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Friday, April 25, 2008

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal strikes again

According to its website, Kitchener-based Christian Horizons is "Ontario's largest provider of developmental services." The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reports that the evangelical non-profit required its employees to sign a contract promising they would not have homosexual relationships.

When she was first hired by Christian Horizons, Connie Heintz, now 39, signed the contract like all other employees. However, after five years of employment, Heintz discovered she was a lesbian. The Human Rights Tribunal claims that after Christian Horizons found this out, they "required" her to leave the organization.  The Record states that she left voluntarily, after negative reactions from other employees and supervisors.

Heintz complained to the Human Rights Tribunal, which ruled just recently that Christian Horizons could not require its employees to sign the statement. According to the Tribunal, "the prohibition on homosexual relationships was not a legitimate job requirement for providing quality care and support to disabled residents."

From the Tribunal's press release:

In addition to awarding Ms. Heintz lost wages, general damages and damages for mental anguish, the decision sets out that Christian Horizons will: no longer require employees to sign a lifestyle and morality statement; develop anti-discrimination policies; provide training to all employees and managers; and review all of its employment policies to ensure that they are in compliance with the Code.

While on the surface this may appear to be another case in which the government is telling a private organization how to run its affairs, the Record claims that Christian Horizons receives $75 million annually from the province.

I suppose this is a question for libertarians, mainly:  does the fact that an organization receives public funding give the government greater latitude in regulating that organization's hiring policies? And, if so, to what extent?

Posted by Terrence Watson on April 25, 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

How the h--l do we end up paying ' damages ' ?
Would not Horizons have to be notified of a policy change , before they could be foung guilty of something ?
Of course now I understand how this would come about . Barbara Hall is the ' Commissioner'. A major league whining liberal of the 80`s , who would squeal like a rapacious swamp sow at the trough. Typical Toronto weenie.

Posted by: daveh | 2008-04-25 2:41:27 PM


So much for Ontario's record for tolerance!

These people have become an embarrassment and a costly liability. I vote to expel Ontario from Confederation for repeated and flagrant violations of human rights.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-04-25 3:09:25 PM


I vote to expel Ontario from Confederation for repeated and flagrant violations of human rights.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 25-Apr-08 3:09:25 PM

Where do you live again?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-04-25 3:20:36 PM


I vote to separate Toronto from Ontario and make it an Island of Insanity Principality with David Millar as Prince or whatever with Babs Hall as Handmaiden. Toss in Layton as the Jack of Knaves and the rest of the sundry Dippers who can serve the Royal Prince David in his Commie Court of Twits.

The rest of Ontario and Canada will be saved from the Socialist influence of Toronto's brain free voting pattern.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-04-25 3:22:40 PM


I'm still trying to get around the fact that she, after five years, "discovered she was a lesbian".
Can someone help me out here?? As far as the funding is concerned, look to Hamilton Ontario in 1992. A publically funded woman's shelter advertised for volunteers. The advirtisement specifically stated that only Lesbians would be considered.
And I agree with Liz J. I live in Ontario and the
policies that affect us here bear no resemblance to the majority of our political philosophy.
Toronto is nothing more than a cesspit of Left-Wing Socialists. Unfortunately, they are directing
their agenda throughout the province.

Posted by: gerry | 2008-04-25 3:41:48 PM


Terrence,

"I suppose this is a question for libertarians, mainly: does the fact that an organization receives public funding give the government greater latitude in regulating that organization's hiring policies? And, if so, to what extent?"

The correct libertarian answer is this:

(1) The organization should not be getting public funding in the first place and should be free to make whatever conditions of hiring they want,

But on the assumption that funding them is a legitimate option, the answer is:

(2) He who has the gold makes the rules for receiving that money. So the government could legitimately make eliminating the requirement to sign the statement a condition of continuing to receive the money. But they cannot use the fact that they give money as an excuse to impose restrictions on them.

So for a libertarian there is no scenario in which the government can force Christian Horizons to change their hiring policies.


But the libertarians are wrong on this and it was a good decision to make Christian Horizons pay Heintz.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-04-25 3:52:52 PM


I was employed by Trinity Western Univ. for many years. There we were able to demonstrate that certain beliefs, and the concurrent lifestyle requirements, were necessary to doing the job; therefore, we were exempted from certain provisions of the Human Rights Code; e.g., we hired only Christians. The same was true when I was at King's Univ. College in Edmonton, which receives some funding from Alberta. Clearly, Christian Horizons failed to make the argument that being a lesbian made the employee unqualified to do her job.

Posted by: John R. Sutherland | 2008-04-25 4:08:48 PM


Hi Fact Check,

I agree completely about the two libertarian answers... and, to be honest, I also agree that this decision was probably a good one.

Best,

Terrence

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-04-25 5:32:55 PM


Liz, very funny.

Fact Check, I think you hit the nail on the head with the Libertarian perspectives. However, you call the libertarians wrong for supporting those perspectives. As you obviously are aware of, the libertarian does not wish to impose their beliefs on anyone else. Freedom is the goal and the libertarian would defend that freedom for you, me, or Connie Heintz.

The decision is morally wrong.

Posted by: TM | 2008-04-25 10:09:42 PM


Fact Check wrote: "But the libertarians are wrong on this and it was a good decision to make Christian Horizons pay Heintz."

That's a very bold statement, FC, coming as it does without any attempt at explanation or justification whatsoever. I say the decision was wrong. What have you accomplished that I just didn't? Nothing.

