Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Should all rights be protected or just some?

First of all I want to say that I am sick to death of the same-sex marriage debate.

I refuse to discuss this any further other than to say that there are certain religious rights that need to be defended. For example, if a priest or minister wishes to preach that homosexuality is a sin, they need to be able to do it. Otherwise, we no longer live in a democracy.

The opposition seems to think that this is discriminatory.

Since it is very unlikely that the existing legislation will be overturned, we need to make sure that certain rights are still protected - how far that will go is going to be the big issue.

If it is ruled that religious groups cannot say that homosexuality is morally wrong, then I hope there will also be a law stating that nobody can say that religious groups are morally wrong. That would mean no hate speech against Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever.

We will have to clear everything with Big Brother - which isn't such a stretch these days.


Mac said...

I always love seeing one MSM outlet using another MSM outlet as a source. It makes me wonder what reporters do all day?

To be honest, I don't like the idea of the proposed legislation if it truly as it is being presented in the media because it would be a reiteration of what's already covered in the Charter of Rights.

There is no "right" to marriage (same sex or otherwise) but there is a right to be free from discrimination and since marriage is available to other couples, it must therefore be available to same sex couples. There is also a right to religious freedom. So... how can a same sex couple force a religious marriage? Likewise, how can a religion deny sanctioning a marriage?

Both rights are fundamental ones yet, in this specific instance, they can conflict.

Now, let's take it one step further... Since marriage is licenced and regulated at the provincial level, should the federal government even be involved?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac, good points. I guess the issue here is more freedom of speech and religion than marriage, although it all seems to be linked at some level.

PGP said...

Stand back and watch the fireworks!

Once again we are being lumped into groups with "rights"!

Well you know where I stand on that so I won't bother to reiterate.

C. LaRoche said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm not debating SSM. Only religious rights and freedom of speech.

C. LaRoche said...

Sorry, I deleted the previous comment because it wasn't very clear and, after I re-read your post, a little off-topic.

In any case, the whole "hate speech" debate is very subjective. I feel people should be allowed to say what they want to say as long as there is some truth or reasoning in it. Insofar as saying homosexuality is wrong prevent gays from being marries, though, one can stray from discussing"speech" and/or expression over into actual legal ramifications.

In libel/slander law, there is something called the "rational defence" clause. Essentially this means you can say anything about anyone so long as it is A. True; or B. can be rationally defended. (For example, you can call a politican, or anyone, a hypocrit, if you can point out their hypocritical behaviour in court).

I'm not sure how the "rational defence" pov might apply to religious leaders who argue that calling homosexuals morally inferior or whatnot is defendable because an ancient book, when interpreted a certain way, says so. Churches occupy that strange space between private and public where, although we'd like to let them do as they please within their walls, they have to be somewhat responsible to the clauses in the Charter that guarantee us all basic religious freedoms.

Interesting issue.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche. Indeed. So you think there may be occasions when the State can dictate what is said or not said from the pulpit? If so, we may be entering a very dangerous era.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Without going too much into the debate, the proposed Defence of Religions Act (Haper denies it, Toews confims it) would be in reaction to the SSM issue.

Religion is already protected under the Charter so this is misleading. It's only a way to "legalize" a certain amount of bigotry.

Public servants have a duty to serve everyone. Churches already have the right to not perform SSM.

The proposal would effectively give protection to demonize an identifiable group. But if we where to push the issue somewhat, what would stop Jews from criticizing Catholics, or Muslims from criticizing women... Garth Turner has it right when he said it was a slippery slope..

liberal supporter said...

You might consider the Keegstra case. Assuming you do not agree with his antisemitic views, you can look at free speech from the other side.

It was a 4-3 Supreme Court decision against him. The court held:
"1. Communications which wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group are protected by s. 2(b) of the charter. Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code, therefore, represents an infringement of the charter."

So the charter allows hate speech. But the decision allowed Section 319 of the Criminal Code to stand, as a reasonable limit on freedom of speech. The article goes on to outline various ways he could have been allowed under section 319 to express these views.

valiantmauz said...

"Laroche. Indeed. So you think there may be occasions when the State can dictate what is said or not said from the pulpit? If so, we may be entering a very dangerous era."

And if it's an Imam preaching jihad in a mosque? I somehow doubt that the proponents of this law would be amenable to that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

And if it's an Imam preaching jihad in a mosque? I somehow doubt that the proponents of this law would be amenable to that.

