliation, confirmed the rights of the
aboriginal people, and declared the official status
of Canada’s two languages. In the beginning, religious
groups were consulted. They were expected to play
a role as binding agents in helping new
immigrants adjust. But as John Biles and
[? Jumeirah ?] Ibraham showed, by the early
1980s, the policy shifted its emphasis
to race relations. And once the policy was
incorporated into the charter 11 years later in
1982, religion was subsumed under the label of race
with the exception of Judaism, which was often
conflated with ethnicity. Thus, with the dual emphasis
of race and ethnicity, the effect of
multiculturalism has been to diminish the
importance of religion and religious communities. So now, I think it
might be the right time to ask whether contemporary
multiculturalism in Canada propagated by Trudeau and
others as a way of articulating Canadian identity in the midst
of this significant pluralism, whether it’s currently
developing characteristics that actually might represent
a powerfully symbolic civil religion. On the one hand,
multiculturalism takes advantage of tying in
easily to Canada’s long history emphasizing biculturalism. But on the other hand,
in its contemporary form, it minimizes religious
identity in a way that religious groups find
it difficult to challenge. Most Canadians fear that
taking true measure of religion and its public influences would
only yield divisive results. Biles and Ibraham argued this
approach to multiculturalism represents an Achilles
heel in Canada, because it fails
to take seriously the fact that religion
still matters to Canadians. And further, for immigrants
from other countries, religion matters even more than
it does to native Canadians. More than a decade
ago, Biles and Ibraham called for a deep
privatization of religion. They depend here on the
argument of Jose Cassanova, who described significant
de-privatization of religion occurring elsewhere
across the globe. If de-privatization of
religion is to work, it must include an
attempt to educate Canadian public as a whole
rather than simply members of the religious communities. So they called for
widespread education about religion,
about the breadth of religious experience,
and essentially the de-privatization of religion
must also allow religion to emerge as a serious
category for analysis, as important as the categories
of race and ethnicity. Canadian life strongly
encourages all persons in Canada through
education and other ways to understand the importance
of race and ethnicity. Canadians should be equally
encouraged to understand the importance of religion. Knowledge never
exists in a vacuum but always exists
in a context that includes religious experience. To understand the
human condition, therefore, one must take
seriously the public nature of religion itself. While Miles and
Ibraham recognize the fear Canadians expressed
that the combination of concepts like
religion and public could mean that there
will be no limits, and all practices will
somehow become acceptable, nevertheless, they
believe Canadians have two strengths to protect
against those fears being realized. The first, the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms already sets clear limits. The second, Canadians, as
I’ve learned firsthand, are masters of compromise. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: I’m curious, is the
work of [? Charles Taylor ?] [? ever get ?] mentioned
back in Canada? MARK TOULOUSE: It
does, actually. You know, he’s been
read by a number of– even the secularists in
Canada who value his work and believe that
he has something to defend the importance of
religion as a consideration. So Charles Taylor, who’s worked
on secularism and questions of religion and
relationship to secularism in the University of
Toronto and connected to many of these current
leaders who are beginning to make the case that Canada’s
privatization of religion is not the best route. AUDIENCE: So you
began the presentation by doing a little
bit of contrasting your lived experience
in Texas and in Canada. So just this week,
there was the conviction of three white supremacists
in Garden City, Kansas, who were planning to bomb a
Somali community in Kansas. In the wake of
the 9/11 bombings, the language that was
used for the war in Iraq was crusade language. And obviously, you look at
this tension between what was– I’m not sure naming it as
the failure of secularization is quite a fair description of
what you were talking about, but the limitations of it– with, oh my gosh, living in
Texas for all of those years and seeing the failures
of public religion done wrong, right? So I wondered what your
proposal might look like. MARK TOULOUSE:
Here or in Canada? I mean, I think that here– and the Canadians have
always thought it strange when they look
south of the border and they hear the politicians
talking about God all the time. In fact, in 2006,
right after Harper was elected as the new
Prime Minister of Canada in the conservative party,
he gave his address, his acceptance
address, and closed it with God bless Canada. And the newspapers and everybody
else said, what the hell was that? They never heard
anything like that. It didn’t belong in
Canada, you know. So in the United States,
the religious language that is so much a part
of our public rhetoric is of course rooted in this
public religion, which has developed through our history. And when I was in
[INAUDIBLE] a long time ago, I read [INAUDIBLE] experiment
for the first time. And I think it’s
[INAUDIBLE],, when he talks about he loved the
religion in the republic as it developed. And he talked about this
transcendent language that was so much a part of the
Enlightenment, the language that [INAUDIBLE] and
called American recognized, it wasn’t [? an end ?]
