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Meditation 116
Revising Canada's National Anthem (O Canada)

by JT

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Our American members are all too aware of the ongoing issue of the words "under God" in there Pledge of Allegiance. But they are not the only one's required to refer to God in a statement of patriotism. Many of us in other nations have to deal with a reference to God in our national anthems. And that goes for "O Canada." And it should be changed. (For the current lyrics and proposed changes)

Following is a email I sent to several Canadian politicians on 7 May 2003.

The Honourable Sheila Copps:
Senator Noel A Kinsella
Senator Vivienne Poy

I understand you are involved in addressing the issue of sexist language in Canada's National Anthem. I do agree that the current reference to "all thy sons command" does implicitly exclude a large proportion of Canadians, and is understandably offensive to at least some women.

By all means, do correct this error.

But while you are at it, I request that you address another issue that excludes a large number of Canadians, and that is the issue of God. The invocation of God in our National Anthem excludes all of us who are agnostic, atheist, and those who are polytheistic. We are unable to freely join in the song designed to celebrate our country and to voice our patriotism without being forced to mention a deity in whom we disbelieve.

The solution is simple. Instead of:

"God keep our land glorious and free!"

the lyrics should be:

"We'll keep our land glorious and free!"

Not only does this remove God from the National Anthem, it explicitly makes all of us jointly responsible for keeping Canada glorious and free, rather than asking a third party to do so on our behalf. These lyrics make us better citizens of this great country.

This small change does not exclude those with religious views, it simply brings those without a belief in a deity or in a single god into the fold.

Please do not consider this a change to be dealt with separately. It should be handled at the same time as an amendment to deal with sexist language. The underlying reason for both changes is the same. The current language excludes a large number of fellow citizens.

Thank you for you consideration

Best wishes

John Tyrrell