So what do you think? Should the State allow that or not?

Daristotle said...

Rights multiply like rabbits and will always lead to conflicting rights. This is why philosophers have abandoned the theory of rights as an ethical system. Laws must be passed clarifying the inevitable conflict between rights.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This is why philosophers have abandoned the theory of rights as an ethical system.

So why are we so slow to catch on?

valiantmauz said...

Rights and freedoms in Canada

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Fundamental Freedoms

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

Well, Joanne - I suspect that one could argue that preaching jihad violates reasonable limits demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. So yes, under the Charter, I could see Parliament passing a law forbidding certain kinds of speech from any pulpit.

But let's be honest with ourselves, shall we? The proposed Defense of Religions Act is soley a reaction to same-sex marriage, and it's purpose is to specifically protect one kind of speech or action against one identifiable subset of Canadian citizenry. The Phelpses of Canada will use it to picket gay weddings faster than you can say "God hates ****". Bishop Fred Henry will no doubt revel in his specially protected right to pen nationally syndicated columns lumping gays in with paedophiles, pornography and prostitution.

He already has that right, and it's beyond unecessary to reiterate it with a superfluous law aimed squarely at gays. The law is revenge, plain and simple, although it will no doubt be presented as a grand and noble effort to uphold rights to freedom of speech, conscience, religion and fluffy kittens.

The Tories know that they're not likely able to rescind SSM laws, but they can for darn sure make it hard to get hitched in Buffalo Jump. From the Globe and Mail article, it's also clear they'd like to make it hard to rent a room in Buffalo Jump, as well.

The measures are also intended to protect the free-speech rights of religious leaders and others who criticize homosexual behaviour or refuse to do business with gay-rights organizations.

Emphasis mine.

How big a step is it from "gay organizations" to simply "gays"? Should Catholic principals in the public school system be allowed to refuse to hire gay teachers? I can accept, with reluctance, that they should have that right in the Separate school system. Outside of it - no way.

I can support a law that simply states that no religious organization should ever be forced to officiate in a wedding that violates their religious beliefs. Which, I should add, is already a right protected under the Charter, and a provincial matter to boot. The Tories are lying to their base when they suggest they can legislate matters properly belonging to the provinces.

As for Justices of the Peace - their job is to execute their duties according to the laws enacted by Parliament. A JP does not preside over a religious ceremony. A priest, pastor, rabbi, head witch or imam presides over religious ceremonies, typically on a property owned and operated by your cult of choice. Unless, of course, you are having the wedding clad in the light, knee-deep in a river, surrounded by oak trees. I don't know or care.

A JP in city hall or the local gym is not a religious officiant; he or she represents the state and should be expected to uphold the laws of the state, including solemnizing marriages they find religiously repugnant. Or will these same JP's suddenly have the right to refuse interfaith marriages, as priests do now?

Mac said...

Like I said, perhaps the Feds should step back from this one. Government intervention usually causes more problems than it solves.

Just a thought here... could this "Act" be exactly that- an act? Maybe the Conservatives are floating a policy balloon to see who shoots at it? OR this could be the heated imaginations of overzealous MSM types determined to create a story??

Swift said...

Status of women does not represent the views of many women(although they claim to represent them.) Gay rights groups do not represent the views of many gays(although they claim to represent them.) Personally I have known only one member of either group that agreed with their official spokesmen. Perhaps it is time to stop listening to these self appointed spokesmen from the radical fringe and start listening to the rest of the members of these groups.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift, that is an excellent suggestion!

...could this "Act" be exactly that- an act? Maybe the Conservatives are floating a policy balloon to see who shoots at it? OR this could be the heated imaginations of overzealous MSM types determined to create a story??

Mac, probably the latter. First of all, it isn't even a piece of legislation. It is possible that some of the concepts were "leaked", but if so, why would they "leak" anything to the Globe for crying out loud?

Just the facts please. That's want I'm waiting for.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Lots of stuff to chew on there, valiantmauz.

There is an interesting discussion going on at Garth's blog about this topic.

It seems that the Knights of Columbus challenge went in favour of the church-affiliated club here, but damages still had to be paid to the lesbian couple who complained.

Reference here.

Daristotle said...

Why are we so slow to catch on to the fact that the theory of rights is fatally flawed?