So Christian Horizons is receiving money from the government. Where do you think the government received the money? Who do you think politicians running for office get their funding from? ALL funding in this country is ultimately private in origin. Using this logic, those who pay taxes or donate to political campaigns should have a veto on each dollar spent. But they don't. So why should the government?

Government is supposed to be IMPARTIAL, not ACTIVIST. Their job is to administrate, not to agitate.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-26 9:45:05 AM


TM
Libertarians do want to impose their beliefs on people. They want to impose the belief that everybody should be left to their own devices. However I have yet to meet a libertarian who didn't have exceptions to that rule. General ones include defence of the country. Which indicates that libertarians are in favour of others dieing for that their freedom. Also it raises some issues about excluding people from the country based on arbitrary borders.
As for morally wrong. No.
The person paying the piper has a right to call the tune. The fact that the funding was from the population as a whole means that the organisation with its hand out should not exclude a portion of the population from employment.
Shane
That's why we elect a government to monitor the purse strings and pay for our services.
And the fact that they run campaigns and include mean they are activists by definition. Creating laws is also activist by definition.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-26 11:40:03 AM


TM
Libertarians do want to impose their beliefs on people. They want to impose the belief that everybody should be left to their own devices. However I have yet to meet a libertarian who didn't have exceptions to that rule. General ones include defence of the country. Which indicates that libertarians are in favour of others dieing for that their freedom. Also it raises some issues about excluding people from the country based on arbitrary borders.
As for morally wrong. No.
The person paying the piper has a right to call the tune. The fact that the funding was from the population as a whole means that the organisation with its hand out should not exclude a portion of the population from employment.
Shane
That's why we elect a government to monitor the purse strings and pay for our services.
And the fact that they run campaigns and include mean they are activists by definition. Creating laws is also activist by definition.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-26 11:44:36 AM


Actually, Harebell, you're quite wrong. The creation of laws is administrative by nature and not an act of activism, which is defined as "direct action taken against an organization or government for the purpose of effecting change." Activism, by definition, is anti-democratic, as the activists are saying in effect: "We know more people voted for option A, but we want option B, and unlike the people who voted for option A, we're not leaving your doorstep until we get option B."

By the way, if you're going to target organizations receiving public funding for an overzealous implementation of anti-discrimination laws, that means you'll also have to allow men to work in battered women's shelters. You'll have to allow pacifists to work in the armed forces, and you'll have to allow anarchists to work for the police and the courts, provided they have the qualifications of course.

See how silly this can get?

You can defend rights until the cows come home, you can interpret the Charter until you're blue in the face, but the sad truth is that Christian Horizons got punished for an act of political incorrectness by a latter-day Star Chamber with a 100% conviction rate who thinks that freedom of speech is an American import and that we morally superior Canadians should be above that sort of thing.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-26 1:09:56 PM


Harebell,

Some Libertarians do not believe in the exceptions you suggest, though most do. But imposing the belief that everyone shhould be left to their own devices is an interesting twist. I don't want you telling me what to do, and in turn I will not tell you what to do. That is not imposing on you.

Regarding dying for my country, even if I did support the idea that people die for my freedoms, it makes me no different than pretty well everyone else. However, I do not trust governments so would rarely support them sending someone to die for my freedoms.

Regarding open borders and immigration and borders, some libertarians do not agree with the left or right. I for one do not believe in restricting your right to associate with whom you want. That includes hiring anyone you want, marrying anyone you want, or firing anyone you want (for any reason). In a competitive world it is the racists, intolerants, "anti immigrants" that suffer compared to their more tolerant competitors.

Posted by: TM | 2008-04-26 2:21:27 PM


"...the Record claims that Christian Horizons receives $75 million annually from the province."

...the borrower is servant to the lender.

Gotta pay the piper.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2008-04-26 8:05:03 PM


Shane
Did the person sacked not fulfill their function admirably? The only reason for dismissal I can see is what they do away from work in their own home.
The examples you state vis a vis pacifists in the military etc are only serving as red herrings. If an anarchist carries out the duties of their oath then why should they not be a bobby? (might mean they are a peculiar anarchist though)
The person dismissed from xtian horizons was fired not because she couldn't do the job but rather for something else completely.You have a strange view of "a reasonable claim for dismissal"
You also have a strange way of constructing an argument, fallacies have no place in logic.
TM
Yep that's the problem with labels, not all of the supposed in-group is actually "in".
As for imposing the ideology of self reliance: A true "fend for yourself" ideology is not in existence and any move to change to that idea as a basis for society would involve imposing change on that society. Some folk might not like that and it would have to be enforced.
As for the karma like nature of your final paragraph, I only wish.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-27 12:11:31 AM


Harebell wrote: “Did the person sacked not fulfill their function admirably? The only reason for dismissal I can see is what they do away from work in their own home.”

If this person had been charged with molesting children in her basement (note that I said “charged,” not “convicted”) and been sacked for that, with the same good work record, I doubt you’d lift so much as an eyebrow in her defence, Harebell. If a person’s on-job performance is the only relevant criteria, you’d have to entertain this scenario as well. But tell me, think it would fly with the HRC?

Harebell wrote: “The examples you state vis a vis pacifists in the military etc are only serving as red herrings.”

Says who and based on what?

