Originally Published in The County Weekly News, July 23rd edition.
In response to “Leaving religion out of Canada Day", in the July 9, 2009 Letters.
Freedom of religion should be just that, freedom to express and celebrate your religion. It’s one of the great things about being a part of the mosaic that makes CANADA, CANADA: freedom to be who you are and accepting others for who they are.
If someone wishes to hand out Buddha gift bags next year they can. Considering that the bookstore in Picton has a window display of Buddhist books, Buddha statues are available at other stores, and I haven't heard anyone complaining about it, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about any letters to the editor if you do.
You can even give out little Buddha Loves You rings, if you like. I’m always happy to hear that anyone loves me, and I love learning and hearing about other people’s faiths.
I’m Catholic, but I appreciate Buddhism, since, like Christianity, it is about love, acceptance and understanding. Finding happiness within. “Peace comes from within do not seek it without.” – Buddha. Or perhaps Jesus would be better here, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Or Buddha’s “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” And if your faith does bring you peace and joy, why not share it and encourage others to do the same?
So much can be learned by not just allowing but encouraging one another to speak, and listening to what is being said, instead of trying to silence anyone who doesn't tell us what we want to hear. When we recognize what is common and celebrate what is different. Isn’t that what CANADA is suppose to be all about?