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Ray Pennings

Ray Pennings is a co-founder of Cardus and currently serves as its Executive Vice President, working out of the Ottawa office. He has long experience in Canadian industrial relations, as well as public policy, political activism, and political affairs generally. He has headed several of Cardus' largest research projects over the years, including a monumental education survey which led to the Cardus Religious Schools Initiative in association with the University of Notre Dame. Ray is a respected voice in Canadian politics as well, having held senior positions on campaign teams at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Ray did his under-graduate at McMaster University and holds a Masters of Arts in Religion from Puritan Theological Seminary. Read More ›

Articles by Ray Pennings
  • No Trumping Virtue

    Ray Pennings

    Convivium: Ray, a few weeks in advance of voting day in the U.S., you wrote a very well-received piece on what’s being called “post-truth” politics. You made the point that truth went sideways almost at the outset of this election, and nobody seemed to care. How does that thesis stand up against the outcome that we saw on Tuesday? How big a factor do you now think “post truth” politics were in getting Donald Trump to the White House? .

  • Perpetuating Homeschool Myths

    Ray Pennings

    Homeschooling is back in the news, but as usual, the tone of the coverage is negative. I suspect that’s due, in large measure, to journalists simply being unaware of what a wealth of research has shown about the value of homeschooling. Allow me to explain by pointing out two recent media reports.

  • What to do in Post-Truth Politics?

    Ray Pennings

    There have never been perfect candidates in any election that I’ve ever voted in. The U.S. presidential campaign, now winding down toward November 8, only emphasizes the impossibility of perfectibility – and perhaps adds the rider that some are more imperfect than others.

  • Is the Party Over?

    Ray Pennings

    For political junkies, presidential nominating conventions are destination television. It’s ritualistic theatre as, almost without exception in living memory, the presumptive nominee has been confirmed. Yes, officially winning a nomination warrants “Breaking News Alerts,” but the conventions are more about marketing than decision-making.

  • Palliative Care: Time for a Compassionate Approach

    Ray Pennings

    A February 2015 Nanos Poll of Canadian public opinion suggested that 73% of Canadians were concerned that they will not receive the comfort and support they would hope to receive if they or a loved one was facing a life threatening illness and nearing death. This is consistent with other studies that have shown although 75% of Canadians want to die at home, 70% actually die in an acute care hospital bed.

  • Mapping the Progressives Progress

    Ray Pennings

    Progressive politics is clearly on a roll in Canada. In fact, some pundits say it has already “run the table,” and question whether it has run out of new places to go. That is a matter for those who scan the political heavens to decide. Here on earth, New Democrats are going to Edmonton this weekend for their federal convention.

  • Paris: Avoiding the Knee-Jerk Reaction

    Ray Pennings

    Simplistic solutions to national security and the refugee crisis are available to anyone with a social media account. Most of these “solutions” fall woefully short because they fail to take religion seriously. And there are challenges for all of us—whether we are a Muslim, a secularist, or a Christian—to consider our response to these challenges in light of our own professed religious commitments.

  • How Trudeau’s Election Complicates the Narrative

    Ray Pennings

    Many expected yesterday’s election to bring about change, but few likely expected the drastic change we got. The “red tide” that swept the country on Monday night reshaped the political landscape, ushered in a Liberal majority and saw the Conservative and NDP parties greatly reduced. It seems, for now at least, that Trudeau’s slogan of “Real Change” might not have been as hollow as its cynics might have thought.

  • Lessons From the Alberta Election: Part II

    Ray Pennings

    This post is a continuation from yesterday. To read lessons 1-5, click here. "I found it very difficult," explains Ray Pennings, "to vote for party whose leaders I viewed as either lacking character or incompetent, regardless of the platform." Which shows that…

  • Lessons From the Alberta Election: Part I

    Ray Pennings

    I thought I knew something about politics. I was involved in my first political campaign at 14 and, 35 years later, have been through the roller coaster of numerous elections as a candidate, campaign manager) and pundit.  Then came the recent vote in Alberta. The devastation of a 44-year-old Conservative dynasty by Rachel Notley’s New Democrats overturned much of what I thought knew—what most of us thought we knew—about what matters to voters.