Harebell wrote: “If an anarchist carries out the duties of their oath then why should they not be a bobby? (might mean they are a peculiar anarchist though)”

Because the hiring officer says so. I’ve got news for you, Harebell; the person signing the cheques still has a say over who to hire and why. Skin colour is not a relevant factor in determining eligibility, but personality and adherence to company culture certainly are.

Harebell wrote: “The person dismissed from xtian horizons was fired not because she couldn't do the job but rather for something else completely.”

And she knew those conditions going in. Nor do I buy that she “suddenly discovered she was a lesbian.” Can she prove that she was not a lesbian before and therefore in violation of the policy as soon as she signed her name to it? Why does only her word count?

Harebell wrote: “You have a strange view of ‘a reasonable claim for dismissal.’”

And you have a strange view of company responsibility to employees: namely, that they are required to hire the first qualified person who offers his services.

Harebell wrote: “You also have a strange way of constructing an argument, fallacies have no place in logic.”

But illustrative examples certainly do. You’ve done a good job of dissing them, but a miserable job of actually rebutting them. Your answers contain more moral outrage than logic and insight.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-27 8:41:40 PM


Tomax7 wrote: "The borrower is servant to the lender."

Only for the sum owed.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-27 8:42:18 PM


Shane
Deep breath buddy
Last philosophy class and debate instruction I took straw men and extreme examples (aka straw men) and red herrings were supposed to be ignored.
Legally the lady did nothing wrong. The difference between taking advantage of young children and engaging in meaningful relationships between adults might be out with your intelligence but grown ups know the difference.
Please! Your attempts to conflate issues only serve to illustrate your arguments have no merit.
If you are going to argue try and stick to the issues.
She was professionally competent and carried out her duties, who she exchanged fluids with in bed had nothing to do with anything.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-27 9:48:33 PM


Harebell wrote: “Last philosophy class and debate instruction I took straw men and extreme examples (aka straw men) and red herrings were supposed to be ignored.”

That still leaves you with the burden of proving that my examples actually WERE straw men and red herrings. It’s not enough just for you to say it, boyo; you have to prove it. Last debate instruction *I* took.


Harebell wrote: “Legally the lady did nothing wrong.”

Unless she signed the contract knowing she was a lesbian and therefore acted in bad faith. It is interesting that you felt the need to qualify your remark. Legally, Christian Horizons did nothing wrong either—otherwise this would have been settled in a real court with real judges and lawyers and not in this latter-day Star Chamber, where truth is irrelevant and the rules of evidence do not apply.

Harebell wrote: “The difference between taking advantage of young children and engaging in meaningful relationships between adults might be out with your intelligence but grown ups know the difference.”

Don’t try to eel your way out of it, Harebell. The point was that, in practice if not in theory, what you do after hours DOES have an impact on your career, and in certain instances you’re fine with that. You’re okay if the person gets turfed for doing something after hours that disgusts you. But you’re far more ambivalent if they do something that disgusts not you but somebody else.

Harebell wrote: “Please! Your attempts to conflate issues only serve to illustrate your arguments have no merit.”

You’re dancing. That is a tactic of shysters, not educated philosophers and debaters.

Harebell wrote: “If you are going to argue try and stick to the issues.”

The issue is whether off-the-job activity ought to impact employment and whether it is acceptable for this to be written into the contract at the outset. I’ve made my case. You have done nothing but take umbrage.

Harebell wrote: “She was professionally competent and carried out her duties, who she exchanged fluids with in bed had nothing to do with anything.”

A blanket statement that curiously does NOT exclude children. I’m not saying she did, but I remind you of your remark above. By the way, I look in vain in the initiating post for any mention of this woman’s on-the-job performance, apart from the HRC’s claim that she was a “model employee”—and since the HRC is stacked with old activists (none of whom is a judge and few if any of whom are even lawyers), their impartiality is suspect. Do you have independent proof she was a good worker, or are you just assuming that because it makes it look better for you?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-27 10:40:20 PM


Shane said
"A blanket statement that curiously does NOT exclude children. I’m not saying she did, but I remind you of your remark above."

Really, that's what you do read every sentence as a stand alone. You even quoted me:
Harebell wrote: “The difference between taking advantage of young children and engaging in meaningful relationships between adults might be out with your intelligence but grown ups know the difference.”

So no it wasn't really a blanket statement was it? Shane at the best disingenuous describes your argument. If that's how you do things wow, you seriously need to grow up.

I fear for the future of honest debate.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-28 11:40:22 PM


As a supporter of gay rights I intuitively feel that this decision is right, but I can also see why this organization would think that they could not employ someone whose lifestyle contradicts their view of "Christian values" (of course, I don't agree with that, but that's a whole other topic).

Shane - you seem to have been the one putting the most thought into this, so if you could explain your position a bit more to me, I'd really appreciate it.
How, in your view, could the government continue to give millions of dollars in funding to an organization who is discriminating against employees based on an enumerated Charter ground? Is it a case of "freedom of religion" trumps equality? Are you thinking that this type of behavior is saved by section 1? Or are you one of the people who thinks that we should scrap the whole Charter?

You also made a "bad faith" argument and implied that she had "lied" when she signed the employment contract. But really - in most employment situations you aren't even allowed to ask these kinds of questions. If the asking of the question was a violation of her rights, then the contract is void anyway. And besides, how exactly could she go about "proving" that she was not a lesbian before she started working there? You can't "prove" a negative.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 7:42:18 AM


Harebell, if an absolute statement like "who she exchanged fluids with in bed had nothing to do with anything" doesn't qualify as an absolute statement, the word has no meaning. That "who" could be a man, a woman, a child, or even a sheep(!) My point was that depending on who it is, it can impact your career--and, depending on who it is (a child for instance), you wouldn't have a problem with it.