Most people have no interest in philosophy. How many people do you know that have taken a course in ethical theories? Philosophy has had a far greater influence on the world than most people realize. Hegel, a German philosopher, started a school of thought that led to fasc ism and communism.
Another reason you don't know about the flaws in the theory of rights is that philosophers have not developed a theory of ethics that is completely without flaws.
Syudying a philosophical piece of writing can be considered a three step process.
1. Understanding what the writer is saying.
2. Finding the writer's mistakes. (You always assume there are mistakes.)
3. Writing a piece on the subject without any mistakes.
Good luck on the last, you'll need it.

Red Tory said...

Perhaps it is time to stop listening to these self appointed spokesmen from the radical fringe and start listening to the rest of the members of these groups.

You mean like the 66% of Canadians who voted "progressive" but are now represented by the so-called "Conservatives"?

Mac said...

"Progressive", RT? Who are they? There used to be a major party called the Progressive Conservatives but they've changed their name. Try to keep up!!

Unless there's plans to merge LPC and NDP, such statistics are meaningless except for "sour grapes" observations.

Jay said...

I don't think any religious person should have to do it. I also agree they shouldn't rent church halls if they don't agree with it. It should stop there though because people will use the religion excuse even if they are not religious. They have a right to their beliefs and to the ability to say whatever they want to their community. My concern is this will allow them to make Television commercials which attacks me directly while watching my favorite show. Nor should they be able to call me a fag. Nor should they be able to say to my face " I don't agree with your lifestyle". Believe what you want but please don't project it at me.

I don't think any christian would like it if I went up to their face and started chopping them down with character assasination and challenging their beliefs while using nasty words.

I think this is fair.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jay, that seems quite reasonable to me. The problem is that the activists and militants want to take it to extremes.

I find it somewhat ironic that the gay militants actually end up increasing intolerance rather than decreasing it.

They are your worst enemy.

C. LaRoche said...

Joanne, if you want my honest opinion regarding the matter... I personally think the religious aspect of marriage and the legal aspect of marriage should be further separated. The state should ensure anyone can get legally married, period. The whole church business can then simply be an on top thing.

As far as the curch's freedom to say what it wants about homosexual groups -- sure, let it, within its own walls. But they should have to respect the same libel and slander rules the rest of us have to adhere to. That might put a dent in what they can or can't do outside the church walls.

Imans can preach in mosques, IMHO, so long as they aren't preaching something that is a collary of death and destruction. I think we should be pragmatic about this: what sort of speech actually threatens the existence of other individuals IN SOCIETY, and what sort of speech simply prevents those individuals from joining certain organizations?

Mac said...

Jay said... "Believe what you want but please don't project it at me."

What a wonderful thought. Many, many people could take that advice.

So since we're able to more-or-less resolve our differences around the SSM issue so amiably, why must governments and some religious groups work themselves into a lather about it? If people would just stop trying to impose their values on other people, life would be soooo much easier. Discussions would be much more civil and perhaps we'd grow as a society.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac - If people would just stop trying to impose their values on other people, life would be soooo much easier. Yes, indeed, and that would include school curriculum.

Laroche - You bring up many interesting points. I would like to see the government get out of the marriage business altogether. Civil unions for everyone.

Mac said...

Fundamentally, that's what we have, Jo.

All marriages are civil as in licenced and regulated by the province/territory in which they're conducted and performed by people who are registered/permitted by said province to conduct the ceremonies.

The fact some of those permitted individuals are also clergy doesn't change the nature of the union.

Mrs. Mac and I were married in the church which posed some unique problems because Mrs. Mac is Jewish (non-practicing). The minister insisted on doing a series of pre-marriage counseling sessions which wasn't really convenient but both of our families wanted a church wedding (especially mine) so we dutifully attended.

If we hadn't done so and the minister refused to marry us, would we have been justified in making a human rights complaint against him? I don't think so. We always had the choice to go with a strictly civil ceremony. We chose the church wedding and therefore we were bound to jump through the hoops presented by the minister. Likewise, if we had tried to wed in the Jewish faith, I doubt we could have done so without some major lifestyle changes which neither of us are willing to do... so it wasn't an option (not that we even considered it but I'm making a point)

Likewise with SSM. If a couple knows some churches don't endorse SSM, they have other options to achieve their goal (marriage) so to deliberately bait a particular church for their beliefs is inappropriate, IMHO.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac - Agreed.

"Mr. Jo" and I had to jump through similar hoops to get married in the Catholic church even though we were both Catholic! Pre-marital classes were a prerequisite. If you didn't attend, you were not allowed to get married. Period.