QUEBEC, June 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Quebec’s “Christian March” (“La Marche chrétienne”) on June 4th drew a crowd of around 1,000 in defence of the province’s Christian heritage against the radical secularism being imposed by the state.

The marchers, led by a huge wooden cross with the words “On marche avec Jesus” (“We walk with Jesus”), left the Plains of Abraham during a beautiful mid-afternoon and walked to the Quebec Parliament.

Participants of all ages were joined by Catholic and Protestant clergy, as well as news representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Quebec and local newspapers.

“The message is to tell people: don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of showing and speaking from your beliefs and making your beliefs actually mean something in everyday life,” Georges Buscemi of Campagne Quebec-Vie told LifeSiteNews.

Buscemi has spent the last eight months organizing the event, along with seven other individuals and groups, including the Catholic Parents Association of Quebec, the Association of the Coptic Orthodox Community of Greater Montreal, and the Church of the Victory of Quebec.

The purpose of the event was to demonstrate that Christians are entitled to occupy public space, to affirm the Christian values and virtues on which Quebec’s identity was founded, and to pray and demonstrate for solidarity among the Christians of Quebec. 

A Christian manifesto by organizers stated their commitment to reaffirming the Christian heritage that was the foundation of Quebec.  “We, Quebec Christians, wish to reaffirm that we are still here, that the Quebec public square is also our own. We believe that a true debate of ideas cannot occur unless we respect the right of others to express their opinions without fear of being ostracized politically and in the press.”

Buscemi explained that they walked “to fight the radical secularism” filling Quebec society, whether in the form of government-subsidized religion-free daycares, the controversial mandatory ethics and religious education classes, or the forbidding of the recitation of prayer before meetings of council, as in the city of Saguenay.

“The government has been seeking to banish all religious identity from the public square,” said Buscemi. “They have a distorted view of what public space is or they have a distorted the view of what reality is. We want to put out the message that Christians don’t have to be schizophrenic and be Christians in private, but be practical atheists in the public. They can keep their identity the whole 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.”

Another organizer, Rev. Real Gaudreault, an Evangelical pastor, said that atheism, neutrality and extreme secularism have became the dominant elements in Quebec institutions.  In marching, the Christian groups expressed their opposition to these elements.

“[The march] is a symbolic way of conveying, by actually going out right in front of Parliament as Christians,” added Buscemi. “The Parliament is the most secular symbol and that’s what embodies the state in Quebec. We want to show that you can be Christians here as well. So it is a symbol that you should be Christians throughout your life … not just the time you go to church.”

Organizers plan to make the march an annual event, held the first weekend in June each year.