If she had found something YOU found despicable, you wouldn't have a problem canning her. But because she did something only CHRISTIANS find despicable, whoah, we've got RIGHTS to protect.

Quit pretending to be so dense. You understand the point--you just don't want to acknowledge it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-29 8:07:41 AM


Angela wrote: “As a supporter of gay rights I intuitively feel that this decision is right, but I can also see why this organization would think that they could not employ someone whose lifestyle contradicts their view of "Christian values" (of course, I don't agree with that, but that's a whole other topic).”

Gay rights does not automatically mean that gays can broach contracts with impunity, nor does it morally excuse them from signing contracts they know, or ought to know, they will not be able to honour. Faith-based organizations are generally staffed by people of the faith, or failing that, those who will at least abide by its restrictions. Why would anyone want to work for an organizations whose values are at odds with her own?

Angela wrote: “Shane - you seem to have been the one putting the most thought into this, so if you could explain your position a bit more to me, I'd really appreciate it. How, in your view, could the government continue to give millions of dollars in funding to an organization who is discriminating against employees based on an enumerated Charter ground? Is it a case of "freedom of religion" trumps equality? Are you thinking that this type of behavior is saved by section 1? Or are you one of the people who thinks that we should scrap the whole Charter?”

First of all, Angela, the preamble to the Charter recognizes “the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” So if you want to take a strictly legal interpretation, that inclusion puts a whole new wrinkle on all that follows, since the Scriptures of all three Abrahamic faiths who acknowledge God as their Deity have outlawed homosexuality from time immemorial. Don’t laugh—liberals have won court cases with far less. As for Section One, it is too vague to be of any value whatsoever—as the framers intended.

Angela wrote: “You also made a "bad faith" argument and implied that she had "lied" when she signed the employment contract. But really - in most employment situations you aren't even allowed to ask these kinds of questions. If the asking of the question was a violation of her rights, then the contract is void anyway. And besides, how exactly could she go about "proving" that she was not a lesbian before she started working there? You can't "prove" a negative.”

People don’t generally just “decide” to become lesbians. I do know that there is less evidence of a genetic link for lesbianism than there is for homosexuality, and that lesbianism is often a more intellectual choice tainted with a marked distaste for men (unlike homosexuals, who often get on with women just fine), but it’s not like an on/off switch. Barring the onset of some medical condition, this woman would have known her sexuality was at least ambiguous when she signed, which means she signed IN BAD FAITH. She had NO intention of honouring the contract, no matter which way the needle ended up pointing, which makes it, and therefore her employment, void. If you don’t agree with the contract, if you think it’s a violation of your rights, THEN DON’T SIGN IT.

As for “asking the question is a violation of her rights,” don’t make me laugh. If it is, so are the speech codes, sex codes, dress codes, and numerous other restrictions that permeate all careers from the boardroom to the university campus, whose usefulness and efficacy is at least as nebulous as the desire of Christians to maintain Christian ideals in their institutions.

And while we’re on the subject, the HRC’s recent assault on free speech is, in itself, an affront to the Charter. But then, free speech is, well, so AMERICAN.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-29 8:26:03 AM


"First of all, Angela, the preamble to the Charter recognizes “the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” So if you want to take a strictly legal interpretation, that inclusion puts a whole new wrinkle on all that follows, since the Scriptures of all three Abrahamic faiths who acknowledge God as their Deity have outlawed homosexuality from time immemorial."

Yes, that whole "supremacy of God" thing really should be fixed. I'm not convinced, though, that being religious means that you have to be homophobic. Cheri DiNovo, the MPP for my area, is a United Church Minister and was very supportive of the ruling in this case.

As for your statements about lesbians in general and what this woman was thinking in particular, that's really nothing but stereotypes and conjecture. No one knows what her intentions were but her.

"As for “asking the question is a violation of her rights,” don’t make me laugh. If it is, so are the speech codes, sex codes, dress codes, and numerous other restrictions that permeate all careers from the boardroom to the university campus, whose usefulness and efficacy is at least as nebulous as the desire of Christians to maintain Christian ideals in their institutions."

How is a dress code analagous to making someone promise they will not engage in a homosexual relationship? Did I miss the section of the charter that guarantees the right to wear capri pants?

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 8:47:38 AM


Angela:

Being a dyke does not give anybody a right to be Christophobic.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 9:29:31 AM


SYF:

Ignorant red-neck slur: Check!
Pointless non sequitur: Check!

I wouldn't expect anything less.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 9:37:08 AM


Angela:

Just responding in kind to your use of the term homophobic.

And, your expected name-calling reaction straight from the victim playbook has not disappointed me.

Next move ... file a Human Rights Commission complaint.

BTW. The United Church has clearly demonstrated it is a political party masquerading as a religion.

The fact a so-called minister has run for public office as an MPP only serves to emphasize that point.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 9:50:02 AM


Glad I didn't disappoint you, SYF.

I'm not sure what point you think you're making. Who, exactly, is being "Christophobic dyke"? Connie Heintz is a lesbian, but also a Christian. The OHRC adjudicator is a man, so I'm assuming you wouldn't use that particular slur to refer to him. I'm not Christian, but I'm also not a lesbian.

