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