As I started 2018, I was reminded how words paint a moral landscape.
On Sunday, our preacher for the day mentioned the situation we are in. His references were vague. Vagueness often increases our scope of vision. I’m sure some who were listening would cite Donald Trump, others Justin Trudeau, or Korea, or immigration, or sexual harassment, . . . . .
A new word that is cropping up is “attestation”. In order to access grant money for youth summer jobs, an organization must “attest” that jobs that are created will not be in contradistinction (my word, a great word which I think describes what is being asked) to the law or the rights and freedoms of Canadians.
There is a grey area, which is described as the right to freedom of speech. An organization may have at their core a strong disagreement with the current societal norms (or one might say the current norms of the authority structures of society). At the moment individuals and these organizations are allowed, under the ruling of their conscience and under religious freedom, to express those thoughts.
The attestation asks about these core beliefs. The actual work being anticipated over the summer is secondary – the application will be rejected if the attestation cannot be signed.
This nuance of the word attestation creates disharmony in an older word which we use when we describe our society – tolerant.
Perhaps we are finally seeing what the word toleration – a term that began its current ascendency about 30 years ago – really means.
Have we been able to repaint our moral landscape or are we finally seeing the true picture?