If you object to my use of the term "homophobic", try articulating that in a more coherent, less puerile way.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 9:57:54 AM


Angela:

Speaking of purile. Your original use of the word homophobic is somehow not purile? Why? Because it's OK for you to use it? DId you not forget nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah nyah-na?

For the record, I could care less who's licking or sticking you.

And also the record, I ain't afeared of no homos (if that's what the word homophobic implies). There, that redneck enough for you?

Allow me to cite another example of how contract law has been skewed.

The Catholic Church has a rule of celibacy for its priests. So, when a priest takes his vows, he understands what the conditions of employment are.

Should he then act out his pedophilic urges despite his promise to be celibate, is it the fault of the Church that he broke his vows?

In this case, the US church administration has been rightfully criticized for not defrocking the offending priests.

So, when a charitable organization based on certain principles hires an employee, the employer assumes that employee to understand the tenets of that particular viewpoint.

It was the employee's own actions that broke the employer/employee trust by making a choice that contradicted the tenets.

Not a choice? Then what other bodily functions does this person have difficulty controlling?

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 10:22:53 AM


SYF:

"Homophobia" is defined as: "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals"

So I thought it was fitting, given the context. If you'd like to suggest a different word to describe your feelings towards homosexuals, I'm all ears.


"For the record, I could care less who's licking or sticking you."

Charming.

"The Catholic Church has a rule of celibacy for its priests. So, when a priest takes his vows, he understands what the conditions of employment are.
Should he then act out his pedophilic urges despite his promise to be celibate, is it the fault of the Church that he broke his vows?"

The difference is that child abuse is a crime. Being gay isn't. The role of a priest is to serve as a spiritual guide and mentor to his congregation. A priest who is sexually abusing children cannot fill that roll. Therefore, their action are such that they can no longer do their job. This woman's private life did not impair her ability to do her job.

And yes, SYF, you're more than redneck enough for me.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 10:36:27 AM


Angela:

To set the record straight, you did not use the word homophobic in response to anything that I posted. I think you've got your sequences and time frames mixed up.

And, what do you know about my feelings toward homosexuals?

For example, I'm not afraid of my sister-in-law or my wife's cousin, one of the longest surviving AIDS patients in Canada. I'm unsure whether they're afraid of me or not, but that's irrelevant and if they are afraid of me, does that make them straightophobic?

I'm noticing you issue a bunch of self-righteous garbage about how people should conduct themselves that any control freak would be proud of.

You're not the boss of me, so quit acting like you are. Cut out the juvenile attempts at guilt-tripping. It's always more productive when issues are discussed on a philosophical plane, above the personal.

I don't know much about Christian Horizons, but it seems like a genuinely compassionate group and, if it's like most other denominations outside the pick-and-choose boutique religions like the United Church, it does have a particular viewpoint on the sanctity of human life.

The perpetuation of the human race is a biological fact recognized by most legitimate religious movements and since there can be no natural-born offsprings through homosexual relationships ...

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 11:00:46 AM


Angela wrote: “Yes, that whole ‘supremacy of God’ thing really should be fixed.”

Don’t show your bias, Angela. How is being a Christophobe better than being a homophobe? (You will then have decided to hate a far larger percentage of the population.) Strange how you earlier asked me, with a touch of disdain, if I was “one of those” who wanted to abolish the Charter, but you can’t get past the first paragraph without coughing and saying, “Hmm, they really screwed up”? Interesting.

Angela wrote: “I'm not convinced, though, that being religious means that you have to be homophobic. Cheri DiNovo, the MPP for my area, is a United Church Minister and was very supportive of the ruling in this case.”

Homophobia is fear of gay people. Neither the Church nor I fear gay people. We simply don’t condone their sexual behaviour. Or are certain behaviours now above reproach, by statute?

Angela wrote: “As for your statements about lesbians in general and what this woman was thinking in particular, that's really nothing but stereotypes and conjecture. No one knows what her intentions were but her.”

Intent is inferred all the time in law, Angela. That’s what allow people to be charged with varying degrees of offences like murder. People don’t go from AC to DC in five seconds dead, or even five years.

Angela wrote: "How is a dress code analagous to making someone promise they will not engage in a homosexual relationship? Did I miss the section of the charter that guarantees the right to wear capri pants?”

To use your own argument, it’s completely irrelevant to the qualifications they bring to the table and a spurious and unnecessary infringement on their freedoms. A dress code, in effect, compels people to “promise” they will not dress a certain way. In fact, dress codes have been the focus of constitutional challenges as well.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-29 11:05:40 AM


"To set the record straight, you did not use the word homophobic in response to anything that I posted."

I initially used it to refer to the behavior of the employer. Because we're talking about a case of alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the definition of "homophobia" includes discrimination. I extended this definition to you upon your use of the word "dyke" which is generally considered to be pejorative. If you do not, in fact, have any negative feelings towards gay people then I was wrong.

"You're not the boss of me, so quit acting like you are. Cut out the juvenile attempts at guilt-tripping."

I certainly wasn't trying to be the "boss of you", SYF. I was trying to have a mature discussion about an issue that is of interest to me. Clearly it's not going well.

