Friday, October 06, 2006

Don Martin Slammed

First thing I turned to this morning in the Post was the Letters to the editor, hoping to see some kind of rebuttal to Don Martin's outrageous piece of tripe in yesterday's paper.

I was not disappointed.


Warren Hindle of Calgary writes:

The juxtaposition of Don Martin's "extreme theoretical" of a gay couple wanting to rent a church-run hall to celebrate their union alongside Chris Wattie's story citing that exact situation, which has occurred in British Columbia, proves that it is neither theoretical nor beyond what at least one same-sex "married" couple might desire.

It's also a fact that individuals already have been forced to give up their right to function as marriage commissioners because of their refusal to "marry" same-sex couples...

The contradiction was so immediate and evident that it has left me wondering -- to whose and to what agenda are we now being exposed? Should the Harper government take a position -- and ignore Don Martin's advice -- the issue is likely to be upfront, candid and clear.




PhD candidate Murray S. Y. Bessette from the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University in California writes:

One can certainly argue the merits or demerits of the Defence of Religions Act (DORA) and whether or not it is prudent of the Conservative government to introduce it. Mr. Martin, however, claims that the need of anti-same-sex marriage churches for protection from "gay newlyweds banned from celebrating their happy union in a hall owned by [such a] church," is a "sort of extreme theoretical." Extreme theoretical? I will simply cite the case of Smith and Chymyshyn vs. Knights of Columbus, which was decided by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

Mr. Martin continues his outlandishness by suggesting, "A more realistic hypothetical might be having a radical imam using Harper's bill to encourage the bombing of the Peace Tower." Despite the fact that his "extreme theoretical" has happened, he claims that his outlandish hypothetical is "more realistic." How can that possibly be? To quote Mr. Martin one last time: " Now that's offensive." Indeed it is.



I think Don Martin has lost a lot of credibility. I'm also disappointed with the National Post for running it. Let's have truth in op-eds, or else a disclaimer stating that the opinions are not only those of the writer, but are also not necessarily factual or worth the time to read.


* * * *

Update: Life with a homosexual parent: First hand account.

46 comments:

PGP said...

Hence my ongoing war with the MSM!

Red Tory said...

I know I’ll get attacked here for taking your sources to task, but… The Claremont Institute? It’s a right-wing, somewhat Libertarian (cough) think-tank, one of whose prominent fellows is Bill Bennett (radio blowhard, self-righteous moralist and notorious gambler) oh, and another one is that Assrocket guy who dutifully regurgitates hateful right-wing crap all day.

While Don Martin isn’t exactly the sharpest knife National Post’s drawer, I really don’t see what the problem here is with what he said. Yes, perhaps he misspoke by saying it was an “extreme hypothetical” when there is an actual case involving the same situation, but so what? It’s pretty rare, I’d venture to guess. Martin is right in pointing out the obvious: that there’s a good deal of political fiddling and overt posturing to the base here that this kind of song and dance really serves no good purpose other than to dupe the fundies. He’s also correct in pointing out that a lot of the budget cuts were petty and seemed mean spirited. He gave Harper fair credit for making he cuts, but criticized the ideological trimming that was more symbolic than anything else.

You claim to want “truth in op/eds.” Well, excuse me for having a tremendous laugh over that statement. It’s an editorial OPINION and while you may have detected a particular factual oversight in this instance, it’s a bit rich to make such an inane claim. The truth… feh. Who has a claim on the truth? Anyone you or I don’t happen to agree with will be accused of selectively cherry-picking facts or willfully distorting what we believe to be “the truth” – essentially anything that conforms to our opinions and supports our point of view.

Then you go on with even more nonsense by suggesting the following be included as a footnote with every op/ed piece: “a disclaimer stating that the opinions are not only those of the writer, but are also not necessarily factual or worth the time to read.” Perhaps this is intended as humour.

