Summer jobs grant, women’s reproductive rights, and persecution – I don’t get it.

Re: the Canada summer jobs grant and abortion and religious freedom

So the government wants organizations who receive summer student funding to check a box saying they agree with women’s rights to access abortion. And religious organizations are calling it discriminatory, claiming persecution, and talking about religious freedom.

Umm… Am I missing something here?

  1.  Isn’t the government allowed, and expected, to attach terms and conditions to their funding? So, if we don’t like their terms and conditions, then we don’t take their money.  Seems simple.
  2.  But what if organizations need the money?  I have a better question… Since when do we expect the government to help fund religious groups and activities?   If all those day camp workers and camp counselors are so important to us, then surely we can fund them ourselves, right? And not rely on the government? (Any religious libertarians in the house here?!?! I’m not a libertarian, but seriously… God might have put you on Earth for this very moment!)  I’m a firm believer that if it’s important to us, we should back up our convictions with our wallets.
  3. I’m confused about the religious freedom argument. Nobody is telling us, or these organizations, what to think or believe about women’s reproductive rights. Or even how to act. People are still free to believe and do what they want, pro-life, anti-life, pro-choice, anti-choice, or whatever labels we use. It’s just that some of us might not get government funding. Which is far cry from actual persecution. We’re not losing our jobs, our homes, our churches, our charitable statuses, and I’m quite sure we’re not facing any physical threats.  When did not receiving government money to pay teenagers minimum wage became a form of persecution?
  4. Will this lead to the actual persecution of religious folk? Or governments telling us what to believe? Please google “slippery slope fallacy.”  And, for the record, when the government starts telling people what they can and can’t believe or do (such as removing niqabs when riding the bus, as opposed to simply attaching terms to summer student funding), then I’ll join the religious freedom cacophony too.

A story that’s similar – A few years ago, our denominational magazine got a slap on the wrist by CRA for being too political because our editor was criticizing the Conservative government for something or another.  The crux of the matter was that the charitable status of the magazine was at stake. There was a minor uproar among some folk about freedom of the press and religious freedom, but others of us simply said “This isn’t a big deal.  If we don’t like their terms, we shouldn’t take their money (or, in this case, charitable status). Then we can be as political as we want.”  Is this not similar to the current summer jobs kerfuffle?

I just don’t really get it.

– Kyle

PS – I used inclusive language throughout my post (specifically “we”) because I work for a religious organization that has a charitable status with the government, and we follow their terms and conditions.  Please don’t lump me in with any “side”.  My ethic of life doesn’t fit anywhere on the political spectrum.

PPS – Also, I intentionally bypassed talking directly about women’s reproductive rights. I think that’s the flash point in this argument, but I’m trying to ask questions on a different level than “Is abortion okay/not okay?”  However, I think it’s safe to say that both “sides” of the argument are okay with trying to lower the number of abortions in Canada, so I’d recommend that the least we do is all advocate for free birth control, as less unwanted pregnancies will probably make everyone happy.  Plus, it’s a lot more effective than road signs.

PPPS – I’m going to leave the comments open until they become a gong show.  Thanks for doing your part in helping them not become a gong show.


2 thoughts on “Summer jobs grant, women’s reproductive rights, and persecution – I don’t get it.

  1. You put my thoughts into words very well. I sometimes wonder if we would be better off without government aid on all fronts, such as tax deductible receipts. Why can’t we just open our hearts and our wallets to support the agenda that we, as people of faith, support? I have lived abroad where the church is not supported in this way by the government and it doesn’t seem to bother them. They would think it strange that one gives to Kingdom ministries with the knowledge you get half of it back from the government. I really wonder why we think the government should pay for our Christian Camp counselors?

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