Canadians tend to be a bit more religious than most Europeans - though not more than the Poles or Ukrainians. Most important, their attitude to immigration and ethnic minorities is more positive than that of most Europeans.
Here is the point about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true - that religion has caused innumerate people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.
The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country.
All this happiness on display is suspect... If they think - and they could be right - that continued torture and summary executions, ethnic cleansing and occasional genocide are preferable to an invasion, they should be sombre in their view.
At a certain point in history monuments became associated with kitsch, (it had never previously been so) and one might well ask why this unforeseen aesthetic and ethnic debasement of their values came about, or why monuments have not adapted to the times. Perhaps, instead of evoking authentic religious, patriotic or mystical sentiments, they evoke only the customary ersatz for these sentiments and have suffered the fate of becoming sentimental.
In issues of recent ethnic wars and genocides - particularly if you look at Darfur - one of the most remarkable things is our inability to act, still, despite the years of analyzing and re-analyzing what it does to subsequent generations. We still find a massive inability to step in and step up to the plate, when genocide is happening as we speak.
If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren't just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can't be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn't all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn't do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that's wider than... Read more »
School boards are, for the most part ,made up of political wannabes who see a board seat as a stepping stone for political office, or well-meaning parents who represent an ethnic group or geography, or have some other narrow interests. Few people on them understand what governance is about.