A shocking new report from Canada’s National Defence Minister’s Advisory Panel describes religion as a “source of suffering and generational trauma” and directs officials not to allow military chaplains from religions that do not accept the Canadian government’s principles of diversity and inclusion.
The Defence Team “cannot justify” hiring members of religions that it deems “marginalize certain people or categorically refuse them a position of leadership,” according to the report issued April 25 from Canada’s Minister of National Defence Anita Anand.
“The Advisory Panel has observed that there are varying degrees of misogyny, sexism and discrimination woven into the philosophies and beliefs of some mainstream religions currently represented in the cadre of chaplains” in the Canadian Armed Forces, the report continued, noting that “the Defence Team cannot consider itself supportive of inclusivity when it employs as chaplains members of organizations whose values are not consistent with National Defence’s ethics and values—even if those members express non-adherence to the policies of their chosen religion.”
Assembled in December 2020, that advisory panel was created “to seek out the policies, processes and practices that enable systemic racism and discrimination in the Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF),” the Canadian government said in a news release, noting that its work has focused on “Anti-Indigenous and Anti-Black Racism, LGBTQ2+ Prejudice, Gender Bias, White Supremacy, Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and discrimination against people with disabilities.”
It comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered that the minister of National Defence eliminate all sources of “anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, LGBTQ2 prejudice, gender bias and white supremacy in the Canadian Armed Forces,” according to the news release.
Ray Pennings, co-founder and executive vice president of the Canadian think tank Cardus, told The Daily Wire on Thursday that while “the desire to change the culture of the Canadian Armed Forces is good,” the “antidote cannot possibly be the bigotry.”
“Yet that’s exactly what the panel’s recommendation on chaplaincy is—a recommendation based on ad hominem attacks and caricatures of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, as well as Muslims and Jews,” he said.
“The report proposes exclusion in the name of diversity and inclusion,” he said, warning, “The defence minister needs to reject the recommendation on chaplaincy publicly and firmly.”
Neither the minister nor the National Defence department immediately responded to requests for comment from The Daily Wire.
While the report acknowledges that religion can be “a source of solace, optimism and compassion” for many members of the defence team, it stresses that “for some Canadians, religion can be a source of suffering and generational trauma.”
“This is especially true for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited members of Canadian society,” the report says. “And Indigenous Peoples have suffered unimaginable generational trauma and genocide at the hands of Christian religious leaders through initiatives such as Residential School and Indian Day School programs.”
The National Defence minister’s report finds fault with religions that are not aligned with the Canadian government’s idea of diversity, noting that “some chaplains represent or are affiliated with organized religions whose beliefs are not synonymous with those of a diverse and inclusive workplace” and “some of the affiliated religions of these chaplains do not subscribe to an open attitude and the promotion of diversity.”
“For example,” the report said, apparently referring to institutions like the Catholic Church, “some churches’ exclusion of women from their priesthoods violates principles of equality and social justice, as do sexist notions embedded in their religious dogmas.”
“In addition, certain faiths have strict tenets requiring conversion of those they deem to be ‘pagan,’ or who belong to polytheistic religions,” the report continued. “These faiths’ dogmas and practices conflict with the commitment of the Defence Team to value equality and inclusivity at every level of the workplace.”
The Minister’s Advisory Panel was created in Dec 2020 with a clear mandate to seek out the policies and practices that enable systemic racism and discrimination in the DND and CAF. Today, MND Anita Anand released the final report and discussed next steps: https://t.co/5AxOXZfF6P pic.twitter.com/17SMh1sL7a
— Canadian Armed Forces (@CanadianForces) April 25, 2022
If a religion prohibited a black person from serving “within its ranks,” the report said, its members would be banned from the Chaplaincy.
“The same scrutiny should be applied to those religions that forbid women to serve within their ranks or are against equal rights for same-sex couples,” it continued.
The report recommends that any person whose values are “not aligned with those of the Defence Team” not be considered for employment as spiritual guides — otherwise, the report concludes, “the Defence Team’s message … is inconsistent.”
It also recommends that elected chaplains be representative of many faiths, “including forms of spirituality beyond the Abrahamic faiths,” meaning Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
“Review the selection process for chaplains to ensure that, in addition to listening skills, empathy and emotional intelligence, there is an intrinsic appreciation for diversity and a willingness to challenge one’s beliefs,” the report encourages.
“Find ways to grant educational equivalencies, for example to knowledge keepers, rather than strictly adhering to the prerequisite that all chaplains must have a master’s degree,” it adds.
In a statement accompanying the report, Minister of National Defence Anand praises the military for never faltering and “always answering the call of service during climate-related disasters, throughout the pandemic, and on military deployments far from home.”
“It is our most basic responsibility and top priority to ensure they can serve and work with pride in an environment that is free from racism and discrimination,” she said. “I sincerely thank the Panel for their extensive work and recommendations for change to eliminate systemic racism and discrimination on the Defence Team.”
Four former members of the CAF comprised the panel: retired Major General Ed Fitch, retired Sergeant Derek Montour, retired Major Sandra Perron, and retired Captain Door L. Gibson.
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