Premier calls on British Columbians to "reflect and renew faith"

I don’t want to get too political (and especially not partisan) on this blog, but I would be remiss if I didn’t post this story from a couple weeks ago.

[Premier Christy] Clark noted that the weekend marks Easter observances in the Christian faith, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

“It is a time for renewal and beginnings in the Christian calendar, and marks the crucifixion on Good Friday, and the resurrection on Easter Sunday,” said Clark.

“Spending time with family and friends is traditional at this time of year, and provides an opportunity to reflect on, and renew faith,” she added.

“It’s important to pass on to our children the traditions of our particular families at this time of year, and pass on the rituals of the past.”

In a province where nearly two-in-five of British Columbians expressed scepticism at the notion of a supernatural creator (let alone Clark’s specific saviour), it is simply divisive for our premier to single out her chosen deity to use her position to proselytize for. Furthermore, I think that we ought to be especially careful of which traditions and rituals we pass on. While I would argue that some are valuable, all should be critically examined and the dangerous or absurd ones (like resurrection) should be tossed aside.

Of course this isn’t the first time Clark has played the religion card. Anyone who sat through her swearing in had to deal with a dose of religiosity. The video is available here and I transcribed the relevant sections below.

Starting at 7 minutes we see the invocation, given by a reverend of a Vancouver church. I couldn’t find a transcription online, so this is mine:

From time immemorial, spiritual traditions have been part of this land we call British Columbia. The First Peoples in their ceremonies acknowledged the great spirit and the great creator.

Christians, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, were amongst first European settlers here and today in this region of cultural diversity live peacefully side-by-side Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, and many others from spiritual traditions. We have all found a home here in this place of peace and freedom. All religions share the hope that the Earth will be respected and that people will live together in peace and justice. The hope within spiritual traditions imagines a world where families of many varieties can create a culture of harmony and compassion.

So today we take a moment of silence as we ask the Great Spirit, the Creator, the one true and living God, known by many names, to bless the work of this new government.

I’m going to invite us to take a moment of silence, first as we remember the people of Japan, remember all who’s lives have been lost, and for the rebuilding of that country, and that I will offer a prayer from the Christian tradition, attributed to some Francis of Assisi. [moment of silence]

(then this prayer before end of invocation)

The key thing to note about invocations like this is that they are increasingly pluralistic, but nevertheless refuse to recognize the non-religious and atheists among the population. It’s as though they’ve realized the need to circle the faithful wagons to forever keep us on the outside. This is why Obama’s references to the non-religious were a big deal.

The official swearing in followed, and was largely secular, albeit with the necessary references to the monarchy.

Regardless of your specific politics, we deserve politicians who will represent all British Columbians and not take opportune moments to pander to privileged faith traditions.

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