Isn’t it crystal clear that when reading an opinion piece by Paul Krugman, David Brooks, John Tierney, Maureen Dowd, Andrew Coyne, Jeffrey Simpson or any other columnist you care to list that appear on the op/ed pages of different newspapers and what not, that it’s their own opinion and not necessarily reflective of the editorial board of the publication in question? As to the opinion presented being “factual” well, I can look at a spreadsheet and read it one way and you might very well interpret it entirely differently. “Are the numbers indicative of a positive trend, or should we be concerned that expectations aren’t being met, signifying a potential long-term problem?” We’re both looking at the same “facts” but may come up with opposing opinions based on the available set of data as we see it. Turning to the last part of your proposed disclaimer, this is entirely up to the reader (or viewer), is it not? Personally, I like hearing/reading/viewing the opinions of those I disagree with. Others do not. It’s a matter of individual choice. Is it worth my time? Well maybe… or maybe not. Who in their right mind would have a disclaimer saying (to paraphrase) “I’m just puffing farts out of my ass, and it may be full of bogus information and it could quite possibly not be worth you’re wasting time reading it.” While that might actually be refreshing to see, I think we could lop off a good deal of the cable news networks, save many, many trees and send the blogosphere off into “Jackass” territory where the adventures of reckless teenagers are explored in painful detail.

My two cents.

(Note: May not be actual currency. Might not be legal tender in your state/province. Void where prohibited. Some restrictions apply. May contain traces of peanuts or other nut types.)

VanderHum said...

If an individual or organization is doing business in the public square, they should not be allowed to discriminate. A marriage commisioner is performing a secular ceremony. If marrying gays offends his/her religious sensibilities, he/she should find a job that won't conflict. If the KofC don't have to rent their hall to gays when their hall is for rent to the general public, can a bus driver demand gays sit at the back of his bus, can a restaurant refuse to serve gays, can a hotel refuse a room to a gay couple?

Shane said...

Red Tory:

It is irresponsible for someone in an op-ed to suggest something is an "extreme example" when it took all of a couple of months for that exact scenario to happen, taking advantage of the newly passed laws.

But beyond that, precedent is critical in this litigious society we live in. It doesn't matter how rare a situation is. If it happens, and religious rights lose out to gay rights, then the precedent is set and the religious will be oppressed in light of the incident. It will become the source of threats, to get their way. Now that it happened, the next overtly religious organization to be approached by a gay couple will be afraid to resist, because of the threat of the costs of litigation and the threat of loss. They now know they will lose, so it doesn't matter how rare it is.

Vanderhum, you don't get it. We are not talking about a visible minority here. We are not talking about organizations that by their very existence are defined by the moral code they choose to live under. There is no grounds for a gay couple to be forced to sit at the back of the bus, because unless they walked on the bus saying, "Hey everyone, we're GAY!" nobody would know. Privacy would keep private what it is nobody else's business to know.

A religious organization, defined by its moral code, cannot be expected to serve a clienetele that disagrees with the very foundation of the organization. You don't hire a dog lover to organize a Cat Show. It is called common sense. In a free society, there should be freedom to serve whom you want to serve. I am sure that there is no dearth of corporations and property owners who would be happy to host a gay couple's shindig. Why force those who disagree with you to do it? And if one party is going to be so spiteful as to do so, then there is a need for legislative protection for freedom of conscience.

Chuckercanuck said...

maybe its just me, but I find Don Martin willing to stretch anything to take a swipe at the PM.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Chucker, I agree. I don't know exactly what Don Martin's problem is, but he seems to be getting increasingly bitter.

Perhaps something to do with the Press Gallery standoff?

liberal supporter said...

"but he seems to be getting increasingly bitter."

Seems to be a lot of psychological assessment going on lately.

I got the "International disadvantaged people day" email today, which says say somnething nice to your retarded friends, even if they "lick windows, interfere with farm animals, vote liberal or occasionally s**t yourself".


Don Martin's theoretical case was about a church owned hall. To me, reading that line sounds like "who would want to have a reception in the basement of a church that would refuse to marry them".

All the talk of the Knights of Columbus case leads me to believe the KofC are now actually owned by the Roman Catholic church. As such, their hall should no longer be on the tax rolls so they should have no need to rent it to the general public.

If they rent it to anyone other than practicing Roman Catholic males over 18, then they are not just restricting it to their membership. They agreed to rent it to the two women, then decided to renege (though they offered compensation) after discovering the women were gay.

