Faith Faith-based bigotry seeks state support
have been a practising Catholic my whole life, despite the church's indefensible
positions on contraception, the role of women and divorce, and despite the widespread
sex-abuse scandals. I believe that we, the people, are the church, not the out-of-touch
hierarchy ... At Sunday mass, when we were invited to sign Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic's
antigay-marriage petition to Parliament, I realized I cannot remain silent, I
cannot in good conscience attend mass at that church any longer, and I may not
be able find a spiritual home in any parish in Toronto." Ellen Hodnett,
The Globe and Mail, Aug. 20, 2003
centuries, theologians and the Church used to consider women as being less human
than men because of ignorance about reproduction. No one would dare suggest such
a concept now. For centuries the Church tolerated slavery, and, once again, no
one would dare suggest such a concept now... If Parliament and the Supreme Court
agree to law reforms that will give the country same-sex marriage, it will be
only one more example of the state respecting the individualís freedom to chose
without impinging on the freedom of churches or other faith communities to do
their best to persuade people to behave otherwise. This should not offend churches
and other faith communities." Rev. Scott Gale, St. Andrew's Roman Catholic
Church, Thunder Bay, The Chronicle-Journal, Aug. 20, 2003
a motion, dated August 13, 2003, the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family
filed a notice of application for leave to appeal the June
10th Court of Appeal for Ontario decision that introduced same-sex marriage
Interfaith Coalition is comprised of:
Islamic Society of North America
Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic Civil Rights League
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
coalition objects to the "sudden and profound" introduction of same-sex
marriage, stating that the decision "has created significant confusion in
the Canadian polity". The court, they claim, erred by treating marriage "as
though it were an ordinary common law rule", which of course it is. We are
unaware of special uncommon law rules.
Interfaith Coalition claims that if the Court of Appeal for Ontario decision is
allowed to stand, it will "unreasonably fetter Parliament's ability to choose
among alternative, constitutionally viable legislative regimes". They also
claim that religious freedom is at risk (which most thoughtful Canadians know
is untrue). Has a Catholic church ever been forced to marry a divorcee?
to this coalition, the decision will "alienate clergy who can no longer,
in good conscience, act as agents of the state in solemnizing marriages, and ostracize
religious adherents out of full participation in Canadian life."
faith-based bigotry will no longer by supported by the state, and that is the
real problem for these folks.
decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal will have a major impact, both in the
Canadian faith communities represented by the applicant and for all Canadians."
time it will become more and more unacceptable to denigrate homosexuals, just
as it is no longer acceptable to speak of racial minority groups in the way these
groups speak of gays and lesbians.
an affidavit from the Coalition, Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada cites Catholic
Studies director Daniel Cere's comment: "legal affirmation of same-sex marriage
will lead to fundamental disconnect between religious communities and the law
on the question of marriage."
Catholic Church wants state law and church dogma to be one and the same. If that
were so, we would not have divorce in Canada, nor birth control. Condoms would
be illegal and HIV/AIDS would reach the horrific levels of Africa, here in Canada.
then cites Ernest Caparros, professor of law at the University of Ottawa to claim
that it is not possible "to view civil marriage as completely distinct from
religious marriage given the intermeshed nature of the civil and religious interrelationship
will be a surprise to many who seek, or have had, a civil marriage. According
to these religious extremists, no marriage is non-religious. Furthermore, allowing
gays to marry "will necessarily exclude us from our own institution as a
result of our religious faith and traditions."
essence, the document claims that if we're allowed in the pool, the people this
Coalition claims to represent will no longer swim. But gays and lesbians have
been marrying in Ontario since June. We are unaware of any Catholic weddings that
been cancelled as a result.
outrageous of all, these intolerant people claim that the Canadian tradition of
tolerance would be harmed. You see, faith-based bigots may be seen as "un-Canadian"
or "anti-Canadian", leading to negative reactions if they espoused their
anti-gay beliefs in public.
duh! Yes, bigotry is increasingly becoming inappropriate in society. The day has
indeed arrived where it is unacceptable to speak of gays and lesbians in the same
way that these groups spoke of blacks in years gone by, thankfully. Faith-based
bigots can no longer expect to see their views validated by democratic, constitutional
can they expect stores to be closed on Sunday, or interest fees and alcohol to
be banned, nor can they enjoy public beheadings or maiming, and Canadian women
are free to appear in public without a veil, despite the rules of these religious
groups. Thank god.
will always be free to spout their views, as long as they are not promoting hatred
(where applicable by law!). But they can no longer expect our government to echo
their distasteful outlook on life. The public sphere is being cleansed of their
polluting influence, and soon too, their own faith communities will take on the
task of purging prejudice from their own midst.
Supreme Court of Canada should stop coddling this group of meddlers. Their voices
have been heard time and time again, and they have been solidly and consistently
rejected. Their appeal should not be entertained. Three provinces and ten justices
have already spoken.
coalition has nothing to fear, but themselves. Their ignorance and prejudice will
continue to harm their reputations and their well-being, until they recognize
their own failures and correct their ways. So it has always been, as we make progress
in our collective spiritual and social development.