  • A Court of Many Colours

    Ray Pennings

    In the Biblical story of Joseph's coat, Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings finds both justification and a cautionary tale for Canada's ermine-cloaked Supreme Court justices

  • Stories of Subsidiarity

    Ray Pennings

    At the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa this year, I had the opportunity to host Father Robert A. Sirico of the Acton Institute for his talk on "Ethics and the American Idea." In the clip below, he tells a story that perfectly illustrates the concept of subsidiarity.

  • Miracle Worker

    Ray Pennings

    Easter is when Christians celebrate the resurrection from the dead of a man from a tomb just outside of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. There are lots of arguments to be raised as to why this should be considered reliable history but at the end of the day all of the evidence is only plausible if you believe in miracles.

  • Mr. Pennings Goes to Ottawa

    Ray Pennings

    Democracy, we're told, is in deep trouble in Canada. On Parliament Hill, some male MPs stand accused of sexually harassing—possibly even assaulting—their female peers. Off the Hill, a veteran MP is convicted of flouting laws on electoral spending. Even political helpers deepen the damage with campaign misconduct that has earned one of them nine months in jail.

  • When Idylls Become Idols

    Ray Pennings

    When Canada played for Olympic gold on a Sunday in 2002, lifelong hockey fanatic Ray Pennings faced the temptation of breaking his Sabbath rule to watch the game on TV. In the end, the score was Commandments 10, Sports Idolatry 0. Yes, he knows who won

  • On the Table

    Naomi Biesheuvel with Robert Joustra, Dan Postma, Ray Pennings

    We're renovating these pages in 2015 to open them up to you, our readers. Each month, we'll send out a question via our weekly emails, Twitter account (@conviviumproj) and our Facebook page (facebook.com/conviviumproject). The next step is up to you: we want to hear your opinions about the topics we're discussing in these pages.

  • School Choices

    Ray Pennings

    It’s School Choice Week. In North America, the terms “education” and “public education system” get treated as though they mean the same thing. When we remind people that education is bigger than the public system, it changes the conversation in a big way. Reframing our concerns opens up the options and suggests that a variety of parties—associations, providers, schools, and, even more importantly, families—have a stake in education.

  • He Came to Shoulder Our Burdens

    Ray Pennings

    In our current era, religion is presumed to be personal. Politeness is warped into shallowness; substantial sentiments are risky and may offend. Publicly, Christmas is nothing more than a seasonal holiday. Its religious roots are tolerated only because denying them would require a collective historical amnesia that we're not quite up to yet.

  • The First Freedom of the Human Soul

    Ray Pennings

    At the Transatlantic Christian Council in Washington, D.C., earlier this fall, Cardus executive vice president Ray Pennings had a conversation with Thomas F. Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. A former American diplomat and leading authority on international religious freedom, Farr is the author of World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security.

  • Three Assumptions Not to Make About Education

    Ray Pennings

    In Ontario, the education debate has been crippled by certain assumptions that might be toppled by a closer examination of the issues at hand. These assumptions were brought to mind by the Fraser Institute's analysis last month that adopting the B.C. model of education financing would provide greater value to the Ontario taxpayer.

  • Subpoenaed Sermons

    Ray Pennings

    When first alerted to this story by social media, I checked Snopes to ensure it wasn't a hoax. The city of Houston has issued subpoenas asking five pastors to provide attorney's with copies of "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession." HERO refers to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a provision adopted in June specifying that no business open to the public could deny a transgender person entry to the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity.

  • Finding a Global Common Grammar

    Ray Pennings

    "Very often," says Acton Institute co-founder Father Robert A. Sirico, "even believers and even people who would agree on certain cultural issues speak past each other, or they hone in on parts of the debate and make that as though it were the whole debate."

  • The Art of Faithful Persuasion

    Ray Pennings

    When ought we to share what we believe, and when are we just picking a fight? At the Transatlantic Christian Council in Washington, D.C., this month, Ray Pennings asked Os Guinness about this topic. Guinness is the author of nearly two dozen books, most recently The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity and Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times.

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