Category Archives: freedom of religious expression

GDPR chaos as churches stop prayer requests and charities prepare to halt meals on wheels

Friday’s data protection crackdown has sparked chaos as small companies, charities and religious organisations are misinterpreting the rules.

The new rules, called GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation, are designed to better protect consumers’ data and stop businesses bombarding them with unwanted marketing material.

Companies that break the rules can now be fined up to 4 per cent of their turnover by privacy watchdogs.

The goal of the GPDR is not the protection of personal information but the advancement of censorship.


Sorry, Justin. We won’t ‘just check the box.’

On Dec. 19, Canada’s Employment and Social Development Department announced a major change to its requirements for groups seeking federal funding under its Canada Summer Jobs program for youth employment. The program provides federal funding to entities—including small businesses and nonprofits such as charitable organizations—who hire students during the summer. The change has set off a firestorm in Canada that continues to this day.


Religious Intolerance Circles the Globe

Who persecutes whom, and how much: Open Doors releases its Top 50 list for 2018.

Religious intolerance is a global constant. The defeat of the Islamic State is good news, but persecutors were active before ISIS arose and persecutors will remain active despite the group’s collapse. In many nations freedom of conscience is seen as an existential threat.

Although common, even pervasive, religious persecution is complex. The most obvious form is government punishment of those who hold disfavored beliefs. Equally destructive, however, can be social intolerance, often backed by private violence and government indifference. In many nations both are present.


US targets 10 countries over religious freedom violations

The US State Department announced that it had re-designated 10 nations as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).

The 10 countries: China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are accused of having “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” The State Department says that the designation is annually made as a way to encourage other countries to join the US in “upholding high but universal standards.”


Religious Liberty Is Eroding in Canada. Here’s What Americans Should Learn.

Outside of watching the occasional hockey game or purchase of maple syrup, most Americans pay little attention to Canada.

We may know of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s colorful socks, but little of how unpopular he is among his constituency. We may discuss the single-payer health care system, but are unfamiliar with the government’s disrespect for religious liberty of our neighbors to the north.

Faithful patriots in this country who are concerned by the attacks on free exercise of religion in America should also be concerned by the similar attacks on liberty echoing within Canada, a country with strong protections for religious liberty in its Charter for Rights and Freedom.


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.


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.


Puzzled by leftists and Islamists working together?


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.”


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.


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.