“Is Christmas Discriminatory? This is What the Canadian Human Rights Commission Thinks
As the season of Christmas approaches, it’s a time of celebration, joy, and meeting with family and friends. However, a recent publication by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) stirred up controversy, claiming that Christmas and Easter holidays perpetuate “settler colonialism” and are forms of religious intolerance.
Anti-Racism and Religious Intolerance in the Workplace
The CHRC’s paper titled “Discussion Paper on Religious Intolerance” criticizes the celebration of Christmas and Easter as discriminatory, stating that these are the only statutory holidays in Canada linked to religious holy days. The paper also asserts that non-Christians may require special accommodations to observe their holy days, as well as other times of the year when their religion requires them to abstain from work.
This has led to a larger debate on the recalibration of Canadian statutory holidays to accommodate the diverse cultural and religious fabric of the country. The assumption being that Canada’s long history of religious intolerance, being deeply rooted in its identity as a settler colonial state, has created a system that values certain traits and identities to the exclusion of others.
Religious Accommodations and Microaggressions
The controversy has also implicated the workplace, raising the issue of microaggressions such as scheduling team meetings on Jewish or Muslim holy days, implying the exclusion of non-Christian religious observations within the workplace.
There are inevitably different perspectives on this issue. While it’s important to acknowledge the historical context and potential impact of religious intolerance, perhaps it is also worth considering the positive aspects and traditions of different cultures and faiths that contribute to the tapestry of Canadian society. The challenge lies in striking a balance between acknowledging the historical context and fostering a diverse, inclusive society. As we reflect on the meaning of Christmas and the values it embodies, it’s equally important to consider the broader principles of inclusion and respect for differing beliefs as we navigate a modern, multicultural society.”