Candidates for Mayor of Toronto All Make Appeals to God May 11, 2010

Candidates for Mayor of Toronto All Make Appeals to God

Who knew Toronto, Ontario was located in the Bible Belt?

The four candidates running for mayor are all paying homage to a god and promising church groups a larger role in the government:

Four of Toronto’s mayoral candidates have vowed to give faith-based groups a bigger role in city affairs, with Rocco Rossi proclaiming: “God hasn’t left city hall — city hall has left God.”

At a Monday morning debate hosted by the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, Rossi, George Smitherman, Joe Pantalone and Rob Ford all said city hall should be more open to advice from, and partnerships with, religion-based groups.

Smitherman said as mayor he would bring together the faith groups, arrive at common goals for social justice and social development, and have them work with the city to help the homeless, the addicted and others on society’s fringe.

Toronto should be a city sophisticated enough to acknowledge religious and cultural events as important in the broader community, “where we don’t have to call a Christmas tree a holiday tree,” he said.

And so much for a yearly National Day of Prayer… What about an official Day of Christianity or Week of Faith?

Rossi and Smitherman both endorsed the idea of a special day or week. Pantalone called it an “excellent idea,” but added: “the devil is in the details” as to which faiths would get prominence. Ford said he is open to a proposal but, with so many faiths, “I just don’t know how we could fit it all under one roof.”

Good luck with those elections… elect one of them and Jesus will be your second-in-command.

Is there a no-confidence vote on that ballot?

***Update***: At least one of the candidates has the good sense to take back his ridiculous remarks:

Hours after declaring that “God hasn’t left City Hall. City Hall has left God,” mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi issued a statement saying that he is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state.

The initial remarks were made this morning at a mayoral debate held by the Toronto Area Interfaith Council at the Metropolitan United Church. In a statement, Mr. Rossi said “it was my way of summing up the frustration that many groups, including faith-based groups, have accessing services and politicians at City Hall.”

He said that people of faith and secular background who are trying to do good are often “rebuffed” at City Hall. “All candidates present this morning, including myself, indicated they would reach out to these groups and welcome their contribution,” said Mr. Rossi. “I strongly support the separation of Church and State as a foundation of our democracy.”

(Thanks to Not Guilty for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Heather

    Thank you, Toronto Star, for publishing a handy guide of people not to vote for.

  • Mike

    As traditional religions are more threatened by an increasing number of younger people who openly question their beliefs, the followers put on a full court press to sustain their beliefs. Much of the Tea Party movement in the U.S. is driven by this loss of control. The recent ratification of a Republican platform in Maine that denies any rights to atheists is another example of paranoia striking back.

  • Dammmmmmit.

    Smithermannn– YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE.

    I was vaguely hoping that an openly gay mayoral candidate would stick to his guns as opposed to bending over for the religious community. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  • Richard P.

    ah fuck!!!
    face palm in shame.
    It’s fucking stupidity virus. Now more of us Canadians are being affected. First the Prime Minister now the mayor of Toronto. Toronto of all places. What the hell are they thinking?

  • What I found VERY encouraging were the comments on this article. There was only ONE comment of the few dozen that was even remotely supportive of this idea. So while people are all up in arms about funding for PrideTO (rather, against funding), at least Torontonians are in solidarity when it comes to separation of Church and State. Reading The Star can be an emotional roller coaster, but ultimately, comments on stories like this make me love Toronto even more!

  • Steven

    Yet another reason I’m glad that I don’t live in Toronto – their mayors and mayoral candidates can’t seem to open their mouths without inserting both feet. Even if city hall wanted to open up the door to religious leaders which ones would they choose? Toronto is strikingly diverse, with plenty of representatives from every faith imaginable. Come to think of it, this might not be such a bad idea – the resulting babble might prevent the city council from doing any further harm.

  • JohnN

    Are there any atheists standing? I would vote for one of them…

  • Al

    I’m from Toronto and I can’t believe this is being brought up. Recently, a prominent person lost the Ontario premier’s race because he wanted to fund all religious schools. The uproar was significant. I am encouraged by the comments in The Star newspaper. Many more are enfuriated by this religious pandering.

  • Richard P.

    There is still hope for us, see;

    Religion ban in Quebec’s public daycares welcomed

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