in itself. It had accountability somewhere,
transcendent to itself. And [INAUDIBLE] used
the phrase through time in American history of
how this transcendent language disappeared
into the smile of Alice’s cheshire cat in Alice in
Wonderland, the sentimental smile. I think in America,
religion in public needs to be revisited
as to how to separate the religion that we currently
have in the public from what religion actually is. And so there’s a great
deal of education that needs to happen
in America as to how to make that distinction. This is not the religion we
want to represent our public. But the religions,
when they operate as religions have and
can operate in history, could bring a lot
of accountability to America’s public life. And have in many instances. I mean, Martin
Luther King brought tremendous accountability
to our public life because of his religious commitments. But in Canada,
it’s more how we do we claim a religious
voice when everybody takes for granted religion
should be private matter? So it’s a different
kind of problem. It’s trying to educate
people that religion can bring something to the table. And in fact, if you’ve
examined Canadian history, it brought single payer health
care coverage for everybody, it brought [INAUDIBLE] plan. I mean, all of the people
who pushed those bills through Parliament
were actually many of them ministers who had become
parliamentarians and offered great ability to change
Canadian life for the better. So how you bring
religion appropriately into the public face requires
education in both countries, but they’re different kinds
of education in many respects. There are different
problems in each country as to how to address it. There is still a great bit
of anti-Muslim rhetoric in Canadian public life. A survey in 2012 said
that 47% of Canadians believe that Islam is
inherently a terrorist religion. It went up. It was already
above 54% in Quebec, but it went up in the
years following that 2012. And of course, we had our
own incidents of violence, mosques being bombed recently
as much as a year ago, a mosque was bombed. And these anti-Muslim
events are happening, but they’re not really
tied to Christian rhetoric. They’re instead tied
to cultural rhetoric that fears difference,
particularly religious difference. And here, the rhetoric is
often more religious rhetoric. More conservative Christians
like Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas, who I
knew when he was 13 years old. He used to have a crush
on my sister, who’s still a member of the
congregation, by the way. [LAUGHTER] You know, Robert Jeffress is one
of the most anti-Islamic voices in the country. And it’s coming out
of religious concern, out of supposedly
Christian concern. So the anti-Muslim rhetoric
in the United States tends to be a bit different
than the anti-Muslim rhetoric in Canada even now, I think. So I’m not sure I’ve
answered your question. But it’s a complex, I
think complex issue. And both countries
really need to establish a more appropriate way
of dealing with religion and the public voice of
religion the way they deal with race and ethnicity– critical, analytical,
but valuing what it brings to the table. AUDIENCE: To what degree is
the [? rather ?] excruciating accounting for the residential
school debacle made Canadians view the churches
as not prizing them for their honesty
about this but saying, well, they’re really dangerous. They have done
really bad things. And therefore, this
de-privatization is opening the door to
a dangerous initiative. MARK TOULOUSE:
It’s a good point. I mean, the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission just came out with its
final report in 2015. And the whole nation of Canada
is taking it very seriously. And it’s a very
sophisticated analysis of why aboriginal
peoples in Canada suffered at the hands of the
culture, not just the churches, but the culture. And yet the problem is,
as with many things, people don’t read the
sophisticated report. They just read the
calls for action. But the calls for action are
very evenhanded in suggesting workable ways universities
and churches can attempt to reparation and bring
justice for aboriginal peoples in Canada. But I think you’re right. The unsophisticated
approach is here’s just one more example of the way
you let church in public life, and you mess everything up. So I do think it’s made
it easier for the critics, the people who are already
inclined to think religion is the problem,
it’s made it easier for them to make
the case, and they use the residential
schools as one way to help them make that case. It’s a problem. AUDIENCE: Thanks
for a great talk. Very stimulating. I very much appreciated
the comparison and contrast with the US. I have sort of a
terminalogical question and maybe a follow up question
depending on how you answer it. And then has to do with the
language of secularization and privatization. And I can imagine it
creates an [INAUDIBLE].. And if so, I’d ask you to
sort of break those down. It doesn’t seem to me to
be necessarily the case that to secularize and to
