Good news, fellow taxpayers. Instead of having to wait a few days into the week for the latest news of government wasting our money, we can happily end the suspense quickly, with an announcement expected tomorrow.
(For those who actually enjoy the anticipation of the Guess What Ridiculous Abuse of Tax Dollars is Being Perpetrated on Us This Time game, well, we promise you will get to play. Probably within the next few days.)
The feds are about to unveil their Office of Religious Freedom, complete with our very own religious freedom ambassador (not to be confused with the equally influential Miss Universe Canada Ambassador, who gets a much nicer sash).
And it’s only gonna cost Canadians $5 million annually over each of the next four years.
So what do we get for our $20 million? Well, the usual couple of bucks of value (rounded up, by the way, since we don`t count pennies anymore). The office is intended to address a pressing need in our country that has for too long been neglected: pacifying the religious right, in return for votes.
Now, since you can’t actually say that on a government website, the government hints instead that the office will monitor religious persecution around the world. (Because that same Internet, and social media, can’t possibly help us do that for ourselves, presumably.)
The office is also expected to favour policies and programs that support religious freedom globally. Guess that means more money for groups like Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., a viciously anti-gay Ontario-based evangelical group that recently pocketed $544,813 from the feds to help with its work in Uganda – a country whose government proposed the death penalty for homosexuals.
Obviously, “religious freedom” and “hate speech” in this case is simply one of those to-maaa-to, to-mah-to debates.
Just as offensive is the office’s intent to promote religious freedom as a key objective of our country’s foreign policy. Other countries asking for our help face the prospect of an application form asking: “What God do you embrace? a) Ours b) Some other disciple of Satan.” Circle the wrong answer and you get put into the We’ll Get to This When Hell Freezes Over file, joining such reports as the ones on senate reform and balancing the budget.
So much for the sacredness of the separation of church and state. Though our constitution unfortunately says no such thing (the Americans have it in writing in theirs), it is an implicit part of the contract of democracy in western countries. And at least our Charter of Rights guarantees freedom of religion, which also has been taken by our courts to mean freedom from religion.
The feds are violating that principle by giving the worship of a deity (and, reading between the lines here, only a Christian one, at that) influence over government decisions. The pious should instead be left to do their thing, on their own nickel.
God knows, Ottawa has many other ways to pour our money down the drain.