Sunday, October 15, 2006

In defence of defence of religions act

This post is for my readers who were questioning the need for strengthening the existing legislation regarding defending freedom of religion and free speech rights in Canada.

Mike at The Good Fight has linked to an excellent article by Ted Byfield at the Calgary Sun, which lists all sorts of court challenges over the last few years.

Notably, but not limited to (and I have paraphrased Ted's words here):

-Bill Whatcott, an evangelical Christian and a licensed practical nurse who was fined $15,000 by his professional association for protesting against abortion on his own time and $20,000 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for speaking out against homosexuality.

-the Catholic school in Whitby, Ontario, which was forced by the Ont. Supreme Court to allow a homosexual student (Marc Hall) to take his boy friend to a school dance.

-seven marriage commissioners in Saskatchewan who have been forced to resign because they refuse to perform homosexual marriages.

-Mennonite camp north of Winnipeg which refused to rent its premises to a homosexual choir, and was dragged before the Human Rights Commission whose decision is pending.

-Hugh Owen, evangelical Christian who placed an ad in the Saskatchewan newspaper naming four Scriptural verses against homosexuals, and not even quoting them. He was forced to pay $4,500 in human rights fines.

-printer Scott Brockie refused to print material for a gay organization and was fined $5,000 and ordered to print it anyway. When he still refused, his case went to the Ontario Supreme Court and his legal bills added up to $170,000.

-Scott Boisson, the Calgary evangelical pastor who wrote a letter to a newspaper questioning the promotion of homosexuality in the public schools. When he was charged, he held a fund-raising dinner for help with court costs. Something calling itself the Gay Militia, wearing masks, burst in on the dinner and tried to break it up.

-Kamloops teacher, Chris Kempling, who was suspended for daring to question homosexual marriage in a letter to the editor, and was suspended for four months without pay, though there was no evidence whatever he had mentioned this view in a classroom. And when he was asked to appear before a Commons committee, he was put under investigation again by his superiors.


And so on. But many people have willful blinders on, and even this evidence will be lost on them.


Update: This is quite an impressive post argued from the other POV. Why Gay Marriage is Good Conservative Policy. You know, I can't argue with that. It would certainly be easier to go with the flow. I guess it depends what's important.

46 comments:

Cherniak_WTF said...

Quite the boy that Ted:
In his heyday as founder and editor-in-chief of the feisty, ultra-conservative Alberta Report newsmagazine, Ted Byfield was famous for his newsroom rants and rages.
Mellowed, perhaps, but Byfield remains a salty-tongued, hard-drinking yet devout Christian who displays a drive and tenacity lacking in many people half his age.

Source http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com


Now open to new information is fine. The first case that Ted cites is Bill Whatcoot.
Saskatchewan human rights tribunal ruled that Bill Whatcott, pictured, incited hatred against gays and lesbians and he's been ordered to pay a $17,500 fine. Whatcott and a group called the "Christian Truth Activists" distributed pamphlets in Regina and Saskatoon calling us "sodomites" in "filthy" same-sex relationships, "430 times more likely to acquire AIDS and three times more likely to sexually abuse children!" The fine will go to the four who filed the complaint against him.
Not exactly same material there.

Joanne, please do try to have credible sources next time - I'm not even going to waste time on the rest of your "examples"...

Cherniak_WTF said...

Actually Hugh Owen is amusing - he's one of those "creationist" that Man walked with Dinosaur - I'm sure that him a Doris Day get along fine...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

CWTF - Typical ad hominems.

Why do I bother?

Hence:
But many people have willful blinders on, and even this evidence will be lost on them.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Joanne, I believe in Freedom of religion, but when you examples are radicals with an agenda, I fail to see your proof. You rally against "lobby" groups but wilfully site these ones because you agree with their message.

Your case would be better presented if you had credible examples. Intolerant zealots will not advance your cause.

Anonymous said...

