The Asian influx in Canada is working to counteract secularism in the nation’s three largest cities, according to a recent government survey.
The Washington Post (Dec. 30) reports that as Asian immigrants have gravitated to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, they have maintained, and in many cases, taken up new devotion to the Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu and Christian faiths. The report found that 50 percent of the Asian immigrants who came to Canada during the 1990s regularly attend religious services.
In contrast, 20 percent of recent European immigration to Canada and 31 percent of Canadian-born adults regularly attend services. The number of Canadians attending regular worship has dropped in the country’s smaller cities since 1988, but has remained stable, at about 32 percent, in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Many of these immigrants have increased their devotion, viewing congregations as important social centers in their new lives.
The religious factor among immigrants is important, since Canadian cities are among the most multicultural in the world. For instance, immigrants, most of them Asian, make up 42 percent of Canada’s population. Canada’s multicultural makeup is leading to some unique coalitions fighting for more traditional values, reports the Canadian newspaper, the National Post (Jan. 26). The paper reports that “Canada’s Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics and evangelicals have joined forces to fight the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”
The group, called the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family, is going to court to block an attempt to legally recognize a church conducting the “world’s first legal same-sex marriage. The predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto sought to beat the Netherlands to the punch by officiating at the first legal gay marriage. Aside from the Toronto case, the coalition is targeting other attempts to redefine marriage in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.