Is Praying Publicly Going to be Illegal in Canada?

All of us know that our neighbors to the south, though deeply religious in nature, seem to be a bit bipolar in their spirituality. I received an e-mail this week about a statement read by Principal Jody McLeod at the Roane County High School football game in Kingston, Tennessee.

The most recent Supreme Court ruling prohibited her saying a prayer, stating that doing so was a violation of Federal Case Law. It had been the school’s custom to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and country.

She stated her understanding at the time was that she could “use the public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ and if someone was offended, that was okay.” Again, her understanding was that she could designate a school day “as ‘Earth Day,’ involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess ‘Mother Earth.’” If someone was offended, it was okay.

However, “if she used the facility to honor God and to ask Him to bless the event with safety and good sportsmanship,” then Federal Case Law would be violated. It was not okay if someone was offended.

To her credit she refrained from praying, and simply said, “If you feel inspired to honor, praise, and thank God, and ask Him to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law—yet.”

The article went on to say that one by one, people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with each other, and began to pray. This happened in the team huddles, at the concession stands, and even in the Announcer’s Box! The story was inspiring.

Hats off to a gutsy and intelligent lady! If I ever go to war, I want her on my side. I love people who carry the conviction of faith. We need more Christians standing up for their right to exercise their faith freely. I sincerely believe that government needs to watch carefully its assault on religious rights.

But, what does this have to do with Canada? Well, it so happens that religious persecution is hitting above the 49th parallel: praying before decisions in city hall has been adjudicated, singing Christian songs in a public venue has been challenged, etc.

Ralph Reed of Christian Coalition stated that “Americans are being denied the right to express their religious speech in the public square.” I see increasing signs of this same thinking in our beloved nation of Canada.

My understanding of freedom of religion in Canada is that it was never intended to be freedom from religion. However, this freedom must be valued and contended for.


Castanet Article
Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column