1. Kempling was suspended for far more than "writing a letter to the editor". The man is a crank, who claims to be able to "cure" homosexuality using thoroughly debunked, dangerous reparative therapies. He was a school counsellor, not simply a teacher, and was in a position to do maximum damage to any gay teen that entered his office.

2. The Knights were fined for breaking a contract and generally being rude about it. Their right to deny a hall rental to gay and lesbian weddings was upheld.

3. Mark Hall went to the human rights tribunal to uphold his right to participate in a dance held on public property, off school premises, and far away from the parish church.

4. Hugh Owen cited Leviticus 20:13 in his ad. I believe that's the one that calls for homosexuals be put to death. Charming.

5. Marriage commissioners are commissioned by the state to execute their duty of performing legal, civil marriages, as defined by the federal government. If they can't or don't discriminate over every other religious objection to a marriage (interfaith, remarriage of divorcees, sacramental obligations), why is it OK to discriminate against gays alone?

6. Bill Whatcott is Canada's Fred Phelps. By all means, use him as an example of religious persecution. I'd love to see DORA devotees defend such calumnies as "gays are three times more likely to sexually abuse children", and "gays are 430 times more likely to contract an STD", or that the gay lifestyle only leads to "death, depravity and disease". By all means, associate the CPC with Bill Whatcott.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Bill Whatcott is spreading hate and lies - is this someone you want to represent you?
He's been convicted of hate-mongering, as for the pamphlet incident, it was because he was doing it without a permit on University grounds. Hardly religious persecution....

The Marc Hall is not persecution (unless you count the school board denying his rights). The school receives public funds and as such cannot discriminate. If it was a private school, then likely it could have banned Marc Hall from bringing his boyfriends to the prom on religious grounds.

With Scott Brockie, I'd agree that you do have a some valid arguments.

I have not read enough on the other cases (not what is posted on religious sites but the court documents) to be able to do justice to them.

Cherniak_WTF said...

valiantmauz, thanks for the update.

Of course, I have a feeling the ones with blinders will not understand what you wrote.

liberal supporter said...

Re Scott Brockie:

Google his name and the last item on page 1 is a court document. Many of the higher ranked search results appear to be the "usual suspects".

Sometimes I read them, you may find inadvertent mention of the facts of the case, but it is a tedious process picking over the indignant rhetoric that often ensues.

And c_wtf, you walked right into one of Joanne's classic traps, where she can label you an "ad hominem" attacker, while at the same time mentioning everyone else's "willful blinders" causing them to ignore her "evidence". Of course she will accuse me of the same, by referring to most of a page of google search result summaries as "the usual suspects"

A page from the factum:
http://snipurl.com/z376

Quote:

8. Running a general print-shop for the public at large is a commercial enterprise and is not a manifestation of religious beliefs.

9. In delivering a service available to the general public, printers are required to comply with the laws of the land which cover matters such as copyright obscenity and hate literature. Thus a printer is entitled (and even required) to refuse to print material which infringes copyright, or violates Canada's obscenity or hate literature laws. Beyond that, however, freedom of expression is not enhanced by allowing printers to scrutinize the contents of materials and deny printing services to viewpoints they disagree with. This would lead to censorship and a stifling of freedom of expression.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cherniak_wtf. I don't want a flame war with Joanne or anybody else, but this DORA idea is purely reactionary, vengeful, unconstitutional, and targetted at one tiny minority of Canadian citizens. It's not a Defense of Relions Act - it's an Attack on Gays Act. It's an attempt to write into law the one acceptable bigotry.

A very little digging exposed the "persecution" of Scott Brockie. Press release available here.

Money quote:

"The original complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission in the spring of 1996. Mr. Brillinger had asked Imaging Excellence and Mr. Brockie to print stationery for the organization [Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives]. In refusing to provide printing services to the Archives, Mr. Brockie argued that it was against his religion and that this allowed him to deny these services. After trying to mediate a settlement, the Commission investigated the facts and sent the case to a public hearing at the Board of Inquiry in September of 1998.

