Date Posted: May 13, 2011
Print Edition: May 13, 2011
Linus Van Pelt once said that there are three things you should never discuss: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. While this editorial may be The Cascade’s only mention of that benevolent, yet frustratingly absent Halloween spirit, there are five articles about two of these contentious topics in this week’s issue.
One might wonder why we would ignore the advice of this beloved and erudite seven-year-old cartoon character and choose to publish so much content on the touchy subject of one’s worldview. Are we trying to attract controversy or simply fishing for hate mail? Fiery reactions seem to inevitably accompany any mention of Jesus, Richard Dawkins, or Gilles Duceppe in print or in person. Yet what these reactions tell us is that religion and politics are two of the topics most worth discussing.
People rightfully feel passionate about these matters of outlook, whether religious, political, or otherwise, because they are of tremendous social and personal significance. There is a commonly-held and well-established belief that these conversations can quickly degenerate into blistering tirades from all sides and result in arguments that threaten our most cherished relationships. Yet basic assumptions about the nature of our existence and purpose inform the little decisions we make every day and shape our lives’ narratives in powerful and profound ways, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, which is why it’s so regrettable that meaningful and respectful discussion has been lost to social taboo. As Canadians, we often sacrifice conviction for politeness, yet the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.
It is my sincere hope that in our own little way, The Cascade can help promote clear-minded discussion and greater understanding between those of all political and religious perspectives through articles like the ones included in this edition. Universities are a place where these sorts of robust debates are supposed to take place. Let’s do our part to build a culture where we are free to discuss the things that are most important to us while maintaining the civility and open-mindedness that Canadians have come to be known for.