Category Archives: freedom of religious expression

Opinion: “Free societies tolerate public expressions of faith, including Muslims praying in a park”

Read the whole thing:

On July 2, a controversy erupted over a group of Muslims praying in public at the Parc Safari zoo in Hemmingford, Quebec. According to one of the zoo’s spokespersons, the Muslims didn’t solicit other visitors, were not disrupting other guests or animals, and didn’t block any paths.

Nonetheless, some individuals objected to these Muslims praying in public after a video of their activities was posted on Facebook. Commentators posted statements like: “Can you just do this in your living room and not impose it on me please!” and “Go live your faith in your mosques, outside no one is interested.” Some went so far as to call for a boycott of the zoo.

Parc Safari president Jean-Pierre Ranger responded laudably to these comments. Having operated the zoo for the better part of 45 years, he said he was not about to change how he runs his business: “I’m very proud of what Parc Safari stands for and nobody is going to tell us how to behave, whether they’re Muslim or any other faith, or those do-gooders that think they can run the world.”

Yet, it’s troubling that some individuals fail to understand that a free society allows public expression of religious faith. The people who would like the government to ban strong criticism of Islam exhibit similar misunderstandings. While these two groups may have different reasons for wanting to limit expression, both are animated by a desire to restrict freedoms that Canadians enjoy.

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New book Under Siege looks at Canadian governments targeting Christians

From lawyer Don Hutchinson,

Don Hutchinson is a husband, father and grandfather who graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law a long time ago. The author of Under Siege: Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867-2017), Don is a strategic thinker and planner who has been a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1990. Not coincidentally, he is also a long time member and former board chair of Canada’s Christian Legal Fellowship. More.

The book is a compendium of religious freedom issues. Tellingly, Hutchinson writes,

Can you imagine the Supreme Court being the final authority on matters of religious belief and practice? How would they decide on the issue of holy communion: transubstantiation (the bread and wine of communion become the actual body and blood of Christ) vs. consubstantiation (the bread and wine co-exist with the body and blood of Christ in communion) vs. representation (the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ in communion) vs. using grape juice instead of wine vs. those Christians who practise a love feast with a full meal instead of just bread and wine/juice vs. those who do not practise sacramental communion in any manner? (P. 106)

Well, um, yes. We can imagine that. Parliament is setting out on that road this very day, slow but sure, with Bill M103.

The outcome will prove an excellent job opportunity for graduating, otherwise unemployable, campus social justice warriors.

Hutchinson will be speaking in Ottawa Saturday, April 1, 3:00 pm, at Greenbelt Baptist Church, 839 Shefford Road

Reality check: It’s an astonishing fact that the Canadian government is about to pass laws paving the way for a crackdown on “Islamophobia.” Essentially that amounts to criminalizing the repudiation of a religious belief.

Throngs of Christian airheads who claim to believe in freedom of religion voted Liberal. They, at least, deserve all this. What’s annoying is that many will treat the results as a persecution sent by God and compare themselves to genuinely persecuted ancestors. That’s shameful. Their plight will be the result of making churches into therapy groups and entertainment complexes full of people who just want to be liked and do not want to know what is happening.

As Anthony Furey explains, what rejecting Islamophobia really means:

A quarter of the countries in the world have some form of anti-blasphemy and apostasy laws, many of which are fuelled by a broad definition of Islamophobia. For too many of their citizens, opposing Islamophobia means locking up contrarian bloggers or cartoonists who draw the prophet. This is what we’re at risk of normalizing.

The motion was previously slated for second reading in April but is now set to appear in the House of Commons on Tuesday. The scheduling change means the fallout from M-103 will be drowned out by the federal budget, which will be tabled on Wednesday. More.

The Cool, who enjoy mocking Christians (and circumscribing their rights, cf Trinity Western), will soon discover how different mocking Islam will be. But they’ll accept that, of course, so long as they are allowed to continue to assault their preferred, easier targets. They have little to lose at first.

See also: Anti-Islamophobia legislation is just the beginning, of course.

and

Puzzled by leftists and Islamists working together?

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Europe’s free speech problem: A cautionary tale

July 14, 2016 (ThePublicDiscourse) — Immediately following last year’s same-sex marriage ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, Pennsylvania news site PennLive published an editorial explaining that “As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.” Such opposition was equated with “homophobia,” which in turn was equated with racism. All of which made the decision “Pretty Simple.” After a burst of public outcry the paper revised its policy and stated that letters to the editor on the issue of same-sex marriage would be allowed “for a limited time.”

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Manchester: Muslim Police Chief Says ‘Offending Culture, Religion And Tradition’ Not Protected As Free Speech

Chief Inspector Umer Khan made the statement on social media this weekend, and was immediately questioned by alarmed free speech campaigners.

He then apologised to those defending the right to be offensive for any “offence cause”, and argued that, “free speech should be used to promote tolerance & respect all.”

“[The statement regarding free speech] was a thought after a moving visit to Auschwitz”, he added.

