Meili lays out plan to engage faith groups
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This morning leadership candidate Ryan Meili released a policy statement calling for the Saskatchewan NDP to reach out to the full diversity of faith groups in search of common ground in the work of building a healthy society. The statement can be found on Meili’s campaign website, at www.ryanmei.li/faith_and_social_justice.
The key element of Meili’s proposal is to create a Faith and Social Justice Commission within the Saskatchewan NDP. Modeled on a similar initiative within the federal NDP, the Commission would proactively engage faith groups, seeking common ground with the egalitarian values of the NDP. This would lead to an intentional outreach strategy based on what the commission hears from people of faith.
The idea drew praise from several people who work at the intersection of progressive politics and faith, including former Premier Lorne Calvert.
"The proposal for a Faith and Social Justice Commission, as we rebuild toward the future, is a proposal I celebrate,” said Calvert.
“While the party is not and must not be shaped by religion, faith has inspired many of us to seek justice through political action,” Calvert added. “To provide an opportunity of dialogue for those who arrive from the intersection of faith and politics will serve the party and the province well."
“By engaging people in an open discussion about how their political lives intersect with their spiritual lives,” the policy document reads, “we can engage the whole person in a more complete conversation about what we want for our future, and how we might work together to get there.”
"I enthusiastically endorse and support the Faith and Social Justice Policy presented by Ryan Meili and the Meili Campaign,” said Dr. Mateen Raazi, a member of Multifaith Saskatoon and an activist for inter-religious dialogue and social justice. “While duly recognizing and respecting the diversity of religious opinion, this policy emphasizes the commonality of communal and social justice themes across various religious traditions. Adoption of such a policy further provides political common ground to the many whose social justice work is inspired by their religious traditions."
Former federal NDP candidate and provincial leadership candidate Nettie Wiebe agrees. "A healthy democracy is inclusive of diverse voices, including those who articulate their hopes and grapple with moral and social issues from a faith perspective,” Wiebe said. “Open, honest, inclusive and respectful discussion of faith and politics is a step in the right direction."
For comment, please contact Nicole White at (306) 361-5755.
It might be worthwhile considering how Edmonton addresses religious issues in how they govern their city. They embrace the different religions in the their community, giving each an opportunity on a rotating basis to give opening prayers at City Council meetings, and having religious displays at City Hall. While I believe government should be secular, I can understand that religion has a major influence on people’s lives, and this creates opportunities for increased dialogue and education about other beliefs.