Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Defence of Religions Act: This needs to be stopped NOW.

Updated below
Back here, Dana warned of the gathering storm. A short time later I posted this, suggesting that while we were so busy projecting our so-called values in other countries, we were allowing the literalist-bible-interpreting Christians to infiltrate government and dismantle some of the very institutions which promote those values at home.

One of the comments was that it was "over the top".

Is it now?

This morning, Canadian Cynic makes another very similar comparison, in that unique CC style, and alerts us to more proof of Dana's prophesy.

What's causing eveyone's ears to perk up?


The Conservative government is planning measures, including a Defence of Religions Act, to allow public officials, such as Justices of the Peace, to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The measures are also intended to protect the free-speech rights of religious leaders and others who criticize homosexual behaviour or refuse to do business with gay-rights organizations, The Globe and Mail has learned.
Essentially, what the Conservatives intend is that if they lose a vote allowing them to re-open the same-sex marriage debate and the opportunity to repeal the law which allows same-sex marriage, they will find a way to keep the fire burning.

While refusing to discuss specifics, Justice Minister Vic Toews confirmed the government's intentions yesterday in an interview.

“The nature of the concerns that are being raised with me are relating to freedom of religion and freedom to practice religion [and] freedom of expression,” he said.

“The Prime Minister has indicated that he is bringing the matter forward — the issue of same-sex marriage — on a free vote. And there may be certain options open to the government as to what the response should be in either event, whether that opening is successful or not successful.”
In other words, the religious agenda is on the government's plate. And, a whole forkload of unpalatable religious crap is about to be shoved down the throats of Canadians, despite the fact that a majority Canadians do not object to same-sex marriage and consider the issue settled.

The former Liberal government said that existing laws and court rulings already protect the rights of religious groups not to be compelled to perform same-sex marriage.
Which would make any Defence of Religion law seem redundant. Except that isn't what this is all about. This legislation is about making gay-bashing, including death-threats, legal.

However, there is acknowledged uncertainty about the rights of individuals to publicly criticize homosexual behaviour, to take out advertisements that quote scripture demanding that homosexuals be put to death, or to refuse to do business with groups whose views an individual or group finds objectionable. (Emphasis mine)
Alison goes straight for the juglar on this one.

Why yes, there is an "acknowledged uncertainty" there, isn't there, Steve?That thin delicate ill-defined line separating religion and death threats.That illusive boundary between belief and hate speech.
Well said and enough to raise the alarm.

If this goes anywhere you had better assess how you fit in with the fundamentalist agenda. Once they've won the right to marginalize one group of Canadians they will take aim at any other citizens with whom their religious beliefs disagree.

Because one thing is clear: The Christian tolerance of the fundies is limited to those who get down on their knees with them and swallow, whole, all of their superstitious garbage.

Update: Canadian Cynic has pointed out that if this goes anywhere, turn about is fair play... or something like that.

Further Update: Now... Steve is denying the whole thing, saying there is no plan to enact legislation. He has to say that. He has the weakest minority government in the history of Canada and this little trial balloon just popped in his face. Vic Toews refused to talk about it any further and, in the Commons, dismissed the whole thing as "speculation". He then refused to answer questions. You know, the kinds that might have provided some clarity. Spokesman, Dimitris Soudas, says cabinet has seen no such proposal. Soudas is a spin-doctor - not an elected member of parliament.

I don't believe any of them.

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