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Carpe Diem

Non-Christian prison chaplains chopped by Ottawa

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/10/04/bc-non-christian-prison-chaplains-cancelled.html

The federal government is cancelling the contracts of all non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons, CBC News has learned.

Inmates of other faiths, such as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance, according to the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is also responsible for Canada’s penitentiaries.

Toews made headlines in September when he ordered the cancellation of a tender issued for a Wiccan priest for federal prisons in B.C.

Toews said he wasn't convinced part-time chaplains from other religions were an appropriate use of taxpayer money and that he would review the policy.

In an email to CBC News, Toews' office says that as a result of the review, the part-time non-Christian chaplains will be let go and the remaining full-time Christian chaplains in prisons will now provide interfaith services and counselling to all inmates.

"The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding. The minister has concluded … [Christian] chaplains employed by Corrections Canada must provide services to inmates of all faiths."

88% of inmates Christian

There are nearly 15,000 inmates in federal custody and a large majority of them identify themselves as Christian:

  • 58% are Catholic.

  • 30% are Protestant.

  • 7% are Muslim.

  • 3% are Buddhist.

  • 1% are Jewish.

  • 1% are Sikh.

Figures obtained by CBC News show that before the contract cancellations — which will take effect by the end of March 2013 — there were about 80 full-time chaplains across the country and all but one are Christian. There are about 100 part-time chaplains, 20 of them non-Christian.

The total cost of the chaplain program is about $6.4 million a year and it's not clear what amount will be saved by the cancellations.

Chaplains concerned

The decision has raised concern among representatives of non-Christian faiths, such as B.C. Sikh chaplain Hark rat Singh.

“I believe this is discrimination,” Singh said. "How can a Christian chaplain provide spirituality to the Sikh faith, because they don't have that expertise."

Rabbi Dina-Hasida Mercy called the cancellations “un-Canadian” and said she was concerned about the inmates she counsels.

“My first reaction is, ‘What am I going to tell the guys that I see,’” Mercy said. "These people are all going to be out on the street someday, and unless we do some work while they're in prison to help them become good citizens when they're on the outside, it's not going to happen."

Surrey Muslim Imam Aasim Rashid said he doubted that Christians could properly minister to Muslims.

“It’s not very practical and frankly I don’t even think it’s possible,” Rashid said. "I don't think it's been done yet anywhere where you have a person of one faith who is catering to the spiritual or religious needs of all the other faiths."

To be honest, my personal preferece is to fire all of them, but it seems rather distasteful to only fire the non-Christians right?

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The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding.
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One more reason to vote Trudeau...er I mean Liberal.

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all i got from this: 100% of canadian inmates are religious

+1 atheism

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If 88% of the inmates were Christian, I'm not sure why you can't just have a 12% non-Christian Chaplain workforce.

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Uh, I think you just did Vic.

If you want to make cuts to this service, make them accross the board. Not just to certain faiths.

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all i got from this: 100% of canadian inmates are religious

+1 atheism

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Haven't you heard? Atheism is a religion now?

Back on topic.

Why are the the "chaplains" taxpayer funded? Religion is a choice - yes - but not a right - and those in prison - why should they be given it as a right?

As far as Surrey Muslim Imam Aasim Rashid, so? There's nothing stopping you from going to the prisons to help those Muslims in prison.

Same applies for any faith - feel free to minister to inmates - on your raised dollar - prisons should be paying for it.

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Only for those unintelligent enough to not be able to distinguish between what an actual religion is and what isn't, as they are invariably the same people who ponder which shoe goes on which foot.

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Every time Toews, and for that metter most of his government, does something I ask my self "How did these people get elected".

Then I remember it was Canadians that put them there, and get depressed. :(

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OP needs to update stats

  • 37.5% are Catholic.

  • 19.5% are Protestant.

  • 4.5% are Muslim.

  • 4% First Nations spirituality

  • 2% are Buddhist.

  • less than 1% are Jewish.

less than 1% are Sikh.

<p>

Corrections and Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that 88% of federal inmates were associated with Christian faiths.

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Those that are blind can not see.

One of many:

http://creation.com/atheism-a-religion

Not that I like that site - it was just the first that popped up.

But I'll let you search for yourself - unless you do have blinders on - in which case - "Hows the Koolaid on that side of the fence"?

Even on CDC others have pointed out the similarities between some atheist and religious ideals.

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Uh, I think you just did Vic.

If you want to make cuts to this service, make them accross the board. Not just to certain faiths.

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Hm, seems like the one thing atheists and religious groups have in common is they both love telling each other how wrong they are. Why does this seem so familiar...

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Indeed.

Besides... you'd think that religions, being the bastions of unselfish aid that they are, would simply donate their time and efforts to help these lost souls find their way back to path of righteousness. WTF are my tax dollars going towards this for AT ALL?

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OP needs to update stats

  • 37.5% are Catholic.

  • 19.5% are Protestant.

  • 4.5% are Muslim.

  • 4% First Nations spirituality

  • 2% are Buddhist.

  • less than 1% are Jewish.

less than 1% are Sikh.

<p>

Corrections and Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that 88% of federal inmates were associated with Christian faiths.

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Does that mean 30.5 % have no faith? IE atheist?

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One reason why chaplains are paid is the government's requirements to become one:

- Ninety hours of graduate education is required, after a four year degree, including clinical education courses

- Ordination which is often a ten year process of careful evaluation of ones skills and character

- Ecclesiastical endorsement through a recognized religious group in Canada.

By the way, a graduate theological education costs about hundred thousand dollars; it is not subsidized by any taxpayers money.

Most Christian M.Div programs facilitate a spirit of ecumenicalism in their practice of pastoral care. So people of other faith groups will still be taken care of or some facilitation may take place.

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I agree with this decision, but they need to go one religion farther. The Federal gov't should not be hiring or paying for clergy, of any denomination.

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