Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Montreal and Quebec notes, October 29, 2008

A) On my way to work I saw a church that had a huge tacky banner on it from bearing the Quebec provincial logo (i.e. from some official governmental tourism agency) and the slogan "Notre patrimoine religieux, c’est sacré!"

Maybe it's been there for years, but it only registered on my eye today, and I'm dizzy with all the weirdness of it. I'm American enough to think:

1) That the government has no business telling us what's sacred, in an overtly religious setting.

2) That we don't need a tourist agency to inform us about the sacredness of houses of worship-- we can understand that just fine on our own.

3) That it's especially weird for churches to have to borrow the prestige of "patrimonie," which is what this amounts to-- trying to convince an increasingly secular population to put its old churches into the same category as the rest of the national (that is, Quebecois) inheritance and legacy and all that of which "je me souviens". The state is trying to convince us that churches are as sacred as other Quebec historical sites.

I simultaneously understand all of this and utterly fail to grok it.

B) This is not OK.