Michael Shoesmith had written a letter to the editor with the title of my blog as the headline - asking if atheists should be asked to leave Canada. Before you read the letter to the editor, let us answer the question based on how religion has asked in the past - No, True Christians(tm) wouldn't ask, they'd murder them(us).
I don't have much time to completely respond to his letter but I have highlighted a few of his words/phrases with links. The truth isn't what Michael wishes it were, you'll quickly see.
Here is the letter to the editor (yes, it really was published - see it here):
Sir: The United Nations has released their best and worst list of places to live. Norway has made the number one spot this time and Zimbabwe has hit rock bottom.
Here's the reality. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Norway is 90% Christian while Zimbabwe is 75% Syncretic. While you're all dusting off your dictionaries consider this question: Should atheists be asked to leave Canada? Well, according to our national anthem, the answer is yes. Since part of the anthem is an actual prayer to the transcendental creator of the universe, atheists aren't even a factor in our most important representative symbol.
In case you're wondering which God the anthem is referring to, keep in mind that the french version makes direct mention of the "cross."
It should come as no surprise then that countries which promote atheistic tenets have the highest rates of suicide (China, et al). Therefore, the less atheism that exists in a culture, the happier the people will be.
Perhaps the non-atheist country of Zimbabwe could learn something from Quebec which has included the cross in its symbolic expression of the national anthem. Because blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Mike Shoesmith SarniaTo sum it up - Norway is among the most secular nations in the world. China is hardly non-religious (it's one of the most religious) and Quebec is possibly the most secular province in Canada. I agree, maybe we could learn something from them.
If Norway is among the most secular nations in the world and it is the best place to live, then the premise of Michael's letter is completely backwards. Norway IS among the most secular nations in the world (Society Without God) and it IS the best place in the world to live (as Michael has stated) so asking atheists to leave would make Canada a worse place to live (following Michael's logic).
It turns out, too, that "our" national anthem was based on a version from 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir:
O Canada! Our home and native land.
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, glorious and free,
We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
The link (according to our national anthem) above states "The official English version now in use incorporates changes recommended in 1968 by a joint committee of MPs and senators that added the lines "from far and wide" and "God keep our land glorious and free!"" That's hardly in agreement with the idea that Mike is trying to put forward - the "god" part was added 60 years after the original was written and 101 years after we were (Canada was) given autonomy.
Arguing that mention of the "cross" in the French version implies that it is the Christian god makes little sense, too, when you consider that the cross symbol, itself, is of pagan origin. Come on Michael, is this the best you can do?