privatize are the same thing. The data you gave us were really
about the decline of religion, and that’s a secularization
story, right? But we also seem to think
that there is a privatization problem and that
with that in mind, we have to think more
about religion in public. So we sort of have
those two categories. Let me tell you why
[INAUDIBLE],, and that has to do with Trudeau’s reliance
on [? Meritan, ?] OK? Because [? Meritan ?] drew
a fundamental distinction not between the individual
and the community but between the
state and society, society being bigger
than the state. So [? Meritan ?] could argue
that you could secularize. That doesn’t necessarily mean
to individualize or privatize, but that the social
sphere, which is larger than
the law or policy, is where religion belongs. So you could secularize without
necessarily doing damage to religion in public
life if the social is the arena in which it’s
probably [INAUDIBLE] MARK TOULOUSE: Yeah, the social
sphere is where religion is. [INAUDIBLE] And the state
is where it’s secularized. AUDIENCE: Right. MARK TOULOUSE: I think the
problem is that in Canada, most people do [? complain. ?] I
mean, I think secularization in Canada, at least as
it’s popularly practiced, and I think even as
Trudeau understood it, was always assuming that
there was this kind of secular rationality that was eminently
reasonable when people were allowed to have a conversation
about their personal religious beliefs about what was
best for the state, or what was even
best for society. And the belief that
somehow, secularization could lead to a greater
objectivity for decision making, then, would
take place if religion was brought into the equation. And I think that in
the postmodern context that we live today and the
recognition of, as I said, the teaching seminar
[INAUDIBLE] and others, who talked about the
historical consciousness that we all were effected
by, and that whether you’re a secularist or a person
of religious understanding, you still have a
context that you’ve got to become critically
aware of as you enter into the conversation. And I think the assumption of
secularity is, first of all, that secular equals ration. And it’s reasonable, more
reasonable than [INAUDIBLE].. And secondly, that such a
thing as secular exists. As I’ve come up dealing
with popular culture, and in particular the book
that Stacy [INAUDIBLE] Thomas and I did this
last year, when we began examining
popular culture, we found not that popular
culture acted in many ways like [INAUDIBLE] in terms
of rituals and [INAUDIBLE] and myths and practices
and materiality and all these kinds of things. But in many ways,
people themselves began to express
their religiosity through popular culture. And to call popular
culture itself secular may not actually
fit in our context. That everything
is non religious, or nothing’s religious, right? But I mean, I think in terms
of the theories of religion that we study and grew
up in as scholars, we began to recognize
these theories of religion in the way people acted in
response to popular culture, or the way popular culture
acted in response to the context that people lived in. And so the simple
declaration that there is such a thing as
total secularity, when even the secularists are
holding something as ultimate and invoking everything to
do that, and getting their [INAUDIBLE],, may look
like a religious practice to some of us who examine
religious practices. And so I think you’re right. I would say that secularity
and privatization are not the same things. But then, there’s the
assumption on the other side, a religious system
that religion is right. And this is an assumption that
I think is made in our culture more easily than you
could make it in Africa, or somewhere else. That religion is
essentially private. And at best,
religion is private. It should be between
you and your god and your expression
of faith, and it can affect you personally,
when you want it and make you a better
person, et cetera. But it belongs in private. It’s not something
that you should bring in the public
for everybody else, because not everybody shares
your private religious understanding or expression. But the reality is, religion
across the world is public. It’s a part of the public life,
of the way people experience what it means to be human. And I think the
problem in Canada these days is we affirm
multiculturalism. We want to to do
everything we can to experience the
value that people of different cultures,
ethnicities, and races bring to us as a nation. But we want you to keep
your religion private. And in fact, they
cannot be who they are. You’re actually setting
conditions on the way you will make them
acceptable to you is by stripping something that’s
essential to their own identity from them– religion. And so I think it’s
not so much a matter– they say, practice your
religion in any way you want in our
sector of society. Go to your mosques. What you [INAUDIBLE]. Go anywhere and do
anything you want to do, but just don’t bring that into
