Why athe­ists can re­spect the religious

Montreal Gazette - - EDITORIAL -

Grow­ing up in Que­bec af­ter the Quiet Revo­lu­tion, it was easy for me to bea mil­i­tant athe­ist. Let’s ban all re­li­gions and their churches! Now I ad­vo­cate for Que­bec er s—even athe­ists—to defy the Coali­tion Ave nir Québec’s pro­posed ban on cer­tain work­ers wear­ing religious sym­bols.

Why? I learned a mis­sion­ary, Jeanne Man ce, founded Mon­treal’ s first hos­pi­tal, Hô­tel-Di eu. I read that mil­i­tant Catholics helped start the CN TU work­ers’ union. Mus­lims wel­comed and fed me and their non-Mus­lim neigh­bours af­ter their mosque was at­tacked and their fel­low Mus­lims were mur­dered. Religious Jews showed me it is a mitzva h (com­mand­ment) to sup­port Pales­tinian hu­man rights in­side Is­rael. Bud­dhists taught me that when the go­ing gets tough, the tough ac­cept all peo­ple.

Imet nuns a nd priests who clan­des­tinely pro­vided health care to the poor in­side an

El Sal­vador mil­i­tary death squad zone. Sikhs pro­vide com­mu­nity ser­vices to a ll in their neigh­bour­hood. My b lind friend loves spend­ing time with their com­mu­nity on Sun­day sat the Pres­by­te­rian church.

This athe­ist believe sin the Bib le’s golden rule: “So in ev­ery­thing, do to oth­ers what you would have them do to you .” In Que­bec, it trans­lates into “so-so-so-sol­i­dar­ité!” Scott We­in­stein, Mon­treal

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