Friday, August 26, 2005

Freedom of Speech/Religion Violations in Alberta

For a long time now, this situation with Bishop Henry of the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta has intrigued me. This Bishop has simply done his job as pastor of his flock, speaking out against gay marriage. There was a compalint filed by the homosexual community of Calgary, and now he must participate in a mediation process.

Arguments in favor of gay marriage aside, is this not a blatent violation of this Bishop's right to practice his religion? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a problem with a Bishop being tried by a Human Rights Tribunal for preaching the doctrines of his faith.


At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'd be comfortable saying categorically that someone shouldn't be called before a human rights tribunal just b/c the speech is a "doctrine of his faith" for speech that is meant to inspire hatred and bigotry shouldn't be permitted. Please don't overread what I'm saying. I don't think this is that kind of speech and I actually feel the the Church has made a great effort to foster a love for people of any sexual orientation. The problem is, as we have seen with reactions to homosexuals, is that misguided people will bastardize a complex teaching simply to further their own prejudiced designs. From the article it doesn't seem that this Bishop has done anything like that. But I don't think that it would always be inappropriate to hold people accountable for preaching doctrines of faith that would undermine basic human rights.

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous k.d. said...

Freedom of speech shouldn't undermine basic human rights so that censorship is OK in some instances? Certainly we admit of censorship when it is necessary for the good order of society but those instances are so rare you can almost count them on one hand (fighting words, clear and present danger, ect...) but isn't freedom of speech a basic human right - or at least a form of expression necessary for protecting it? The point is that the answer to speech that attacks the dignity of another is counter-speech - not censorship. To allow for anything else is veers dangeroulsy close to giving the government unfettered "licensing" discretion; government will "tolerate" views it likes and exclude those it does not.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I am not quite sure how one would classify this action by the government in Calgary.

Is it a violation of free speech in general? A violation of freedom of religion? Freedom of association? Political speech? Symbolic speech?

It's frightening on many levels. Government control of religion and speech is disturbing. I wonder if the homosexual community may have similar requirements enforced against it if it speaks out against Catholic priests or Bishops.



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