Canadian Government Panel Advocates Religious Test for Military Chaplains

May 13, 2022

In an article published today in Providence titled, “Canadian Government Panel Advocates Religious Test for Military Chaplains” Paul Marshall critically examines the final report of Canada’s National Defence Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination. Marshall, who directs RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, observes:

Part III section 6 of this report addresses ‘Re-Defining Chaplaincy,’ and it reveals both secularist bigotry and the current Canadian government’s continuing campaign to use state funds to support the current government’s ‘values,’ even though those purported values have no legal grounding.

Distilling the key issues at play, Marshall writes:

The Panel notes that ‘for some Canadians, religion can be a source of suffering and generational trauma. This is especially true for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited members of Canadian society. And Indigenous Peoples have suffered unimaginable generational trauma and genocide at the hands of Christian religious leaders.’ It further asserts that ‘some chaplains represent or are affiliated with organized religions whose beliefs are not synonymous with those of a diverse and inclusive workplace.’

It adds that ‘there are varying degrees of misogyny, sexism and discrimination woven into the philosophies and beliefs of some mainstream religions currently represented in the cadre of chaplains in the CAF’ and speaks of ‘genocide at the hands of Christian religious leaders.’ It gives as examples ‘some churches’ exclusion of women from their priesthoods’ as well as ‘sexist notions embedded in their religious dogmas.’ It also condemns those faiths that seek ‘conversion’ of others.

As a consequence of this perceived perfidy, the Panel recommends that the military consider not hiring ‘chaplaincy applicants affiliated with religious groups whose values are not aligned with those of the Defence Team.’

Marshall then turns to addressing why the Panel’s proposed religious test for chaplains is so detrimental:

This recommendation that the government should engage in systematic religious discrimination in selecting chaplains reflects three things. First, it neglects the official role of chaplains, which would damage the military. Second, the government is increasingly demanding that Canadians conform their views to the government’s preferences, its ‘values.’ Third, with an almost total lack of self-awareness, the Panel is propagating the very discrimination that it claims to oppose.

Read the full article: Canadian Government Panel Advocates Religious Test for Military Chaplains.