A National Defence Advisory Panel has recommended excluding certain Canadian Armed Forces chaplains for their religious beliefs. Sign up to support our chaplains.
The independent National Defence Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination recently produced a report recommending that, in effect, Catholic priests, certain imams, or Orthodox rabbis should no longer be considered suitable to serve as chaplains in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
The report, which you can read in full here, says that chaplains from “religions that forbid women to serve within their [clerical] ranks or are against equal rights for same-sex couples” should be banned from serving in the CAF.
This is not an exaggeration.
The Advisory Panel criticizes the “mainstream religions” of millions of Canadians by saying 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.”
Millions of Canadians hold a diverse array of religious beliefs, and it is not for this Advisory Panel to decide which Canadian religions can and cannot serve as CAF chaplains.
The chaplains of the CAF care for the spiritual and mental health needs of our soldiers, regardless of their religion, creed, or beliefs.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental right in Canada. It is unacceptable than CAF chaplains could be denied this fundamental right.
Therefore we, concerned Canadians and residents of Canada, call upon the government to:
- Affirm the right of freedom of religion for all Canadians, including CAF chaplains;
- Reject the recommendations for the CAF chaplaincy corps in the Advisory Panel report; and
- Work to ensure the CAF is a place where people are not discriminated against based on their religion, beliefs, creed, or any other reason.
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