Unitarian Church of Montreal’s Official Statement Opposing Quebec’s Secularism Bill 21

The Unitarian Church of Montreal bitterly regrets the introduction of Bill 21 by the government of Quebec, and asks the government to withdraw the law immediately. In explaining the bill, Premier François Legault attempted to justify the measure by saying that it “protects the values of Quebec.” We refuse to accept that these values include the trampling of individual rights. 

Teachers who choose to wear a hijab, police officers who choose to wear a turban, judges or lawyers who choose to wear a kippa are not harming their bare-headed counterparts, nor do they pose any kind of threat to the true values of Quebec society. 

We salute the English Montreal School Board and the Lester B. Pearson School Board, Fédération des Femmes du Québec, Confédération des syndicats nationaux, and many others, for their decision to abide by the principles clearly set out in the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, rather than the fears embodied in Bill 21. We thank Mayor Valérie Plante for expressing her clear opposition to the proposed law.

Bill 21 stands in direct contradiction to two of the essential principles that guide Unitarian Universalist belief: justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and the inherent worth and dignity of every person. There is neither justice nor compassion in a law that targets the dignity of others. 

In placing the supposed needs of the majority above the legal rights of minorities, the government of Quebec is sliding down a dangerous path. We cannot accept that a society which prides itself on individual freedom should curtail the religious freedom of citizens who do not belong to the majority community. As Unitarian Universalists, we hereby declare that we will stand in solidarity with our neighbours, friends and siblings in the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh and other faiths if they refuse to accept the imposition of an unjust law.

Signed by the Board of Management
Unitarian Church of Montreal
March 31st, 2019