At the Board hearing, Mr. Brockie argued that any order requiring him to provide services to gays and lesbians contravened his right to freedom of religion under section 2 of the Charter. The Board held that its ordering Mr. Brockie and Imaging Excellence to provide printing services to gays and lesbians and their organizations was a reasonable limit on Mr. Brockie’s religious beliefs under section 1 of the Charter."

I suppose we really do need legislation to protect our right to say: "We don't serve your kind here".

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to point out that the Brockie case has not one d**m thing to do with same-sex marriage.

liberal supporter said...

The places I looked didn't mention that Scott Brockie's trigger was a print job with the offensive words on it. That's why elsewhere we see he says he would have done business cards for the gay guy, and even has gays working for him. But it looks like printing something with the offensive words "gay" and "lesbian" was the problem.


To continue with the guilt by association ad hominem attack, I found a site from an organization that supports Mr. Brockie:
http://snipurl.com/z38k

The Canadian Association For Free Expression.

In their article, they describe him "feeling the might of Canada's militant homosexual lobby and their allies in the Ontario Human Rights Commission."

Meanwhile, elsewhere on their site, they are defending a gentleman who posted at "www.stormfront.org", where you will see a nice stylized cross with "white power world wide" written on it. The usual anti-Semitic "free speech" can be found there.

Would you support Scott Brockie's freedom to refuse to print Jewish materials?

But of course it's the Liberals who are anti-Israel.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...'looks like your comments section has been hi-jacked by the blinkered, bigoted, biased, and left/lib/fem/gay brigade.

They make Ted Byfied's and your point exactly. So what if people were "rude"? So what if they quoted Bible passages that offended certain groups? So what if the guy's "a crank"?

All of these situations are covered in Canada by freedom of expression and freedom of religion. When people are free to express their religious views or their views on other things, it doesn't matter if you're offended. What you have to say is equally offensive and rude to the Knights, to the crank, and to those who may have been rude to you.

Grow up, cherniak_wtf and valiantmauz: 'Next thing you know, the Frankenstein monster that's been created by these Human Rights (sic and sick) Commissions is going to come after you and your ilk, and then you'll be screaming bloody murder. Go ahead. No one will be listening.

BTW, Ted Byfield is an amazing man. He is an exceptional writer and editor and has been responsible for the journalistic education of a huge number of Canada's most influential journalists. Even those who are far more liberal and left than he is, speak very highly of him and admire his tenacity and his courage of his convictions.

Compared to him, you're a pipsqueak, cherniak_wtf.

Also, I detect a rather nasty bias and bigotry towards Christians these posts.

That's really "open" and "tolerant" of you. Take a look in the mirror the next time you take your anti-religious, anti-people-who-don't-think-like-you hatchets out.

If you don't defend the rights of others to say things with which you disagree or to say things that "offend" you, then you'll find that your rights to do the same--and believe me, your views pi**me off--may well be taken away from you at some future time.

Don't be so cocky. Your ignorance is showing.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous - aka gutless.

Point me to one word of my posts that is anti-Christian. Just one. I dare ya.

Swift said...

The stories of the Caladonia March for Freedom posted at CTV, CBC, and canoe are laughable.

PGP said...

I think its' fair to point out those examples of authoritarian abuses.
The heavy handed wielding of various rules and priviledges especially the "Human rights Commissions" which seem to be operating as extra-legal entities above the law are an affront to our principles of democratic justice.
That's why Harper's proposed legislation is making sense.
In reality though we should never have been put in the postition of needing more laws to correct existing bad ones.
At least at a local level school board trusties and officials can be taken to task by voters.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift - Busy day. Just checking that out now. Thanks.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift - Here's what's laughable!!!

Swift said...

You don't know the half of it. I was there.

Red Tory said...

