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Ray Pennings

Ray Pennings co-founded Cardus in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, working out of the Ottawa office. Ray has a vast amount of experience in Canadian industrial relations and has been involved in public policy discussions and as a political activist at all levels of government. Ray is a respected voice in Canadian politics, contributing as a commentator, pundit and critic in many of Canada’s leading news outlets and as an advisor and strategist on political campaign teams. Read More ›

Bio last modified December 21st, 2017.
Articles by Ray Pennings
  • School Choices

    Ray Pennings

    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.

  • The First Freedom of the Human Soul

    Ray Pennings

    "I think our literacy may be fairly high ... but our understanding of religion has diminished quite a bit," says Farr. "What we've lost is the anthropology, if you will; the notion that human beings are by their nature religious." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Subpoenaed Sermons

    Ray Pennings

    To reduce this complicated story to its bare essentials, City Council adopted the controversial HERO ordinance in June. Immediately after its adoption, opponents began organizing petitions for the repeal of this legislation; 17,269 valid signatures are enough put the issue to a referendum in November's election.

  • Finding a Global Common Grammar

    Ray Pennings

    How can we better engage across cultures? At the Transatlantic Christian Council last month, Cardus executive vice president Ray Pennings spoke with Father Sirico about how to have conversations about faith that can span cultures.

  • The Art of Faithful Persuasion

    Ray Pennings

    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. "I think we should be persuasive—publicly accessible—as St. Paul was," argues Guinness. "So when he's in a synagogue, he preaches from the Torah. When he's on Mars Hill, he quotes Cretan poets and philosophers. We should have that adaptability and flexibility."

  • Protests and the Police Force

    Ray Pennings

    That's not to say it isn't important or can't be effective. Washington, 1963. Gdansk, 1981. Tiananmen Square, 1989. Arab Spring, 2011. Mass people presence with chants and placards can make a difference and change history. But this needs to be kept in perspective. The fact that some protests are effective doesn't make every protest effective.

  • Is There Room for the Quaker's Wife?

    Ray Pennings

    "All the world is strange," said the Quaker to his wife, "except for me and thee. But even thee I wonder about." Western democracy is the offspring of a marriage of ideas between Christian social thought and the enlightenment. In different contexts, the particular features of democracy remind us more of one intellectual parent than the other, but only a conscious attempt at ahistorical forgetfulness would deny democracy's DNA.

  • The System Built on Slogans

    Ray Pennings

    I think the Ontario election reflected little more than what Ontarians were thinking on June 12th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • The Secular Democracy and its Victims

    Ray Pennings

    Surely it is possible, within a liberal democracy, that we can, without bloodshed, lay bare some deep rifts between value systems. But we're only fooling ourselves—playing with house money—if we don't constantly scrutinize and re-evaluate the "why" questions beneath our differences. The preoccupation with "what" questions in the ongoing Trinity Western University (TWU) community covenant debate has left the "why" questions unanswered. Why is the "exclusive marriage clause" in the covenant? Why is the very existence of a covenant considered important for a Christian institution? How can opposing parties have reasoned and civil debate without discussing answers to these questions?

  • The Time Wasn't Wasted

    Ray Pennings

    Yes, Ontario is just one of ten provinces, and its politics aren't Canada's politics. Still, Ontario is home to many of the nation's economic, cultural, and media influencers, and its 13.6 million residents do represent over 38 percent of the nation.

  • Social Licence and Democratic Institutions

    Ray Pennings

    My point here is not to argue the merits or demerits of the pipeline, nor to suggest that the process has been without its flaws. But a two-year review process by the National Energy Board, a federal agency that has subject matter expertise, which heard 1450 submissions in 21 affected communities over a two-year period cannot be dismissed as an undemocratic process.

  • In the Absence of Virtuous Leaders

    Ray Pennings

    Before his public appearance, I sat down with Havard and asked about how employees can respond when their leaders are not virtuous. He responded with his thoughts on the spiritual needs of human beings, and how they play out in the workplace. Havard had some specific advice for those of us who may find ourselves lacking exemplary leadership.

  • What makes a Christian Organization?

    Ray Pennings

    But legal definitions should not overly influence our perception of Christian (or other religiously-based) institutions. There are more basic things to keep in mind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • No Politician Is Above Politics

    Ray Pennings

    With due respect to our duly elected mayor, he is mistaken regarding the efficacy of our democratic system in at least three ways. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Taxes Are Good, but Charity's Better

    Ray Pennings

    In most western democracies, governments have provided the incentives of a reduced tax bill in order to encourage support for charities. The definition of charity varies, with the relief of poverty, advancement of education and promotion of religion being at the core of historical definitions. The specifics of each system vary widely but in every case, a donation to a charity results in a reduction of tax payable by an amount less than the donation.

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