Shane-

"Don’t show your bias, Angela. How is being a Christophobe better than being a homophobe? (You will then have decided to hate a far larger percentage of the population.) Strange how you earlier asked me, with a touch of disdain, if I was “one of those” who wanted to abolish the Charter, but you can’t get past the first paragraph without coughing and saying, “Hmm, they really screwed up”? Interesting."

I don't consider myself a "Christophobe", Shane, although you're free to disagree. I simply meant that this type of reference to God does not, in my opinion, belong in our legislation. Separation of Church and State and all that. And I meant no "disdain" when I asked if you wanted to abolish the Charter. Although I think it is generally a good idea, I have heard people make well reasoned arguments as to why it's either unnecessary or downright harmful.

"Homophobia is fear of gay people. Neither the Church nor I fear gay people. We simply don’t condone their sexual behaviour. Or are certain behaviours now above reproach, by statute?"

Aversion and discrimination are also encompassed by "homophobia". "Not condoning" someone's behavior is one thing; firing and humiliating them is another.

"People don’t go from AC to DC in five seconds dead, or even five years."

Again, you have nothing to back this up. It's just your opinion.

"A dress code, in effect, compels people to “promise” they will not dress a certain way. In fact, dress codes have been the focus of constitutional challenges as well."

But asking someone to dress a certain way (ie. to wear a suit instead of jeans) does not infringe on any enumerated charter grounds. Big difference.


Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 11:43:06 AM


Shane
wow you really can't follow my point that the whole post was the statement, the sentence you chose to isolate was part of the argument, one premise among many. They build up one on the other to make an argument.
You said:
"If she had found something YOU found despicable, you wouldn't have a problem canning her. But because she did something only CHRISTIANS find despicable, whoah, we've got RIGHTS to protect."
You know me this well, how?????
Projecting does not qualify as a valid premise.

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-29 12:37:29 PM


Harebell:

It's kinda like Angela projecting homophobia onto the employers.

How the hell would she know if anybody else fears homos?

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 12:42:44 PM


Since you seem to be having difficulty with this, SYF, I'll repeat:

"I initially used it (the word "homophobia") to refer to the behavior of the employer. Because we're talking about a case of alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the definition of "homophobia" includes discrimination"

I don't recall saying that anyone was fearful of gay people.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-29 2:18:08 PM


Angela wrote: “I don't consider myself a "Christophobe", Shane, although you're free to disagree. I simply meant that this type of reference to God does not, in my opinion, belong in our legislation. Separation of Church and State and all that.”

Separation of Church and state means that the Church is not part of the government. That doesn’t mean our laws cannot have a religious origin, and let’s face it, Judeo-Christian Scripture has had a profound effect on the shaping of our laws. It also doesn’t outlaw religions having their own rules, excluding those who won’t comply by the rules, or the government funding religion or religious institutions. It just means the Church has no say in how the country is run. That’s it. That’s all.

Angela wrote: “And I meant no "disdain" when I asked if you wanted to abolish the Charter. Although I think it is generally a good idea, I have heard people make well reasoned arguments as to why it's either unnecessary or downright harmful.”

As written the Charter is fine, although the omission of property rights is a rather glaring flaw. What I object to is when activist judges and lawyers take overly creative interpretations thereof. Suicide bombers use an offbeat interpretation of the Q’uran to justify their acts, but that doesn’t make the Book itself bad.

Angela wrote: “Aversion and discrimination are also encompassed by "homophobia".

In the PC dictionary, maybe. This isn’t the first word whose meaning activists have tried to interpret as broadly as possible. The word’s proper meaning is clear from its etymology, “homo” meaning “same” (in this case, “same sex”), and “phobia” meaning “fear.”

Angela wrote: "Not condoning someone's behavior is one thing; firing and humiliating them is another.”

How was she humiliated? Note that how she chooses to respond emotionally to the acts of another are not the other’s fault, unless the other’s intent was specifically to cause that distress. So was it?

Angela wrote: “[In response to: ‘People don’t go from AC to DC in five seconds dead, or even five years.’] Again, you have nothing to back this up. It's just your opinion.”

How about three years of pre-med and twenty years of studying how the brain works? What do you have to counter that? Self-righteousness?

Angela wrote: “But asking someone to dress a certain way (ie. to wear a suit instead of jeans) does not infringe on any enumerated charter grounds. Big difference.”

Sexual orientation is NOT an enumerated Charter right; it does NOT appear anywhere in the Charter’s language, even in Section 15. It was “read in,” via creative interpretation, by judges thirty years after the Charter was written, to the probable horror of many of its framers. Moreover, asking someone to dress a certain way CAN infringe on the ENUMERATED Charter right of freedom of religion, if said religion requires a certain mode of dress.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-29 2:50:45 PM


I know you that well, Harebell, because you all but said that you do not find sleeping with the same sex as despicable as sleeping with children. Accused me of overheating the discussion by even bringing the subject up, and all that.

Here's something gay boosters fail to consider: Yes, the laws against homosexuality were the result of a 3,000-year-old taboo. So is sleeping with children, sleeping with animals, and sleeping with members of your own family. The law against polygamy is also the result of a taboo going back to ancient times. Violating these taboos does no physical and (depending on social conditioning) no mental harm to anyone.

So why is only the first taboo now defunct, considered obsolete, even dirty and reprehensible, while all the rest continue in full force and still retain their original EWW-WW factor? Can anyone give me a LOGICAL reason why this should be?