When asked if Mr. Khan and the police force generally support the right to offend religious beliefs, the Greater Manchester Police press office told Breitbart London: “I don’t think we support anyone who would want to say anything offence[sic]”.

He’s been in the news before. ‘Race row cop loses job battle‘ and ‘Cop checked files on killer brother’. His brother was later convicted of an honour murder.

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University of Alberta’s $17,500 security fee on pro-life event gags free speech: anti-abortion club

A campus anti-abortion club says the University of Alberta is muzzling free speech by charging it a $17,500 “security fee” to stage a pro-life event.

UAlberta Pro-Life says it applied last month to set up a stationary educational display on campus Tuesday and Wednesday, showing ultrasound images of fetuses and photos of aborted ones.

But the registered campus club received notice from the U of A 11 days before the event that it had to pay $17,500 to cover the costs of providing security.

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Alberta’s Catholic schools face ‘watershed moment’ as trustees defy the bishops on gender policies: priest

EDMONTON, Alberta, January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — An Alberta Catholic school trustee and the chair of a Catholic school board believe that Catholic parents should not have been sent home a strongly worded letter from Calgary Bishop Fred Henry last week that denounced the NDP government’s new “gender identity” guidelines as “totalitarian” and “anti-Catholic.”

Edmonton Catholic school trustee Patricia Grell apologized on her blog last Friday after fellow school trustees voted to forward Bishop Henry’s letter to parents.

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N.Korea sentences Canadian pastor to hard labour for life: Report

SEOUL – North Korea’s highest court has sentenced a South Korea-born Canadian pastor to hard labour for life for subversion, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Hyeon Soo Lim, the head pastor at a Toronto church that is one of Canada’s largest, has been held by North Korea since February. He had appeared on North Korean state media earlier this year confessing to crimes against the state.

North Korea’s supreme court said Lim had attempted to overthrow the North Korean government and undermine its social system with “religious activities” for the past 18 years, Xinhua reported.

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Big win for Trinity Western: BC judge says ban on Christian law school infringes religious freedom

VANCOUVER, December 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Trinity Western University has won round three of its tumultuous battle with Canada’s legal profession, as the B.C. Supreme Court ruled today the province’s lawyers had violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they rejected in advance graduates of the Langley, B.C. Christian university’s proposed law school.

“The evidence in this case and the relevant precedents conclusively establish that the decision does infringe the petitioners’ Charter right to freedom of religion,” stated Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson.

Hinkson’s ruling echoed Nova Scotia judge Jaimie Campbell’s January decision to nullify a vote by the legal profession there to reject in advance and sight unseen all TWU law grads. The Ontario courts, however, upheld the decision by the legal profession of Canada’s most populous province also to reject TWU law grads.

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Canada’s 2015 report card on freedom of expression

From Pew research: In Washington, D.C., the Pew Research Center has released a new report about attitudes toward free expression around the world.

The 58-page report is titled Global Support for Principle of Free Expression, but Opposition to Some Forms of Free Speech.

Note:

“Roughly six-in-ten or more in the U.S. (77%), Canada (64%), Australia (62%), and the Philippines (59%) support allowing speech that is offensive to their own religious beliefs.”

A breakdown would be interesting here. Especially in view of:

”Roughly half or more in 27 of the 38 countries surveyed say the government should be able to prevent the media from publishing information about sensitive issues related to national security. This includes majorities in many of the publics that expressed widespread support for free speech and a free press on other topics, such as the U.K. (66% say government should be able to restrict), the U.S. (59%), Canada (56%) and France (54%).”

In short, all a religious group need do is create enough mayhem if it feels insulted that it becomes a national security issue, and support for freedom of expression about religion will melt away.

Reality check: When did you last waste time paying attention to media unable and unwilling to draw out the implications of this fact?

See also: Canadian U campuses show marginal intellectual freedom improvement

Hat tip:Franklin Carter at the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee

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Silencing Voice of the Nations in Yonge-Dundas Square is a ‘dagger in heart of free expression’

TORONTO – When does expressing your opinions and beliefs turn into proselytizing?

In Toronto, it depends on whether city bureaucrats like your message.

Yonge-Dundas Square is used by Muslims, Hindus, marijuana enthusiasts, the LGTBQ+ community, and many others, to proclaim their beliefs, share their culture, promote their lifestyle, and advocate for their cause.

Toronto typically takes a hands off approach to the actual content of the message being promoted at Yonge-Dundas Square.

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Leftists looking to reverse Bush-era policy on religious freedom

A policy created by President Bush that exempted religious organizations from non-discrimination policies in their hiring practices is under assault by far-left groups.

The policy, contained in a Justice Department memo from 2007, said that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, religious groups seeking federal grants were exempted from complying with non-discrimination laws in hiring.

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The ACLU Now Opposes Religious Freedom Because Christians Need It

The American Civil Liberties Union has formally reversed its support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signaling that the organization is no longer interested in mounting an ideologically consistent defense of all people of faith. It’s a disappointing retreat on principles for the ACLU, and the organization’s explanation suggests that a singular disdain for Christian belief is the reason.

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