That is a little different than asking up front, and refusing. They did not do their homework.

Did the women "hide" their gayness to deceive the KofC? Perhaps we should have a special badge that gays must wear so we avoid this unfortunate mistake in the future. I believe pink triangles are popular for this.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for your opinion, Red.

My two cents.

(Note: May not be actual currency. Might not be legal tender in your state/province. Void where prohibited. Some restrictions apply. May contain traces of peanuts or other nut types.)


lol! Certainly worth more than one Red cent. ;)


If the KofC don't have to rent their hall to gays when their hall is for rent to the general public, can a bus driver demand gays sit at the back of his bus, can a restaurant refuse to serve gays, can a hotel refuse a room to a gay couple?

Vanderhum, the way I understand it, if the gay couple had wanted to rent the room for a birthday party or something along that line, the K of C likely wouldn't have had a problem with it. There is no Catholic doctrine against celebrating birthdays. Your logic is flawed.

Shane, your comments seem to back up my thoughts on this. Precendent is indeed crucial. It only takes one test case, as you say. Just look at how gay marriage started in the first place.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. Why don't we ask a Muslim organization or Mosque if they'll host a gay marriage reception in their hall or basement and see what the answer might be? I bet that would be interesting.

liberal supporter said...

Here is one:
http://tinyurl.com/egdum

They prohibit practices conflicting with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, such as playing music, singing and dancing. Also alcohol is prohibited. I don't know if they would allow a gay marriage today, but the site does say these rules are in force for all future rentals.

From the sounds of it, they did have a situation they didn't like, but they honoured the contract and then changed the regulations for future situations.

Also the hall in this case is part of the religious centre, and not a separate organization comprised of Muslims. The rules say you must go to the mosque area whenever there is a call for prayers. KofC halls are not religious centres.

What does the KofC rental application now say?

Red Tory said...

Shane -- Just because there is ONE example (that would by definition be regarded as an exception) that contradicts Martin’s contention this sort of situation is highly unusual does not invalidate his argument as a whole. You are turning it on its head, furiously running down a slippery slope and maintaining that absolutely no quarter can be afforded whatsoever lest “the religious” become “oppressed.” What utter poppycock.

Oh, boo-hoo for the poor religious folk who are so mercilessly put upon. Hey, it will be Christmas pretty soon and you can get out your crying towels, start wringing your hands and fire up your annual pity-party about the supposed “war” we god-forsaken liberals and secular humanists are supposedly waging on that too. This is all imagined, paranoiac nonsense of the worst sort.

Joanne will probably (if she hasn’t already) weigh in with a “Good point Shane!” affirmative pat on the back. But it’s not. It’s unadulterated crap and you’re not even reading what the columnist is writing. You ask, “Why force those who disagree with you to do it?” Well, the existing SSM legislation does not do that. Might I suggest that there was a lot of pig-headedness on both sides of the equation in the case of those lesbians in Kelowna who had rented a KOC hall and furthermore point out this was a commercial transaction related to rental of the hall and therefore rather beside the point. Again, it’s two sides of the same coin. Oh, look... I’m back to talking about petty change, aren’t I? Only now I’m quibbling over a single token.

liberal supporter said...

Because if you read about the KofC case, the tribunal ruled it was within KofC's rights to refuse the gay reception, but they reneged after the fact and had to compensate the gays.

If you have ever rented a hall for a reception, even reneging a few days later can mess up your plans, you might have the invitations already printed etc.

The muslim hall took its medicine, and then clarified its rules for the future, including a short cooling off period.

I'm sure it sounds funny to you, to hear a liberal sticking up for the laws that govern business contracts.

counter-coulter said...

liberal supporter said...
Because if you read about the KofC case, the tribunal ruled it was within KofC's rights to refuse the gay reception, but they reneged after the fact and had to compensate the gays.