Gays are like pot smokers--they'd probably get a lot more respect, and have gained broader acceptance much quicker, if so many of them didn't come across as hedonistic, self-indulgent sybarites.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-29 3:00:30 PM


Shane:

Interesting how some self-righteous posters throw around words they do not even know the meaning to, projecting onto other people something they could not possibly know about them.

Keep up the good fight, bud.

Got to sign off for a while.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-29 3:50:10 PM


Interesting how conservatives immediately throw out child abuse whenever talk turns to sexuality. Why would that be? Usually because they cannot be rational and so it's time to throw out their version of Godwin's Law.
Anytime anybody discusses homosexuality... la.. la.. la.. slippery slope, la.. la.. sex with children.
Shane why can't you separate out consensual sex between adults from paedophilia?
As I used the plural above another one of you is the guy Evans of Calgary who links sites with names similar to his adversaries that he, himself purchased with the nambla site.
Is it a conservative central office tactic to avoid talking about gay issues, that you should link them to every red herring in the book?

Posted by: Harebell | 2008-04-30 12:03:23 AM


Agreed, Harebell. It's very tiresome that paedophilia gets tied to homosexuality so often. Sex between consenting adults on one hand...abuse of a vulnerable child on the other...not quite the same thing.

"Separation of Church and state means that the Church is not part of the government. That doesn’t mean our laws cannot have a religious origin, and let’s face it, Judeo-Christian Scripture has had a profound effect on the shaping of our laws. It also doesn’t outlaw religions having their own rules, excluding those who won’t comply by the rules, or the government funding religion or religious institutions. It just means the Church has no say in how the country is run. That’s it. That’s all."

I have no problem with our laws coinciding with some values that one may deem "Christian". I just don't think that a reference to "God" specifically is necessary. That's it. And you're right, since religious freedom is protected churches are permitted, within reason, to have their own rules. But there has to be some balancing of interests, particularly when an organization is receiving government funding.

"In the PC dictionary, maybe. This isn’t the first word whose meaning activists have tried to interpret as broadly as possible. The word’s proper meaning is clear from its etymology, “homo” meaning “same” (in this case, “same sex”), and “phobia” meaning “fear.”"

Etymology isn't always the best way to figure out a word's meaning, Shane. If you break down "agoraphobia" it means "fear of the market place" but the disorder means "fear of going outside". I'm using the word as I outlined above. Feel free to substitute a different word in your head that means "fear and/or aversion and/or discrimination" . It makes no difference to me.

"How about three years of pre-med and twenty years of studying how the brain works? What do you have to counter that? Self-righteousness?"

Studying how the brain works in what capacity, Shane? Are you a psychiatrist? A neurologist? I did my undergraduate work in psychology but I certainly don't think that qualifies me to speak on this matter with any authority. Besides, it's very difficult to "counter" your assertion, because you haven't provided me with anything concrete to counter.

"Sexual orientation is NOT an enumerated Charter right; it does NOT appear anywhere in the Charter’s language, even in Section 15. It was “read in,” via creative interpretation, by judges thirty years after the Charter was written, to the probable horror of many of its framers."

You got me there, Shane. I misspoke. It's an analogous ground, not an enumerated ground, but the effect in law is the same. All the same, I like to think that those who crafted this document would not be "horrified" at all. Constitutions are supposed to be able to adapt to an ever-changing society.

SYF,

It's interesting how you feel the need to throw around passive-aggressive remarks instead of addressing me directly.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-30 7:47:51 AM


Angela:

Just commenting on your control-freak, self-righteous style.

Some day, you'll make a great member of the Central Committee.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-30 8:44:34 AM


Harebell, you don’t seem to have paid the question any attention whatever. I quite specifically stated that the taboos against homosexuality and those against child abuse stem from exactly the same root. The Hebrews were disgusted by the Egyptian practice of incest (or what appeared to be incest, since ancient Egyptian family structures could be very confusing) that they outlawed it.

To compare homosexuality to child molestation is thus perfectly valid, because the traditional distaste for both (and the current distaste for the latter) have a common cultural and historical source. And you still haven’t answered the question.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-30 9:00:42 AM


You may not think the reference to God is necessary, Angela, but that doesn’t mean it should be removed. A Charter amendment is an enormously difficult undertaking, more difficult even than a Constitutional Amendment in the United States (itself no mean feat). If politicians are afraid to reopen the case over the desperately overdue issue of modernizing the Senate, who do you think is going to go to all the trouble because a few humanists can’t get past the Preamble without hurling their tofu?

Furthermore, there does not need to be any balancing of “interests” between Church and State; the two entities perform different entities. The state’s job is to administrate, and that government governs best which governs least (provided basic essentials such as infrastructure, personal security, and law and order are provided). And reasonable exceptions to Charter rights are a fact of life, else we could not function. Discriminating against men in women’s washrooms and vice versa is one; there is no reason why a given faith discriminating against those who practice acts contrary to that faith should not be another. In today’s world the Church and its institutions are easy to avoid, with nothing lost except, perhaps, salvation.

As to how I know how the brain works, I’ve been burying myself in medical and psychology textbooks since I was seven years old. (I am now 38.) I also took three years of pre-medical training. That’s a cut above the “psychology” they teach at university, often taken only because it’s so easy to pass. I also lived with two gay roommates and we had several frank discussions about “coming out.” And now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor and realized that I don’t dislike gay people even though I disapprove of their lifestyle, I’ll tell you that being gay should not deny you access to employment in most cases. But if the institution you’re working for is a religious institution and the faith requires you to follow certain rules, that is different. If they say you wear a habit, you wear a habit. If they say you practice celibacy, you practice celibacy. If they say you wear a dagger or a burqa or a turban, you wear the dagger or the burqa or the turban. To quote Benedictine: “If thou canst observe it, enter; but if thou canst not, depart freely.”

