Party of Citizens asked
>....how would Extropians define Canada's God?
I don't know.
I can report that the British Act of Parliament that promulgated Australia's
Constitution a bit over 100 years ago refers to God. There was a lot of
debate at the time about whether this should go in. One outcome was that it
did but, as a compromise, the Constitution itself forbids the state from
establishing any religion. So we have some constitutional protection of
freedom of religion here, though it has not been interpreted with anything
like the zeal and rigour of the equivalent in the US. Moreover, the
restriction only applies at federal level. The states of the Commonwealth -
the state at state level, if you like - can do pretty much anything they
There's something about religious freedom in the Canadian Charter of Rights,
too, as I recall (I'm to lazy to look this up, I'm afraid).
A couple of years ago there was an attempt to change our constitution (which
can only be done by a referendum with a majority result not only overall but
in a majority of states) to insert a new preamble. There were many aspects
of the preamble that were controversial, but one which caused a lot of us
atheists to vote against it was a reference to God. The referendum failed,
thank Ghod. :-)
In any event, I think most constitutional lawyers would say that these
references to God in preambles, recitals, etc to the Constitutions of
liberal democracies are just pious words, meant to give a sense of
solemnity, with no legal force. Although I count as a constitutional lawyer,
I haven't really researched this issue. I wonder whether Greg Burch might
have a view.
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