Actually, I thought the tribunal was being more than fair with the KoC folks. Here's a group of people that have a religious affiliation (Roman Catholic) but who own a public hall that they rent out to most anyone (i.e. non-Roman Catholics). To me it would seem to be a simple matter of equal access to rent the hall as long as any given rules were conformed to. What happened here is that the KoCs just didn't like the fact that it was for a gay couple and so they reneged. Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

They prohibit practices conflicting with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, such as playing music, singing and dancing. Also alcohol is prohibited.

Sounds like one heck of a party.

PGP said...

The topic here is not whether the KofC are guilty of discrmination.
The topic is Don MArtin and his pitiful excuse for filling collumns in a newspaper.

counter-coulter said...

PGP said...
The topic here is not whether the KofC are guilty of discrmination.
The topic is Don MArtin and his pitiful excuse for filling collumns in a newspaper.


au contraire - The subject of this post was Don Martin supposedly being slammed for his "outlandish" theoretical. The example given of Martin being blind to the facts was this KoC case -- so it's hardly off topic.

After looking at the facts of the KoC case, it hardly represents the theoretical of a church-run hall that Martin proposed. I'm sure the right-wingers would love the idea of playing the victim to those horrible gay couples that are trying to take over their churches, but that was hardly the case here.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sorry. PGP's right in my opinion.

Martin said it was a far-fetched idea. However it actually did happen. Case closed.

PGP said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, PGP!

(and everyone else)

:)

liberal supporter said...

"Martin said it was a far-fetched idea. However it actually did happen. Case closed."

Sorry, it actually did not happen.

The far fetched idea was of churches needing special protection for banning same sex wedding celebrations. Since they already have the right to ban same sex wedding celebrations (as the KofC case confirmed), as well as the right not to perform same sex marriages, it is far fetched that some future decision could determine that churches have to do same sex marriages against their beliefs.

That situation did not happen with the KofC. They made a contract. They broke a contract. The plaintiff chose to pursue it through human rights avenues instead of civil court.

If instead, you would like a business law change that allows you to repudiate a contract after the fact, simply by saying you just discovered it is against your religion, then I would call that some sort of theo-communism.

Jason Bo Green said...

This whole issue is so mind-numblingly stupid I can't believe we're even talking about it.

It's also a fact that individuals already have been forced to give up their right to function as marriage commissioners because of their refusal to "marry" same-sex couples...

Honestly asking: who employs marriage commissioners? If it's the government, then they have zero "right" to not marry ANYone. They work for the government and the law is the law. If they didn't want to marry mixed race couples, they would have no "right" to not marry them. Your religion is not of any interest to me when you are performing in the role of government. Would you tolerate an Islamic marriage commissioner refusing to marry an Islamic girl to a Jew or atheist?

Who does employ marriage commissioners??? Curious...

Anyway:

Gay couples can rent lots of public halls or parks or get married in any number of friendlier churches - they are not helping anything, and only causing provocation, to force churches to rent to them.

Again, this whole issue is soooo lame and so stupid I just shake my head. Wow, do we have it good in Canada to be complaining about this fluff - on both sides.

Red Tory said...

Allow me to sum things up. Joanne makes a provocative post claiming that editorial columnist Don Martin got “slammed” for his opinions about the proposed “Defense of Religions Act.” This was based on a couple of letters, one from a crank and another from a writer at a right-wing think tank in California for goodness sake. Sweater Guy automatically chimes in with his usual “You go girl!” applause for bashing the media in whatever form it might happen to manifest itself. (A hobby of his, it would seem. He’s at “war” with it, don’t you know.) Shane then weighs into the debate contending that no measure of tolerance can be extended otherwise “the religious” would be “oppressed.” Chucker Canuck takes a swipe at Don Martin because he supposedly just wants to trash Harper.

And the voices of reason… the howlers from the “Reality-based Community”… like myself, Counter-Coulter and Liberal Supporter. Completely ignored or tossed off with “thanks for your opinion.”

I was at RONA the other day and the sales clerk trotted out that awful question… “So did you find everything you were looking for?” And instead of offering up the usual, expected response, I said “No, actually I didn’t. And I was most unhappy with my shopping experience. You’re staff were unhelpful, uninformed and unavailable and that’s why I’m buying a brand new lamp because nobody could help me find the bulb I was looking for.” And the response… “Oh gee, I’m sorry about that.”