Finally, I don’t take the “living tree” approach to Constitutions. Constitutions are meant to provide fundamental laws that are not to be broken, not to serve as a piece of feel-good taffy to be stretched to the breaking point at the whim of the lastest political fad. An inferred right is NOT the same as an enumerated right, because it is subject to judicial review and revocation at any time, whereas a written Charter right is not. All-powerful as Canada’s judges often look like they think they are, even they must bow to the letter of the Charter.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-30 9:27:36 AM


"Furthermore, there does not need to be any balancing of “interests” between Church and State; the two entities perform different entities."

I wasn't talking about a balancing of interests between church and state, Shane. I was talking about achieving a balance between "freedom of religion" and "equality" which is something the courts have had to do a great deal of in the past few years.

"And reasonable exceptions to Charter rights are a fact of life, else we could not function. Discriminating against men in women’s washrooms and vice versa is one; there is no reason why a given faith discriminating against those who practice acts contrary to that faith should not be another."

There absolutely are reasonable exceptions to Charter rights. In cases such as this, finding for Connie Heintz could be seen as a "reasonable infringement" on the freedom of religion of Christian Horizons, or finding for Christian Horizons could be seen as a "reasonable infringement" on the equality rights of Connie Heintz. This is what I'm talking about when I refer to a balancing of interests.

"As to how I know how the brain works, I’ve been burying myself in medical and psychology textbooks since I was seven years old. (I am now 38.) I also took three years of pre-medical training. That’s a cut above the “psychology” they teach at university, often taken only because it’s so easy to pass."

Good for you, Shane. But forgive me if I still don't blindly accept your assertions regarding the intimate workings of the homosexual mind. If you'd care to quote a paper or something written by a medical professional, I'd be interested to read it.

"I also lived with two gay roommates and we had several frank discussions about “coming out.” And now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor and realized that I don’t dislike gay people even though I disapprove of their lifestyle..."

I'm not that easy to shock, Shane. Since you weren't throwing around hateful slurs the way SYF was, I wouldn't have assumed that you hated gay people.

"I’ll tell you that being gay should not deny you access to employment in most cases. But if the institution you’re working for is a religious institution and the faith requires you to follow certain rules, that is different."

Scroll up to my first post Shane. I started with:
"As a supporter of gay rights I intuitively feel that this decision is right, but I can also see why this organization would think that they could not employ someone whose lifestyle contradicts their view of "Christian values""
I recognize that this isn't a black and white issue. While our views on this are different, I'm inclined to think they're not polar opposites.

"Finally, I don’t take the “living tree” approach to Constitutions."

But judges do, and they're the ones who make the decisions. Like my issue with the "God" reference in the Charter, what we think makes no difference whatsoever.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-30 9:54:51 AM


Angela:

Could you provide me with an example of what you attribute to me as ‘hateful slurs' against homosexuals?

Please try and curb your runaway imagination and stop projecting.

Like Shane, I have cited examples of homos in my life. My sister-in-law and my wife's cousin, one of the longest surviving AIDS patients in Canada.

In case you missed it, I specifially said I was not afraid (phobic) of either of them.

I don't know where you get off with your misrepresentations. Either they're deliberate or you're pretty thick.


Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-30 10:05:56 AM


SYF,

Do you know what "projection" means? It doesn't really apply in this situation.

I'm getting tired of repeating myself, so for the very last time - I have told you what "homophobic" means to me, and I am not implying that you are necessarily "scared" of gay people. I consider both "dyke" and "homo" to be outdated, hateful words and I think it's wrong to use them. The fact that your wife's cousin is gay doesn't really change my mind. I'm sure you think that I'm being ridiculously PC and that's fine - we're free to disagree with each other.

Posted by: Angela | 2008-04-30 10:23:08 AM


SOME judges take the "living tree" approach, Angela, certainly those appointed by Canada's "natural governing party." However, in recent years there has been a backlash towards this type of thinking; Canadians seem to think the legacy of the 60s (when most of these judges grew up) has gone too far, and as political as well as economic capital continues to shift westward we are likely to a see many changes...including on the Court of Queen's Bench. Ontario is supposed to become a "have not" province in 2011, did you know that? So we've now got one, maybe two "have" provinces supporting nine or ten "have nots." All the have-nots are east of Lake of the Woods. Interestingly, so are most of the Liberal voters.

As for quoting you something "written by a medical professional," let me ask you this. If we were discussing auto mechanics or construction, you wouldn't insist on something peer-reviewed. You'd just ask for someone experienced in the subject matter. So what makes this subject different? Frankly, I'm growing increasingly distrustful of studies, because it seems that each new generation of graduates tries to make a name for themselves by refuting the works of those who came before. I've seen so many reversals in the last ten years it's difficult to know where consensus lies, or if there even is any. To this must be added the increased politicization of science, and gay rights are as political as it gets.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-04-30 11:58:56 AM


Angela:

If you're so easily by the word homo, they I'd suggest you stop using the curious term ... homophobic.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-04-30 12:06:09 PM



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