TORONTO, ON. Jan. 26, 2009 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today commented on reports that a Cornwall, Ontario branch of Canada Post has banned the use of the greeting “Merci, Seigneur, pour la belle journee (Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful day)” after a complaint from an employee about injecting religion into the workplace. (See article.)
Without commenting on particulars of the personnel situation that may be involved, banning a long-established local greeting because it contains a religious reference, and reprimanding someone for using it, is taking the control of employee conversation to an unacceptable level. Employers have the right to insist on some sensitivity to religious beliefs and non-beliefs, but this incident speaks much more to an anti-faith mentality than to protecting anyone’s sensibilities. It’s quite likely the Lord’s name is used in more colourful contexts in this and most other workplaces; equally likely that “thank God” and “God forbid” are often heard.
Most corporate and organizational human rights policies require non-discrimination in matters of religion, as well as race, colour, creed, gender and other prohibited grounds. An attempt to penalize the completely voluntary use of a greeting with a religious reference speaks more to a reflex action against believers than to sensitivity to their opposite numbers.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org