4.01.2005

There ought to be a law say social conservatives

As predicted here earlier today (it wasn't hard to do) Lifesite a social conservative Christian news service had this to say about the Bishop Henry today with respect to the news he was facing a human rights complaint in Alberta ...

Despite Lawsuits Bishop Henry Refusing to Back Down 'One Iota' on Homosexual "Marriage"

"CALGARY, March 31, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Even in the face of two human rights complaints, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry is refusing to back down over his pastoral and public statements on same-sex marriage, in which he faithfully presented the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality."
I love the headline. Henry is not facing a lawsuit. Its a Human Rights commission. The last paragraph in Lifesite's report is interesting too...

"The bishop presented to the media a meticulous legal defense saying, "Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are foundational, and if we're to have an honest debate in society, all the voices have to be heard, including that of the churches. I think I'm owed an apology for putting me through this rigmarole of harassment and intimidation and attempt to silence me."
Comments from posters to right wing blog Western Standard


"I would like to know what risks the two complainants exposed themselves to. There has to be sort of restriction imposed to discourage lodging frivolous actions with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Maybe some sort of "good faith" bond. (Pardon the seeming though unintended, pun). I support Bishop Henry completely on this issue would like to see him lodge a
counter complaint."

and then this ...

"... simply treat every HR complaint as an HR violation itself. And in this case, it certainly is. The purpose of the complaint in this case is quite clearly to suppress public debate by terrorizing citizens into silence with the threat of legal consequences for holding and expressing unauthorized opinions.

Should be interesting. I suspect the best Bishop Henry can expect is to have the HR Star Chamber simply choose to not deal with the complaint. That sort of things has been done before. But to have them come right out and say that the plaintiffs are wrong and abusing the system, and that this wretched Catholic actually does have the right to participate in the affairs of his society may be too much to hope for."


There will be many more right wing Christian calls for justice, and end to so called "Star Chambers". What do they want, a return to the days of the inquisitions?

Cheers to My Blagh for pointing Western Standard link to me!

For more on same-sex marriage, gay rights, Bishop Henry and social conservatives use the technorati search box in the sidebar.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick. You could call them what they really are, hyocrites.

Anonymous said...

Human Rights tribunal complaints are not lawsuits but they are legal proceedings, as the tribunals have authority to punish, usually in the form of fines. The Roman Catholic bishop has the financial means to pay lawyers to protect him. But when rich lawyers target individuals like Scott Brockie who lack the financial means to defend himself, then HR complaints become a form of harrassment by the postmaterialist wealthy against the less well off.

More fundamentally, it's a sign of an unfree and decadent society where these sorts of measures are so easily taken. If Bishop Henry's statements are so offensive, why not wage a public relations campaign against him? Why not picket his offices? Hand out pamphlets to his parishioners?

Because it's become the Canadian way to sue. That's much easier. More American too, I would add.

Rick Barnes said...

I accept that some people may have a hard time defending themselves in courts or before human rights tribunals. I wish the tribunals were not needed. Yet every political party in Canada supports their existence due to people that would trample on others rights.

Most tribunal decisions can be appealed to the provincial high courts in Canada, thus allowing for those that feel they were wronged can seek justice they feel they were denied.

Money will always be a problem and in Canada if you have money you don't serve time.

As far as the complaints filed against Bishop Henry, they seem legit to me. If the commission finds he did not break any human rights he will be cleared.

The other actions you suggested are great and I expect some people are doing those.

Anonymous said...

Except what you missed was that lodging human rights complaints should be *last*, not *first* in order of tactics. The inclination to lodge a complaint first results from a legalistic understanding of politics that ultimately undermines freedom of speech for all. Part of the reason why activists go this route is, well, it's just easier than waging a public campaign and actually making public arguments, especially if you're a lawyer. But that's no excuse I'm afraid.

When lawyers get involved like this, it undermines democracy especially when they attack those others like Brockie whom I mentioned in the 1st post.

Also, you haven't explained why Henry's action is deserving of a human rights complaint. I'm not saying I agree with his extremely vague statement that the state use its coercive powers against homosexuality. His failure to specify what he meant by that was irresponsible. Even so, I do not see how it rises to the level of an actionable offense.

Think of it in reverse. Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said recently that churches should stay out of politics. As a Minister of the Crown, he has much more coercive authority than Bishop Henry could ever yield. Do you think a human rights complaint should be made against Mr. Pettigrew because here's a Minister of the Crown telling an identifiable group that they have no legitimate role to play in public debate? Pettigrew, unlike Henry, is actually in a position to wield coercive power. Do you think Pettigrew's actions less dangerous than Bishop Henry's statements?

Rick Barnes said...

I suspect Bishop Henry will have opportunity to explain himself before the hearing.

I am neither supporting nor condeming the human rights complaints that have been filed. I support the right to file them and the system is good at weeding out those that should not go forward.

Finally so many social conservatives are claiming the complaints against the Bishop are because he dared speak out against gay marriage. Nothing could further from the truth.

If speaking out against gay marriage were the issue, I suspect many many more people would have complaints filed. That has not been the case in Canada.

The Brockie case in Ontario was stupid on his part. If you have a public business then you have to serve the public, even people you don't like.

Those defending Brockie missed the point albeit on purpose. Brockie refused to print the letterhead for a gay group. The Human rights commission found he violated the groups right to services and fined him $5,000. I suspect many of those that supported him paid the fine.

Look at another way. If Brockie won businesses would be free to say no to a political party, or to people of another race or sex.

Then where would we all be?

Anonymous said...

I think you're right about Brockie. The Ontario HRC ruled against him because he refused their business on the basis that the complainants were gay, not because he objected to their political views. The jury's still out whether the HRC would go so far as to fine him for rejecting them on that basis.

Even so, you still haven't explained why you think the complaint against Henry is justified. Simply because he uttered an opinion that over 35 years ago was the law of the government of Canada?