Religion in Canada

Religion in Canada

Although there is no official religion in Canada, one of the basic rights and freedom that Canadians enjoy is freedom of religion. It is an important part of this country's political culture, despite the fact that there are references to God and the Defender of the Faith in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, there is an abundance of religious groups which enjoy life in Canada.

The First Nations followed a number of animistic religions. When the first Europeans settled in Canada, they were mostly French Roman Catholics. Jesuits also arrived to convert the natives, and this effort was successful. It was only when the British conquered them that the Protestant communities established themselves in the Maritimes region. As not many British immigrants decided to settle in Canada, Swiss and German Protestants were imported to create religious balance. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of strife in Canada so the Quebec Act signed in 1774 acknowledged the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in order to keep French-Canadians loyal to colonial Britain.

During the American Revolution, many Protestants fled upwards to Canada. Many of these moved to the Maritimes and Upper Canada. There was great tension between these people and the Anglican Church because most of the Protestants who immigrate were not Anglican. In 1837, there was a rebellion to create equal rights amongst Protestants. Meanwhile in Lower Canada, Roman Catholicism was a central role in politics and culture – especially with French-Canadian nationalism on the rise.

Even today, immigration from around the world plays an important part in the make-up of religion in Canada. According to a recent census, the 77% of Canadians are Christian. Most of these are Roman Catholics due to immigration from Italy, Eastern Europe, and more. In total, the number of Roman Catholics are almost double of the total amount of all Protestant groups in Canada. Other than this, the next most popular religions in Canada are Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Only 16.5% of the population do not claim any sort of religious affiliation, despite the fact that religious secularism is popular in Canada.

As mentioned above, there is no official religion in Canada as the Government is committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of all religious practices. Although Canada is still part of the British Commonwealth, the reigning monarch is referred to as the 'Defender of the Faith' or 'By the Grace of God'. As a result, religious schools of various faiths do receive Government funding.

Christianity still influences Canada such as having Easter and Christmas as national holidays. However, other religions groups are allowed to take holy days but these are not officially recognised. The French version of the national anthem contains a verse of carrying the cross, but the English version does not. However, both national anthems do refer to God. In addition, despite the fact that the Government is not biased towards any one religion, Parliament declared Thanksgiving as a day to thank God for the blessings that Canada has received.