the public sphere of trying to improve public
policy with it. And that’s where
privatization steps in. I think that’s
something different. It’s changing the
character of these people, or trying to, in order
for them to fit in. And that’s where I think
Canadian life needs to examine religion
in the same way it examines race and ethnicity. We don’t want people to change
their race or their ethnicity in order to fit in. We want them to be fully,
completely equal to anybody who’s born in Canada. And race and ethnicity should
not affect them [INAUDIBLE].. But religion, that’s something
that does effect them. And we don’t analyze
religion in the same way we analyze race and ethnicity. And it’s easy to excuse it,
because we say it’s private. A private matter. Laurie Zoloth: [INAUDIBLE]
reminds me of two things. One is a story, which is when
the Challenger went down. [INAUDIBLE] and that
nationalized [INAUDIBLE],, and [INAUDIBLE]. And so as all the people who
[INAUDIBLE] around the world are invited to this big
[INAUDIBLE] in Washington DC, and the Canadians were there,
and the French were there, and the French were
there, [INAUDIBLE].. And essentially, there was
a room full of [INAUDIBLE].. And the US Congress
was also [INAUDIBLE].. And then, they began a
huge memorial service. And the US Congress–
people were weeping, and the US Congress was
praying, and all that. And every population
was accepting this. But the Canadians and the French
and Israelis and [INAUDIBLE] were looking in horror at the
US Congress who were praying. And afterwards, we [INAUDIBLE]. It’s real. They don’t just say
it happens here. They believe [INAUDIBLE] we
thought the whole thing was just [INAUDIBLE]. But there’s something about
[INAUDIBLE] that seeped into that– [INAUDIBLE] church. The fact that your religion
had to be there, [INAUDIBLE] in addition to the
[INAUDIBLE] in my [INAUDIBLE].. And so I think what
[INAUDIBLE] It’s not that it’s public or
private, but it’s social. So we have this social
activity, [INAUDIBLE] shocking [INAUDIBLE] any
other hobby is particularly [INAUDIBLE]. But in the realm
of the [INAUDIBLE] challenges to the very
notion of [INAUDIBLE].. MARK TOULOUSE: Yes. You know, in Canada, in several
instances over the last nine years that we were
in Toronto, there were memorial services that
were [INAUDIBLE] religious. And so people can express their
profound religious commitments in that kind of public way
in response to a tragedy, even when– we had a mosque in
Quebec recently– we hosted a public service
that was multi religious, and people came. So they can practice
their religious beliefs in public in that way. But I think that they
experience the same difficulties we did in the States with
respect to things like this. In Ontario, for example,
there was a big fight in 2006 when [? Mcguinty ?] tried
to remove the Lord’s Prayer from being used to open
every Parliament in Ontario. And he got flooded
by people who said it’s essential for the
Lord’s Prayer to be used. So [? Mcguinty ?]
finally gave it. But what he did
was he established that every time the
Parliament opens in Ontario with
the Lord’s Prayer, it’s got to be accompanied
by some other religious expression. So they invite the Hindus in,
and they invite the Muslims in, and they invite the Sikhs in. They always do– the Lord’s
prayer is always there, but there’s always an
additional expression by one of the other
religions that’s included. But there are
several, I think it’s three provinces that
still use the Lord’s prayer, or some version
of it exclusively. And the rest of the provinces
have done away with it entirely. There is nothing
in open Parliament that has any measure of
religiosity [INAUDIBLE].. But I do think that
Canadians are always perplexed by American religion. Whether it’s public
religion, civil religion, or whether it’s genuine
church religion, they’re perplexed by it. The United Church used
to believe [INAUDIBLE] that it could create a
Christian Canada and even a national church. And after the ’60s, they were
quickly relieved of that notion as they tried to do it. Now, this is a liberal,
progressive church who believed they could
be national church for all Canadians. They could lead Canadians
into a progressive future. And so even progressives
in Canada [INAUDIBLE] of that after the
’60s, and they begin to accept the privatization. When you look at
the two countries, the largest Protestant
Church in Canada is the United Church of Canada. The largest Protestant
Church in the United States is the Southern Baptist Church. And there’s a
world of difference between those two large
Protestant churches in the two different countries. AUDIENCE: To follow up on that,
obviously, the secularization of [? thesis ?] doesn’t work,
so religion is indeed not going away. But there are many
similarities between Canada and the [INAUDIBLE] we
have the same problems with multiculturalism
and secularization. And I’ve been wondering
as you were speaking that the problem I see
with mainline churches, including the United
