Ray Pennings  |  July 9, 2014  |  Culture, Politics, Religion

“All the world is strange,” said the Quaker to his wife, “except for me and thee. But even thee I wonder about.” These days I am feeling a lot like the Quaker’s wife. Western democracy is the offspring of a marriage of ideas between Christian social thought and the enlightenment. In different contexts, the particular features of democracy remind us more of one intellectual parent … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  July 4, 2014  |  Culture, Loves, Religion, War & Peace

Whether you celebrated Canada Day earlier in the week or are celebrating Independence Day today, this is usually the time of year when the flags are unfurled, the fireworks lit, and national narratives reinforced. If, like me, you’re from Canada, you likely heard stories affirming our peacefulness, our tolerance, our multiculturalism, and our general goodwill at home and abroad. If you’re from America, then you … MORE »

Stanley Carlson-Thies  |  July 1, 2014  |  Arts, Business, Justice, Law, Religion

The US Supreme Court yesterday vindicated two Christian-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, that have a pro-life objection to including in their employee health plans certain contraceptive drugs and devices. In a 5-4 decision, the Court said that the government did not meet the test set up by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 law passed with overwhelming support in Congress and … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  June 26, 2014  |  Complexity, Culture, Media, Politics

The indefatigable Ezra Levant has again dug up another under-reported story for Canadians, this time out of Nanaimo City Council, no less. Alas, while the Sun TV host is irrepressible at scouring the nation for nuggets ignored by the mainstream media, he was again on the wrong side of history this week. Ezra publicly found fault with the decision of Nanaimo’s democratically elected councilors to … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 25, 2014  |  Politics

Since the Ontario election, pundits have been trying to divine what broad shift the results showed. Tasha Kheiriddin saw warning lessons for Stephen Harper. Andrew Coyne declared it was a referendum on fiscal conservatism in which fiscal conservatism lost. John Moore found evidence that the Big Shift thesis of a few years back—which argued Canadians were becoming more conservative and setting the stage for the … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  June 20, 2014  |  Culture, Environment, Nature

Why shirk off millennia of cultural progress to run around in the woods and sleep in something that separates us from a prowling black bear by only the thinnest layer of nylon? It’s ridiculous.  Perhaps it’s out of some basic primal urge to reconnect with the wild and some lost hunter-gatherer past. But last summer, as I sat under our plastic tarp, finished one of … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 19, 2014  |  Education, Institutions, Justice, Law, Religion

If our freedom of religion and our freedom to associate mean anything all, surely they allow those who disagree to coexist, without coercing each other. Surely it is possible, within a liberal democracy, that we can, without bloodshed, lay bare some deep rifts between value systems. But we’re only fooling ourselves—playing with house money—if we don’t constantly scrutinize and re-evaluate the “why” questions beneath our … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  June 16, 2014  |  Books, Culture, Death, Literature

In a recent piece at The American Scene, Matt Feenan was one among many trying to make sense of another senseless shooting that left another community reeling in its wake. Canadians haven’t been immune from this either, as the recent tragedy in Moncton so sadly attests.  Feenan’s point was that the rise of these Nietzschean supermen (ubermenschen) are using social media—and, well, guns—to extend their … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 13, 2014  |  Leadership, Politics

As an Alberta resident, I could watch yesterday’s Ontario election with a certain degree of distance. But as a Canadian, I watched it with concern, knowing that what happens in Canada’s largest province impacts the whole country. Yes, Ontario is just one of ten provinces, and its politics aren’t Canada’s politics. Still, Ontario is home to many of the nation’s economic, cultural, and media influencers, … MORE »

Don Hutchinson  |  June 12, 2014  |  Justice, Law

Most Canadians know little about prostitution, but still feel strongly about it. Few see prostitution as a healthy thing for Canadian women, children, men, or communities. Even those who do, generally don’t want the women (and it’s overwhelmingly women) walking their street. And as Canada’s laws on prostitution were challenged in the courts, more Canadians became aware that upward of 90 percent of those marketed … MORE »