Job and belief, which one is more important?

by Cheng Hu on September 8, 2013 - 12:58pm

Parti Québécois government introduced a proposed legislation which called "Charter of Quebec values" that interdicts social workers from wearing religious symbols in the workplace. This proposal has led to an intense debate in the province. It makes many people choose between their beliefs and jobs. Some say that religious symbols do not do any harm to the society and if this proposal becomes a law it may be hard for them to find workers in some specific area such as daycares. Moreover, some people say that they may leave Quebec because they do not want to give up their belief and identity for their jobs. Some others suggest that religious symbols is one of the way to publicize religious which should not happen in public service especially the field of education such as schools or daycares where the students should have the same environment of study and if someone what to integrate in the society they have to accept the laws of that society.


This proposed legislation of Parti Québécois government causes the value conflict between the supporters and opponents of this proposal. For the opponents, they consider the freedom of belief and individual freedom as their principal value. They suggest that is their rights to decide whether wearing religious symbols or not, but not the government. The proposal also interdicts their freedom of beliefs. However, for the supporters, they consider the fairness as their principle value therefore there is “no place for religious propaganda (PQ proposed 1)” in the public service which should give everybody the same feeling. Also, opponents consider the personal benefits as their ethical principles while the supporters consider the social benefits as theirs.


In my opinion, this proposal should not become a law. It is true that the religious symbols that the public workers wear may have an implicit religious influence on others; however, this influence is too little compares with religious speech or religious practices. For example, in the school, as long as the teachers do not give a religious speech of any specific religion, the religious symbols do not influence the students' point of view or values, because in the class, students focus more on what the teacher says whether what the teachers wears. Moreover, freedom of beliefs and individual freedom are the principal rights of the human being; no one should interdict anyone from using these rights. Some supporters say that people have to accept the laws if they want to be accepted in the society, however, a proposal that is not suitable to the society should not even become a law. Quebec is a province that contains multiple cultures and religions. Many people consider their religion as one of the most important part of their life. If this proposal really becomes a law, many people may have to choose between their beliefs and Quebec, and many people may leave. This may also cause a decrease in economy in Quebec because of the outflow of the labor force.


This proposal is asking a question to everybody in Quebec: Job and belief, which one is more important for you?







CBC News. “PQ proposed religious symbols ban draws storm of protest.” CBC News post 21 August 2013, last updated 22 August 2013: Web


Obviously this question divides the country in two groups: a group that prefers their job to showing their beliefs and an opposite group who prefers showing their beliefs to their job. An important point to raise here is that by controlling the appearance of religion in a social place, the government is not controlling anyone’s religion. People can still believe in their religion. They only have to understand that religion is something that is categorizing. People will differentiate each other by their beliefs and that is what the government is trying to avoid. One should be requested for a job not because of his beliefs but because of his abilities. I understand that some people may feel attacked by the government proposal and would like to show their beliefs but if they do so they will get more harm than benefit.

As is with most ethical issues, people are very divided between agreeing with putting religion aside when working in the public eye and being allowed to show ones beliefs by wearing religious symbols. I do not see the harm in religious symbols, most people do not wear certain things to push their religion on others, but rather because it is what they believe in. Personally, I am against the proposed legislation and feel as though people should have the right to dress as they please regardless of their religious beliefs. Quebec is supposed to be multicultural place, accepting of all people. You cannot claim to be accepting of all people only to then turn around and refuse people the right to wear religious symbols.

c) While trying to pass the Charter of Quebec values, I believe that the Parti Quebecois is clearly violating freedom and the right of an individual to practice religion. Quebec is a mostly atheist society since the Quiet Revolution, when the community separated politics and religion. However, I do not believe that this means that we should ignore the fact that religion plays a big part in the life of some people and for a lot of immigrants. The culture in this province is diverse and though not all of the population practices religion, I do not think that we should pretend it is not there at all. Displays of religious values, whether catholic or other, can only bring society to witness and respect the cultural diversity. I am not saying that the people who practice religion should encourage others to join their faith, I am simply stating that the government should tolerate a display of religious signs and the rest of the population will follow suit. Furthermore, I do not believe that the government should have the power to decide whether or not people are allowed to show signs of religion. As long as these people do not promote religion, it should not matter. Also, many people that work in the public function who, on a daily basis, display signs of religion, could be forced to make a choice between work and religion. For a majority of these people, especially if they were raised in a strict religious society, there will be a choice that will need to be made.

In your post, you clearly explain the issue and which values are not respected in this case. I completely agree with you, this law should not be passed. We are in a country and province where we are free to have our own beliefs and where we have always welcomed immigrants with different cultural background, but I believe the the "Charter of Quebec Values" does the complete opposite. The charter restricts anybody who has cultural beliefs to freely put them into practice by restricting the wear of religious symbols. Such a rule completely takes away the freedom of religion we have in Canada which is very important for some citizens and immigrants who deeply value religion and I think that it could also be seen as discriminatory, to a certain extent, toward people who take religion seriously and wear religious symbols. Should government be allowed to control things such as our religious beliefs?

Hi ilostangel,
The aspect of your post that caught my attention immediately was your choice of subject. The issue that you brought up is very popular in the news today and is causing much political uprise throughout Quebec. I also liked how you addressed both positions on this topic in depth.
In regards to this issue, I personally agree with your opinion on this matter. I also believe that the Quebec government should not establish this law as it goes against our basic human rights, such as freedom of expression and freedom of religion. Canada is known as a multicultural country, where it not only accepts but encourages the integration of different cultures, including self-expression. Considering Quebec is a province of Canada, it should occupy the same values and beliefs when it comes to a diversified society. By disallowing religious groups to perform their religious practices or their culture, we are not accepting diversity but discouraging it. The values and principles at hand are fairness, individual freedom, tolerance and the Golden Rule. The values and principles for the Quebec government are patriotism, tradition and beneficence. While the Quebec government is aiming to ban all religious items in the workplace, it to me to leads wonder to what extent will the government go to complete this assimilation of the people?