Oh poor Bill Whatcott, former “drug abuser and sexual addict” who claims he was screwed in a half-way house by “sodos” at the age of 17 and who used to cruise the YMCA for casual sex with other men. The same Bill Whatcott with two broken marriages, whose avatar at FreeDominion is Jesus (a bit pretentious, wouldn’t you say?), and who spends every waking hour of his miserable, desperately pathetic life now railing against, what he describes as “homos, fudge-packers, deviants and sodomites.” The same Bill Whatcott who masquerades under a Fred Phelps like wingnut group called “Christian Truth Activists” that incites hatred against homosexuals accusing them of being disease carriers and child abusers and who describes same-sex marriages as “filthy.” You mean THAT Bill Whatcott?

Charming company you’re keeping there Joanne.

Oh, and Ted Byfield is a crackpot.

counter-coulter said...

But many people have willful blinders on, and even this evidence will be lost on them.

A nice attempt by Joanne to poison the well, but then there was this post:

valiantmauz said...
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


Oh Snap! By the numbers! Damn you valiantmauz and your reality-based community!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well guys, if you won't accept my sources, I guess we'll simply have to agree to disagree.

Zac said...

Interesting link in your update. I've always wondered why the Tories never supported SSM. To me, I think that gay marriage would fit nicely into the whole "freedom from the state" doctrine - a philosophy that I adhere to as well.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, right. Politically speaking, it would make a great deal of sense.

Zac said...

I was thinking more along ideological lines, but politically it would make sense also. I see this as an albatross that I'm sure Harper would like to rid himself of. If I was a CPC strategist, I would hold the vote in the fall, watch it fail, be done with it and concentrate on polishing the moderate label.

But that's just me though...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

If I was a CPC strategist, I would hold the vote in the fall, watch it fail, be done with it and concentrate on polishing the moderate label.

It will probably go down that way no matter when the vote is held.

Anonymous said...

Joanne - it's not the sources that are the problem. The problem is that Byfield's column was fundamentally dishonest: "oh look at this list of poor persecuted religious folk", and completely ignoring the context of each case. Bad journalism, horrendously simplistic presentation.

Please tell me why you think that each of the "persecuted" deserve to have their religious views trump other Canadians' rights.

Tell me why it's acceptable to have a guidance counsellor in a school that is a) openly hostile to gays and b) offering quack cures to his students?

Tell me why Bill Whatcott deserves the right to tell outright lies about gays and lesbians.

Tell me why Hugh Owen should be allowed to publish an ad citing a Bible verse that advocates the death penalty for gays.

Tell me why Catholic beliefs should extend to a dance on public property, outside of school or Church, and where the participants are in their late teens.

Tell me why it's acceptable to deny printing stationery because it contains the words "Lesbian and Gay Archives". Not porn, not propaganda - stationery.

Tell me why it's ok for a marriage commisioner to deny a civic marriage to a gay couple, yet ignore every other "religious" requirement for marriage like interfaith, remarriage and sacramental obligations.

Futhermore, tell me why religious freedom deserves to trump all other freedoms set out in the Charter.

Make your case.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Valiantmauz - Why don't you go to the source and write a letter to the editor? I didn't write the column.

counter-coulter said...

Joanne (True Blue) said...
Valiantmauz - Why don't you go to the source and write a letter to the editor? I didn't write the column.


I love it! You put up a post entitled In defence of defence of religions act wherein you cite this article's "examples" of so-called religious persecution. Valiantmauz comes along and catagorically shoots down all the examples, but instead of defending your position you play the "well...I didn't write it" card. Classic!

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you go to the source and write a letter to the editor? I didn't write the column."

How disingenuous.

Your post quoted the article extensively and approvingly, and went on to accuse those who oppose DORA of having willful blinders on.

I have proven - definitively, I think - that it is Byfield who is willfully blind, and by extension, you as well.

As this is your blog, it is your prerogative to ignore my information and my questions.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

CC - I offered it as some examples. Clearly you don't like them.

Nothing I can do about that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yup. That's me. disingenuous

Anonymous said...

I thought it was more polite than openly calling you dishonest. I do try to be polite.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Not a problem. I'll try to come up with some better examples.

Jake said...