This is much the same feeling I get here.

Red Tory said...

Oh, and I agree with the Green Lantern. This is totally lame.

Jason Bo Green said...

Oh great, Red Tory names EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the thread - except me.

How do you think that makes me feel???

What, because I didn't buy you a new lamp bulb? Is that it?

Because I never have asked, "Hey! Is that a portrait of Benjamin Disraeli as your avatar?" Is that why?

Anyhoo, I'm retreating with my broken heart now.

Boo hoo.

Jason Bo Green said...

(I'm of course just kidding - I'm terribly bored today)

Jason Bo Green said...

HURRAY!!!

I did get a mention!


I was feeling like I was back at Prom night all over again there.

RT, I take back everything I thought about your bulb and your lamb - you deserved better!

Chuckercanuck said...

well, red tory, the government has said the whole thing is idle speculation.

and while that is a bald understatement, getting hysterical over it, as Don Martin has done, is idle hysteria.

Red Tory said...

Chucker -- (I'd prefer to call you CC, but Counter Coulter already has that market cornered) -- I don't think Don Martin was overreacting. In fact, if I might borrow a "Harperism" it was, at least to me, a "measured response." There was little that could be regarded as hysterical.

Idle speculation, huh? Then why is the government floating out trial balloons? Perhaps taking a page from THE BOOK OF KLEIN are they?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Joanne makes a provocative post claiming that editorial columnist Don Martin got “slammed” for his opinions about the proposed “Defense of Religions Act.”

You think that was "provocative"?

Ha! To borrow a quote from a previous Liberal P.M. whom I blame for everything wrong with Canada today, just watch me!

Jason Bo Green said...

So these marriage commissioners, are they employed by the government, or not? I'm curious.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jason, yes. And they're mainly out west.

Jason Bo Green said...

Well, I don't feel that anyone has the "right" that you describe, to function a marriage commissioner, and no government employee has the right to deny government services because of their personal beliefs -- time to get a new job.

Gays have been afforded a great opportunity for themselves, and they should not press to make trouble and cause stirs. There are lots of places they can have a wedding that will welcome them - this action is frivolous.

But no government employee's personal beliefs are valid in this instance. Too bad for them.

Again, what if an Islamic marriage commissioner didn't wish to marry an Islamic male to a non-Islamic female? Would you support his "right" to perform goverment services according to his personal beliefs? I wouldn't - he should shut the fuck up and do whatever it is he's paid to do, or get out of Dodge and into a different career.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jason! Language please!

But I hear you, and I agree to the extent that any new hires need to be able to "get with the program".

However I feel that those who started their jobs back when Marriage was a solely a heterosexual concept should be able to keep their jobs and not be forced to marry a gay couple if it truly goes against their religious beliefs.

Let's just say for argument's sake that it is determined some day that polygamists can marry. Should those same marriage commissioners be forced to marry a threesome then?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Speaking of Muslims who discriminate...

Candace said...

Jason, you're forgetting something relatively important about marriage commissioners, IMHO. The bulk of them were commissioners BEFORE SSM was legal. If, for example, a devout Muslim is a commissioner for 10 years, then SSM becomes legal and he doesn't want to perform it because his job description just changed, he should be fired?

Why no grandfathering, i.e. it's NOW an issue for new hires, but existing commissioners don't have to go against their religious or personal beliefs?

Or is it okay to discriminate against someone for their religious beliefs, but not their sexual preferences?

Oh, & happy pumpkin pie weekend to all.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Candace. We are on the same page on this one.

Happy Pumpkin Weekend to you too!! :)

Jason Bo Green said...

Personally, I think that marriage commissioners should abide by the government's rules and do what the current law says -- BUT BUT BUT... that said, why on earth would any gay couple want to force someone to marry them? So much for the Happiest Day Of Their Lives - being married by an angry and imposed upon marriage commissoner... break out the champagne!

So in the end, I think this is a self-correcting problem - there's always going to be someone willing to marry a gay couple.

Chuckercanuck said...

Red Tory -

call me anything you want, just not late for dinner (cue massive groans).

