Canada and Free Speech

A few days ago BK post on this blog about Questions about homosexuality and silencing Christians in Canada. Unforunately, the article from the Minnesota Star Tribune had already gone stale dated, and could no longer be accessed. BK then said "I would like some insight from anyone who has any personal knowledge or experience as to what is going on in the Great White North."

Well, I not only live in the Great White North (aka Canada), but I live in the diocese of Bishop Fred Henry, about whom the original article was written. Are Christians being silenced on the issue of homosexual rights, and same sex marriage laws? Here is a listing of some of the stories that either have, or are now, working their way through Canadian courts and Human Rights Tribunals:

Human Rights Complaint Filed Against Catholic Bishop for Defence of Traditional Marriage. This complaint is based upon a letter Bishop Henry circulated to the parishes of his own dioceses(!!) It is now working its way through the system.

From Religious freedom under attack in Canada:

Chris Kempling is a secondary-school teacher, employed as a counsellor since 1990, who was denounced by the B.C. Teachers Federation for supposedly discriminating against “gays.” He was suspended from his duties for writing letters to the editor of his local newspaper opposing homosexual practices...

There is Bill Whatcott, recently fined $20,000 by his provincial Nurses Association in Saskatchewan for speaking out against homosexuality. Also in Saskatchewan, Hugh Owen was convicted and fined in 2001 by the Saskatchewan HRC for placing a newspaper ad with Biblical references (not even the actual verses) condemning sodomy. Thus the Bible became “hate-literature” (by the Saskatchewan provincial court). In Ontario, printer Scott Brockie was convicted and heavily fined in 1996 by the Ontario HRC for refusing to print materials for the Gay and Lesbian Archives. It cost him $15,000 in legal fees. In PEI, a couple who refused to rent a room in their Bed and Breakfast to homosexuals eventually had to close down their business. An Alberta Protestant pastor, currently under HRC investigation for a newspaper letter (my note: it was a letter to the editor in which he talks about the medical risks of homosexual activity), had a fundraising dinner disrupted by an invasion of “gay” activists...

In 2001, the private Christian Trinity Western University in Langham, B.C., spent $1.5 million on legal fees in an effort to have their teachers’ certification recognized. It had been originally denied because the university prohibits immoral sexual conduct by their students (this included the prohibition against heterosexual students living together with members of the opposite sex, as well as practicing homosexual students). Their principal adversary in the case was the B.C. College of Teachers, the same body which today continues with its persecution of Kempling...

In Ontario in May 2002 homosexual student Marc Hall, with the help of a “gay” lawyer and a provincial MPP successfully forced his Catholic high-school to allow him to bring his “boyfriend” to the graduation prom. In this case, young Mr. Hall also had the support of the Catholic Teachers’ Union (Hall v. Powers, 2002)! An appeal is still pending.

In Manitoba the Winnipeg School District has forbidden its schools the use of four Christian camps for their students. This move was instigated by yet another HRC case (not yet settled) in which the Mennonite Camp Ames is being sued for “discrimination” on refusing a booking from a “gay” choir...

While Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler claimed, in December 2004, that no one would be forced to officiate at a homosexual marriage, civilian commissioners—many of whom have religious convictions—were being dismissed by the provinces which have jurisdiction over the administration of marriages. Already some have been forced to resign in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland.

Church property does not seem to be immune either, as the Coquitlam B.C. Knights of Columbus found out in December 2004. They are being sued by a pair of lesbians for refusing a hall rental for their “wedding reception.”

...In the spring of 2004 Bishop Henry was called by a Calgary Revenue Canada agent—and ordered to remove the pastoral letter from his website on grounds that an election had been called. The bishop pointed out that his letter was in no way partisan—it named neither persons nor parties—and that he had a right to inform his faithful. He flatly rejected the demand.

Father Raymond deSouza (originally from my home parish, now living in Ontario) wrote a powerful article on the ongoing destruction of freedom of religion and freedom of speech in Canada around the issue of homosexual rights. That article can be found under the title Thinly Disguised Totalitarianism. I strongly recommend it to anyone that wants to know what is happening in our great country. What is happening to Bishop Henry is not an isolated incident. It makes the most news, I suppose, because he is an outspoken, and very high profile bishop of the Catholic Church. I wish I could say that things are getting better up here, but I am afraid that they are not.



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