On September 15, 1959, Georges Vanier, Canada's Governor-General soon-to-be, began his acceptance speech with the following invocation: "Mr. Prime Minister, my first words are a prayer. May Almighty God in his infinite wisdom and mercy bless the sacred mission which has been entrusted to me by Her Majesty the Queen and help me to fulfill it in all humility. In exchange for his strength, I offer him my weakness." Fifty-six years later, on September 27, 2005, Michalle Jean became Canada's 27th Governor-General. In her acceptance speech, by contrast, Jean referred to how Canadian history "speaks powerfully about the freedom to invent a new world," and made no reference to the deity. What happened to the Canadian religious conscience, as illustrated by the speeches of these two luminaries, in the approximately fifty years between then and now? Why might have church and synagogue attendance fallen from 67 percent after World War II to less than 20 percent in 2000? In What Happened to Christian Canada?, renowned church historian Mark Noll investigates these and other related questions, and makes timely observations about one of the more prominent sociological shifts in modern North American history.
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