A CPJ take on pluralism

Harry's picture

Pluralism is the public recognition that different people (and peoples) have different beliefs and have the legal right to live in different ways.

The dominant Canadian approach to religion in public life is one shaped by philosophic liberalism. At heart, this liberalism assumes that people can be defined by their individuality and freedom, that is, that people are first of all free rational individuals. Consequently, culture, religion, race and language are merely secondary and private qualities. They are irrelevant to the way we interact in the public square. The basic building block of society, liberalism argues, is the individual person, stripped of cultural, linguistic and religious differences.

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) was founded by justice-oriented Christians in the early 1960s. An explicit founding principle of CPJ was the rejection of liberalism and a corresponding insistence that faith perspectives on public life and public policy should be able to be part of the public discourse. During succeeding years, we have often made this argument in coalition -- alongside of people and organizations of other faiths, in particular Muslims and Jews.

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Harry Kits is a former Executive Director of Citizens for Public Justice.

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