A McGill University professor said that Justin Trudeau's pronouncements supporting abortion while at the same time describing himself as “very religious, very Catholic,” are an example of a “doctrine of double truth” that leads to suppression of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.
Justin Trudeau’s views indicate “something can be fundamentally wrong according to sound religion, but fundamentally right according to sound politics,” said Douglas Farrow, Professor of Christian Thought and Kennedy Smith Chair of Catholic Studies, in a lecture delivered on October 29 as part of the CREOR Lecture Series on Religion, Secularity, Toleration at McGill's Birks Heritage Chapel.
Prof. Farrow opened his remarks by pointing out that one of the great differences between earlier civilizations and our post-modern world is that “the former emphasized a comprehensive truth without comprehensive tolerance,” whereas the latter emphasizes an all-encompassing tolerance “owing … to its lack of conviction in any all-encompassing truth.”
“All-encompassing tolerance,” Farrow explained, “means no tolerance of anyone with firm convictions that stands in the way of this so-called tolerance, which means especially anyone with firm convictions about moral truths, about good and evil, about right and wrong. No society can survive for long without shared moral convictions.”
“I grant Justin Trudeau this: that he does not seem to be proposing that truth be divided or multiplied in the public sphere such that contraries are affirmed and a vain attempt made to value all views equally,” Farrow said. “He knows, or thinks he knows, what is right and what qualifies as a right. He knows or thinks he knows that there is a moral as well as a legal right to kill one’s baby, a right it would be wrong for the state not to defend.”
“It leaves me thinking he is rather confused, but politicians like judges are often confused, and sometimes have reasons for choosing to remain confused just like the rest of us,” Farrow said. “We cannot leave the matter here, however, for this kind of confusion is inimical to human freedom or human flourishing.”
However, the professor stressed, “Either truth is indeed a house divided against itself, or the realm of religion, of deeply held personal views, is not really the realm of truth or rationality at all.”
Farrow rejected Trudeau's position that one can “with integrity hold privately what one denies publicly,” observing that this contradiction plays itself out in everything from healthcare professionals and hospitals having to perform or refer for practices to which they conscientiously object, to educators being compelled to “promote in their classrooms modes of life that they think are injurious or immoral.”
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Even people running ordinary businesses are being forced to “conduct those businesses in a manner uninformed by their beliefs and convictions,” he said. “It’s even demanded of clergy that they violate the faith they profess and teach.”
“Whether you say that all views must be valued equally except the view that all views should not be valued equally, or whether you simply bracket out religious or moral teaching whenever it contradicts your own view, the result is the same, truth is divided and conquered,” Farrow said.
“Falsehood prevails and not only falsehood but oppression.”
Noting that, “the Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau is far from being the only place where that is so,” Farrow stated that, “freedom of conscience is everywhere under attack, together with freedom of religion.”