Montreal Says Religion ‘No Longer Relevant’

There is a growing trend among Secularist leaders seeking to remove religious symbols from public view.

Last year Saint Anselmo Catholic school in San Diego decided to remove the Virgin Mary statue citing it might offend some students, but now the city of Montreal in Quebec will be removing a cross from a historic landmark because City Council members are ‘struggling’ to balance the Catholic past with the city’s secular ‘present day.”

In other words, some council members in Quebec’s largest city believe people who live there no longer care about, nor want to be reminded of, Christian symbols such as this crucifix that sits atop a City Council chamber dome, and these leaders hold they would prefer not to have reminders of the Son of God around to annoy city-goers who might be troubled by such things.

According to the story, the city leaders in Montreal have had continuing debates over the role of religion in the public square, including whether women should be allowed to wear hijabs in public. In the words city councilor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, who oversees the city’s democratic institutions, “the context in which it was placed (The crucifix) no longer applies. We need to reaffirm the secular character of the chamber.”

What does it mean to ‘reaffirm secular character’? What exactly is secular character? A belief in a godless society free of religious impulses? That having faith in a spiritual belief is no longer valid or important because 5% of the secular world believes the other 95% of humanity are wrong about religious faith?

What the Cross Means

For most of Western culture, the cross represents many things to many people. To some it represents forgiveness, to others, sacrifice and atonement, still to others more, it represents a bond between Jesus Christ and humanity. Why on earth would any normal individual assume such symbols are but mere passive relics of the past? Could such a person be more insensitive, and to coin a common Canadian phrase, exclusive?

Does courage apply to the secularist? Does love of brother and sister, of sacrifice for something better than ourselves still apply to our local civic leaders? Who among us can determine what relevance God has to any person? Who are these secular city leaders who propose to “protect us” from symbols that bring hope, salvation and humility to the very people who elect these soul-less and vacuous leaders?

The cross and the crucifix represents sacrifice, love, service to all. Even non-religious people recognize the symbolic importance of the cross, even if they don’t belief in it. To have these symbols merely tossed aside as archaic and outdated cultural rubbish is to insult the very people who so deeply love what these symbols represent.

Affirming secular character by removing the cross from a building only asserts secular denial of those values in society that make us better people, values that are predicated good moral conduct and strong ethical behavior. Who are these people to make such assertions, to declare the meaning of something they themselves find meaningless?

The Fad of Secularism

Long before Canada came into existence and long before Montreal became a city, people across the world and across time looked at the cross as a reminder of the best of human nature as well as God’s divine spirit, joined as it were, in unison. To say these things are “no longer relevant in the context of today’s society,” is to portray society devoid of real character and nobility, a useless entity with no discernible value beyond the temporal,  equal to that of a dead carcass rotting in the sun.

If a godless society ever truly reigns, then God help us all. 

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Jim Watkins is a media researcher, marketing consultant and host of Candidly Speaking

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