I support SSM versus the status quo, as I have stated on many occasions. However, I think that a court challenge to a church's charitable status after it refuses to perform a SSM is too far.

I'm sure lots of people would find that quite a reasonable thing.

O/T, but as a Montrealer, the idea that the feds gave money to the Black & Blue - easily the biggest most lucrative party held in Montreal - is mind-bogglingly stupid. Charge an extra dollar - not one of the attendees will notice.

Mac said...

Marriage commissioners are self-employed (at least here in BC) much like Public Notaries or Justices of the Peace. They're vested with authority by the province to conduct marriage ceremonies, much like clergy.

Happy Thanksgiving, Joanne.

Jason Bo Green said...

However, I think that a court challenge to a church's charitable status after it refuses to perform a SSM is too far.

You are absolutely right. I'm the one off-topic asking about marriage commissioners' employers - I agree whole-heartedly, that's a really sick action to take by some very ungrateful hooligans just looking to cause trouble.

Moreover - Black and Blue is government sponsored????? Are you kidding me?? Isn't that just a big giant dance party, somewhat sans vetements? Wow.


Mac,

If marriage commissioners are self-employed, they should be able to run their business as they see fit.

Well... wait. Hmm, I'm kind of wondering, again, about the hypothetical Islamic angle... should that be allowed?? I say No, so it seems hypocritical of me to condone not marrying gays.

Ah, the "problems" of the world - too great for me to solve in a night.

C. LaRoche said...

I agree with Red Tory on this one. My guess is Don Martin was simply unaware of the Knights case, and either didn't consult anyone else in the National Post office or found no criticism amongst them. Despite the existence of the Knights case, however, his point remains valid -- and only one case on record does indeed mean thta such a scenario remains at LEAST an extreme rarity (if, perhaps, not entirely hypothetical).

Then again, I also agree completely with this statement:

"maybe its just me, but I find Don Martin willing to stretch anything to take a swipe at the PM. "

Of course, this may be simply what Mr. Martin is paid to do...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Chucker - O/T, but as a Montrealer, the idea that the feds gave money to the Black & Blue You lost me on that one. What's that about?

Mac - Marriage commissioners are self-employed (at least here in BC) much like Public Notaries or Justices of the Peace. O.K. That's interesting. I thought they were hired as public employees. I wonder if it's the same in Alberta, etc. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mac, and to that athletic family of yours!

Jason - Black and Blue is government sponsored????? Are you kidding me?? Isn't that just a big giant dance party, somewhat sans vetements? Wow. O.K. Now I really feel out of the loop! What is Black & Blue, please???

Laroche - My guess is Don Martin was simply unaware of the Knights case, and either didn't consult anyone else in the National Post office or found no criticism amongst them. If Martin was unaware of the Knights case, he as no business mouthing off on this topic, IMHO. If he actually felt it was so insignificant as to be not worth mentioning, he should have discounted it as such in the article, because it is a glaringly obvious omission. (O.K. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but you know what I mean.)

To me it just reduces his credibility as a journalist, pundit and author. Yes, he is paid to be controversial, I'm sure. I buy the Post to avoid this kind of garbage though. He should be applying to the Star or the Globe. He and Gloria Galloway are certainly on the same page.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Joanne, Black and Blue is a giant relatively gay rave (or dance party).
It's a big event in the gay community and lots of fun.
There are big economic payoffs from this event...

Mac said...

It speaks rather poorly of Don Martin's professionalism to have written an opinion piece on a subject without doing even basic research. The Knights of Columbus case received wide-spread MSM coverage. Anyone, let alone an experienced journalist, would find reference to it quickly and easily.

Larry said...

MARRIAGE MEANING- Marriage is for uniting the two human genders male and female which is the complete set of human genders. Also for a committed companionship between a man and a woman. Plus for natural procreation and a mom and a dad for and with kids. Marriage did not come from government but rather from religion mainly Judeo-Christianity for the western world form of marriage and traditional family's.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Black and Blue is a giant relatively gay rave (or dance party).
It's a big event in the gay community and lots of fun.


Why is it called Black & Blue? Or is that something I'd be better off not knowing?