Faith Column: Orange leaves means a new start
Faith wont fall this Autumn with the Reflector’s new faith columnist
September: A fresh start.
Now I know that the fall season is no January 1st, but I think it feels like a new beginning whether you are in school or not. The leaves are changing and everyone believes that they can too! Fitness classes are more than half-full and there are wild dreams about actually doing all of the assigned readings for class. This new year can also be a fresh start in faith.
Countless people I know have gained, lost, or switched faith views in their post-secondary years. It seems I am even taking over this column from someone with a very similar religious upbringing, but whose time in university drove him away from his faith instead of farther into it. Life and all of its challenges has a tendency to do that to people.
I can guarantee that you, whoever you are reading this, will encounter faith discussions in the next eight months. There is never a lack of conflict or uproar where faith is concerned. Over the past couple of weeks Quebec has faced debate over a new charter that prevents the wearing of religious garb for employees in the public sector. This means that your nurses and teachers can’t wear turbans, niqabs, kippas, hijabs or highly visible crucifixes.
Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t garments such as hijabs worn for the sake of modesty? Forcing Muslim women not to wear them to work would be like trying to send me to school in a mini-skirt and a tube top. Besides the obvious offense this would bring, I can’t seem to understand why it matters if I know my nurse is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic or whatever he or she may be.
Earlier this year there was debate on Kirpans (Sikh ceremonial daggers) being allowed into parliament. This makes a bit more sense, since those who don’t know much about Sikhism could view them as weapons, but the government managed to let that one slide – so why all the fuss about headdress? For a country that prides itself on being such a multicultural mosaic, it seems that we are melting our beautiful mosaic into one pot with forced assimilation. Fortunately, no one believes this charter will make it to full fruition, but the mere insinuation remains frustrating.
These sorts of issues have no doubt snuck into your rearview mirrors from time to time, or maybe they are the issues that you face head on every day. That’s why I think they are important and need to be recognized. Faith is not all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. However, my dream is that these stories would not be discouraging, but would be an open door.
I hope that by learning more, you can understand others better and even understand yourself better. Maybe by asking really great questions of people and actually listening to the answers, you can discover a new aspect to faith you never thought of before. I hope this fresh start and these next eight months are a learning opportunity for more than just your field of study.