As reported by Chris Mangatal of Saskatoon radio station CKOM, April 22, 2012 (updated April 23, 2012):
A Saskatoon man is up in arms after Councillor Danauer read a Christian prayer last week to kick off a volunteer appreciation banquet.Chris Mangatal issued a further report on April 23, 2012:
The offended man, Ashu Solo, said the prayer is a violation of the separation between church and government, and showed political favouritism toward the Christian faith.
"This is not a Christian city or a Christian country," he said.
"It's a secular and multi-cultural country."
Solo wants an apology from Mayor Atchison and Councillor Donauer, along with a promise it won't happen again at future government events.
Mayor Atchison, however, suggested they compromise by using a different prayer from different faith groups every year.
"If people still say they are non-believers of anything, maybe there's one year that, in fact, we have no worship at all," Atchison said.
Solo rebuked the notion, arguing there are far too many religions to accomodate everyone.
A Christian prayer by Saskatoon councillor Randy Donauer has one man very upset following last week's volunteer appreciation banquet.Mayor Atchison and Councillor Donauer owe Mr. Solo no apology for offending his hypersensitivity. Contrary to the belief of Mr. Solo (and many Canadians), Canada is not a "secular" country, if by secular he means a complete separation between church and state, including prohibition of prayer or expression of religious sentiments on public occasions. In fact the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with this preamble:
Ashu Solo says it was extremely inappropriate, offensive and discriminatory to have a prayer at a government event.
"It violates the separation of religion and government for there to be a Christian prayer at a municipal government event," he commented.
In response, Mayor Don Atchison thinks there is a way to accomodate everybody.
"If people are offended by something being a Christian prayer, I don't see why we couldn't have a different prayer from different faith groups in the community every year at our event," he said.
Solo disagrees, saying the separation of religion and government is essential to make sure everyone is happy because there are far too many religions to account for.
He is demanding an apology from both Mayor Atchison and Councillor Donauer, along with a promise they won't mix religion into government events again.
Whereas Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law: