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Should Faith Have a Place in the Public Square?

This month it's the 25th anniversary of the preamble to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why's that significant? Don Hutchinson, general legal counsel for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada says that the preamble to the Charter recognizes that "human rights find their source not only in the rule of law but in something—or Someone—more transcendent." In these past 25 years then, how have the government and the courts fared in maintaining the "unique balancing" required within Canadian society between a secular rule of the law and recognition of God?

Not only should faith be recognized in a secular society, but according to Michael Smith, associate professor of philosophy at St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario, religious people should be free to propose public policy alternatives based on the ethics of their faith. This is especially true if, as Hutchinson points out, 88 percent of Canadians claim religious affiliation.

Sociologist Reginald Bibby also points to statistics that say the commitment of Canadians to religion remains strong. According to an article about Bibby's work, there's hope yet for churches. Religious groups, he says, are the most popular type of organization that Canadians get involved with. His observations are in his new book, The Boomer Factor: What Canada's Most Famous Generation Is Leaving Behind.

But the Boomer generation is only one of a number of groups that must coexist within each congregation. Neil Earle, pastor and writer for Northern Light says, it's a challenge to have everyone happy in a church where four or five generations intermingle. "What's a church supposed to do?" he asks. Earle takes another look at the well-worn volume, The Generations Thesis, and says, "It still can serve as a 'think piece' for churches to understand at least some of the challenges facing them."

On a personal level, we present two good testimonies of faith in Christ this week.

In an interview with CNN, Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, shared his faith and expressed his conviction that Christ is compatible with science. Also, please check out the story of Jonathan Cheechoo, a prominent Canadian aboriginal player and right winger for the San Jose Sharks. He led his team in scoring goals, but recently he suffered a severe injury, and now it's "uncertain" whether he'll return to the ice for further playoff games. Cheechoo has been public about his Christian commitment. In this Canadian Christianity article he recounts the role faith has played in his career.

For additional articles and news stories, please scroll down. Have a good week!


Daina Doucet
Online Editor
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