Christian Privilege in Prison

Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister for the Government of Canada is a tough on crime sort of guy.

The number of inmates in both the federal and provincial systems is expected to rise as the provisions of an omnibus crime bill that was recently passed into law take effect. Among other things, that legislation established a number of new mandatory minimum sentences, restricted the use of house arrest and made it more difficult to get out of jail early, all of which are likely to increase the number of Canadians behind bars.

At the same time, Corrections Canada is undergoing budget cuts, and is expected to  decrease its spending by 10% by 2014. One of the ways this target is to be made is by pretending that only Christians go to prison. Here is what Corrections Canada has to say about the religious affiliations of their 21,700 inmates.

Christians 63.7%
Muslim 3.5%
Jewish 0.7%
Native Spiritual 3.5%
Buddhist 1.8%
Sikh 0.5%
Other 6.6%
No Religion 19.7%

Toews’ spokesperson insists that the Minister supports freedom of religion, and states that “However, the Government of Canada is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding.”

This is what privilege looks like. It is the assumption that making the dominant choice is the default choice. We saw this is August when the Bank of Canada revealed they made the image on the new $100 bill ‘racially-neutral’ i.e. Caucasian.

Because that’s who Canadians are – white Christians.

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