The recent federal election was one of the most hard-fought in recent years. It’s become clear that the voter turnout was up considerably and the interest in politics has jumped to a new level.
How timely, then, that we at Novalis are releasing Faith and Politics Matters, the third in our Faith and Society series. In this slim volume, we are exploring the intersections of religious faith and the making of public policy, how they interact, where they conflict and where they work together. To that end, we have put together an impressive array of authors to write on these questions.
To help bring it all together, we enlisted John Milloy, a former cabinet minister in the governments of Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her predecessor Dalton McGuinty. Milloy brings to the task of editor long experience in government, including about 10 years as a member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener and as an assistant for former prime minister Jean Chretien. He has also been a long-time student of politics, having his D.Phil. in history from Oxford University, an M.A. from the London School of Economics and B.A. from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Equally important, from our perspective, is that he is a serious Catholic, a man who struggles to find ways to maintain his faith and express it in the face of a sometimes hostile culture. In fact, since his retirement from government over a year ago, he has joined the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, where, as Co-director of the Centre for Public Ethics, he will be studying and teaching on the very issues we address in our book.
So what are these issues?
1. The challenge of practicing faith publicly in politics;
2. Catholic education in Ontario;
3. The stormy relationship between religions and the public square;
4. Social activism shaped by faith;
5. The special way faith is dealt with in Quebec;
6. The challenge of knowing where to draw the line between personal belief and public debate;
7. How faith can help develop a public ethics all can embrace.
To tackle these issues we have called on scholars and practitioners including constitutional lawyer Kevin Feehan, activist and economist Peter Warrian, historian Mark McGowan, theologian Jean-François Laniel, Religious studies professor Scott Kline and Christian ethicist David Pfrimmer.
The sum total of their essays is certainly far greater than their individual efforts, as wonderful as they are. We are certain that Faith and Politics Matters will become a must-have primer on how religious beliefs can continue to shape and influence our society for years to come.