Church in Canada, where when I lived in
Toronto I would actually go, has been the kind of
self secularization. And I think mainline Protestant
churches, especially, have felt in this this
context of secularization somewhat embarrassed to
express their identity, right? And it’s the same in
[INAUDIBLE],, where [INAUDIBLE] Protestant Church. And [INAUDIBLE] and just the
part in society the [INAUDIBLE] used to play has receded. So I’ve been wondering
to what extent you think that that’s
true, and to what extent there are ways for
mainline churches to find a way to express their
religiosity without going back into the white anglo
saxon Protestant model of [INAUDIBLE]. MARK TOULOUSE: That’s
a great question. I mean, the truth is– and here’s where Canada’s
experience is somewhat like the United States– if you look at
the United States, the progressive churches,
and there have always been social activities,
political activities, especially through Vietnam,
civil rights, et cetera, et cetera, discounting
the black church, because it was highly
political and highly religious in its expression. But the white, liberal
churches, as King said famously in his letter
from Birmingham jail, the white churches never
really explicitly connected their religious faith, their
beliefs to their actions. When they justified
their actions, they often used
language that made them sound like a good,
liberal politician. I mean, somebody who’s
committed to human rights and social justice. But we didn’t do as good a
job expressing themselves out of the nature of the
faith that [INAUDIBLE] and making the connection
to the people, saying, I do this because I’m the
follower of Jesus Christ, who taught me about what it means
to take care of the poor. Making explicit connections
of justice or whatever. And Canadians are
just like that. The liberal, progressive
churches in Canada [INAUDIBLE] often do a very good job
of explicitly connecting over the last four
decades or five decades their faith, which was
deep and deeply formed, to their social activities. [INAUDIBLE],, who was a graduate
of Emmanuel and a long time [? NPP ?] leader and parliament
member for the government, who used to be– he and Rob [INAUDIBLE]
and others who were actually ministers
in parliament. He was United Church
of Canada, there were several, and a
couple of Anglicans and a couple of Roman Catholics. And he and [INAUDIBLE] used to
travel all over the country. They were known
as the Gods Choir. It was actually a
term of endearment. And people liked what
they said, because they were social justice, policy
justice oriented people and worked hard for the whole of
Canada to bring social justice. The term then got
used the last couple of years for a different
parliamentarian who was [INAUDIBLE]. And it was the turn of
derision, and people were saying things so
negatively to this person who was a parliamentarian on the
right, who [INAUDIBLE] God [INAUDIBLE]. And [INAUDIBLE],, when
he wrote his book said, I often wondered, why
didn’t people dislike us? What were we doing wrong
that people didn’t get offended by the
fact that we brought our religious convictions
into the public sphere? And I think it was because
they were never actually making the connection for people
in every way that they spoke. They just talked about social
justice for all religions. They talked about the importance
of [? tending ?] to people who were [? impoverished. ?] They
talked about in every way, bringing everyone
into the circle, expanding the conversation. They didn’t bring God
into their [INAUDIBLE].. But the [INAUDIBLE] did, brought
it into every conversation. So I think part of it
is those most reflective and self critical about
the way [INAUDIBLE] operates in their lives
have found it most difficult to provide public
testimony to how it formed and shaped them into the
kinds of people they are and why they do
the things they do. And so the only kind
of religious expression that people see is those
on the right [INAUDIBLE].. Christianity today in
America is understood by most non-Christians as
being this Evangelical version, that’s what Christianity is. But in fact, it’s not
what Christianity is. But it’s the only
visible way they see Christianity in action. And I do wonder if from
the ’60s through the 2000s, if we on the
progressive side had been more willing to talk about
the nature of faith publicly and made connections explicitly,
would it be different? Would we have still as
great a voice today? When we have seeded the ground
with [? more damaging ?] voices, were we
also seeding the way public religion could be
a qualitative division of public life? And giving way to people who
only see religion as something that would increase conflict? It’s a good question. LAURIE ZOLOTH: I want
to thank you, Mark. [APPLAUSE] For your generosity
of spirit by letting us ask all these questions,
you can ask questions at our reception downstairs
in the common room. And thank you. MARK TOULOUSE:
Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

 

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