If anyone doubts that we do need a Defense of Religions Act, just examine gay lobbyists like Laurie Aaron from EGALE were saying on TV interviews when the story broke. To paraphrase, it was something like: "How dare the Conservative government protect those who speak against gay marriage!".
Do you really need a translator? In plain english that means: "We deserve the right to jail anyone who speaks against homosexuality. It's our right. Don't dare take it away from us."
Could any other meaning be taken from Mr. Aaron's comments? What's even more scary is that the mainstream media echoed the exact same sentiment in their headlines: "Conservative government to protect opponents of same-sex marriage".

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jake, thanks for your input. Great point.

Good letter here from Alberta that is related to what you are saying.

This part is particularly well written:

"...Each new issue is the staging ground for the next. First we were assured that this was just about discrimination. Then it was equal benefits for gay couples, but not marriage. Next, it was marriage. And now it's public education and state-enforced punishment of any criticism..."

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Previous letter was written by Ted Morton, BTW.


Ah, yes. Here's the infamous editorial in the Leader-Post stating that "There is an argument to be made for allowing religious leaders leeway in criticizing homosexuality. Many religions have prescriptions against the practice and religious leaders should be permitted to publicly defend their religion's tenets. But extending that right to rank-and-file members of a religion goes too far."

Swift said...

The other side of the coin is the statements of sime of the more extreme gay spokesmen against heterosexuals that to me clearly are an attempt to promote hatred. Hate literature? not according to the gay spokesmen.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift, that's true. Bigotry can occur on either side; usually involving extremists.

Anonymous said...

From Diogenes' blog:


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Valiantmauz, knock the chip off your shoulder and you won't be weighed down so much.

8:56 PM


valiantmauz said...

Joanne, your indignation would be more credible if you applied yourself to answering some of the points I raised on your blog, rather than attacking me personally on another's.

Look: here's the blog: http://valiantmauz.blogspot.com

Fill yer boots and send your flying monkeys my way, if you're so inclined.

Otherwise, ya just look cranky.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

4. Hugh Owen cited Leviticus 20:13 in his ad. I believe that's the one that calls for homosexuals be put to death. Charming.

Valiantmauz - That could be interpreted to mean death of the soul, or the opposite of eternal salvation (from what I have heard).

Joanne (True Blue) said...

If they can't or don't discriminate over every other religious objection to a marriage (interfaith, remarriage of divorcees, sacramental obligations), why is it OK to discriminate against gays alone?

Indeed. In Manitoba they can "discriminate" over everything except gay marriage. You are well protected.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

By all means, associate the CPC with Bill Whatcott.

It was Ted Byfield who made the reference.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Please tell me why you think that each of the "persecuted" deserve to have their religious views trump other Canadians' rights.

Please tell me why you would want to force someone to perform a gay marriage when they were against it in their heart.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tell me why it's acceptable to have a guidance counsellor in a school that is a) openly hostile to gays and b) offering quack cures to his students?

I am sure that gay students could find an appropriate counsellor who would be sympathetic to their concerns.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tell me why Bill Whatcott deserves the right to tell outright lies about gays and lesbians.

So if someone says something that isn't true they should be fined?



Tell me why Catholic beliefs should extend to a dance on public property, outside of school or Church, and where the participants are in their late teens.

Because it is an affront to the faith, but as you know, the Church lost this one anyway.


Tell me why it's acceptable to deny printing stationery because it contains the words "Lesbian and Gay Archives". Not porn, not propaganda - stationery.

Why should anyone be forced to do a job that they fundamentally don't agree with?




Futhermore, tell me why religious freedom deserves to trump all other freedoms set out in the Charter.

I don't think anyone is looking for that. Equality is the target.

Now you make your case.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Beyond that, however, freedom of expression is not enhanced by allowing printers to scrutinize the contents of materials and deny printing services to viewpoints they disagree with. This would lead to censorship and a stifling of freedom of expression.

I wonder what a radical Muslim printer would do if given a job to print pro-Jewish literature or vice-versa. Would they be allowed to decline the job?