Tag Archives: Religious Rights

Lawyers See Dollar Signs, Speak Appropriately

Vancouver Sun – The rules that allowed a Vancouver Catholic high school to sideline a lesbian teacher after her lifestyle became an issue have been in place for decades across the country and have been upheld by Canada’s highest court.

But labour and employment lawyers said Thursday it may be time for the Supreme Court of Canada to revisit the issue of how religious rights and freedoms can in some cases trump individual human rights.

Not To Mention Show Trials And Great Big Bags Of Money

Sify – Tibetan spiritual guru the Dalai Lama here Wednesday said the ethos of global brotherhood, compassion and love hold the key to protection of human rights.

Sacré Bleu: Quebec’s Human Rights Oracle Lays Down The Law

Toronto Star – Women wearing religious face coverings aren’t entitled to special treatment when receiving certain government services, the Quebec human rights commission said in a report likely to bolster attempts to curb religious accommodations in the province.

Latest Pronouncement From Quebec’s Human Rights Oracle

Globe and Mail – Quebec’s Health Insurance Board has no obligation to accommodate demands made by women who wear the niqab according to the province’s Human Rights Commission.

If a woman wearing a niqab requests that she be served by a woman rather than a man in the identification process to obtain a health insurance card, officials can refuse her request because according to the Human Rights Commission the client’s religious rights aren’t being violated in any “significant” way.

British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal: Discrimination In Temple OK

[Vancouver Sun] The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint by two members of the Indo-Canadian community who were denied membership in a Burnaby Sikh temple because of their social ranking in India’s caste system.

The 900 members of the Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha Temple belong to the lowest group, Dalits, formerly referred to as “untouchables” and often considered outside the caste system altogether. Sahota and Shergill are from the jat caste, which is traditionally a land-owning class in the Punjab and now makes up much of Metro Vancouver’s Sikh community.

The decision, released this week, was hailed as an affirmation of temple members’ right to gather as a “minority within a minority,” said spokesman Jai Birdi.

“Since the decision has come out, the members are feeling quite empowered by it,” he said. “They’re feeling that this really reinforces their ability to come together as a marginalized community from India to talk about their heritage and historical unresolved issues and come up with some strategies for moving forward.”

The rest.

Another UK Bishop: Religious Communities Deserve Their Own Legal Systems

[Religious Intelligence] Religious communities should be allowed to uphold their own legal systems when they are not in conflict with human rights, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has said.

The Rt Rev John Packer told a debate on the rule of law in the House of Lords that it is important religious communities, including Islam, are “not denied the right to uphold ethical and moral standards where they do not infringe basic human rights”.

The rest.

When Human Rights Collide

More on the Religion/Speech/Sex Rights trifecta. Hey, don’t blame the tribunals. They’re just doing the job you pay them to do.

[Chronicle Herald] HOW FAR are the human rights thought police willing to go in this country?

Just watch them.

In Alberta last month, a government human rights apparatchik slapped a lifetime gag on an evangelical pastor, legally prohibiting him from ever again publicly expressing – via publishing, radio, public speech, e-mail or other Internet use – anything “disparaging” on homosexuality, regardless of whether his views are based on honestly held religious beliefs.

Think about that one for a moment. Stephen Boissoin, the target of the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal’s May 30 ruling, has been told by the state he cannot – for the rest of his life – publicly utter a word that could be considered insulting to gays, even if he’s quoting from Christian Scripture.

The rest.

Activist Complainant: Speaking In Public OK, Just Don’t Dare Put It In Writing

More from the When Human Rights Collide file.

[Toronto Sun] Wells adds the commission has not been fair in giving him a full opportunity to argue his case because he was only allowed to file three pages of information to back up his complaint and argues there is much more to consider.

He argues the material on the magazine’s website “does not represent Catholic teaching” and wants the human rights commission to proceed with his complaint expeditiously.

“It’s hateful, discriminatory and it has to be challenged,” argues Wells, who adds the controversy is not about religious freedom.

I don’t care what they say from their pulpit,” he says. “But when they put hate messages or messages that are likely to expose minority groups to hatred or contempt, it’s against the human rights legislation.”

The rest.

Celebrating The Decline Of Dogma-Spouting Zealots

[Xtra] A recent poll shows that only 72 percent of Canadians believe in a god. Twenty-three percent don’t believe in a deity and six percent had no opinion.

Now 72 percent may still sound like a lot, but in the US the number of non-believers — or independents, as I prefer to label them — is only eight percent. What that means is that Canada — Stephen Harper and his evangelical acolytes to the contrary — is much less in thrall to dogma-spouting religious zealots than our southern neighbours.

And the news from the poll — conducted by Canadian Press/Harris-Decima — gets better…

The rest.

Hey, We’re Hated, Too

[Canwest] A new report that shows blacks and Jews are most likely to be the victims of hate crimes in Canada is flawed, according to the leader of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

The Statistics Canada study, released on Monday, relies mostly on research by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics and uses police-reported data on the race, religion and sexual orientation of victims of hate-motivated incidents, ranging from property crimes to violent crimes.

Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the [Canadian Islamic Congress], said hate crimes against Muslims are often misfiled by police because it’s difficult to question someone’s religion, thus skewing the numbers.

The rest.

When Human Rights Collide

A trifecta. Free speech vs Religious Rights vs Gay Rights.

A Canadian human rights tribunal ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report.

The rest.

Catholic Bishop: Sex Rights Have Trumped Religious Rights, But Maybe We Can Still Help

A letter from the When Human Rights Collide file:

[Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue, June 2, 2008]

My dear people,

I write about the future of Catholic Caring Services in the Diocese of Lancaster, in the light of the implementation of the Government’s Sexual Orientation Regulations(within the Equality Act [2006]). This must be one of the most difficult letters I have ever written as your Bishop. I am being forced to act because of the Trustees’ view (8-2) that we have no choice, if we are to remain in the work of adoption, but to accept homosexual and lesbian partnerships for the adoption of children.

In the event of Catholic Caring Services not being able to continue in adoption work then I would hope that the Diocese would be in a position to set up an adoption group to canvass prospective adopters and support them following adoption.

The rest.

When Human Rights Collide

Yet more from the Sex/Religion file. Noticing a trend yet?

[Star Phoenix] A Saskatchewan human rights tribunal has fined a Regina marriage commissioner $2,500 after finding he discriminated against a gay couple when he declined to perform their same-sex ceremony.

“I’m very disappointed in the decision,” Orville Nichols, who has performed nearly 2,000 marriages since 1983, said in an interview Friday. He had referred the couple to another marriage commissioner because his religious beliefs kept him from performing the ceremony.

The rest.

We Know What’s Good For You

When she was almost 15, a hospitalized teen from Winnipeg was apprehended by child welfare authorities and forced against her religious beliefs to undergo a blood transfusion that she compared to “being raped and violated.”

The surgery kicked off an intense legal dispute that reaches the Supreme Court of Canada today in a test of the rights of “mature minors” to make their own decisions when stacked against the competing interest of the state in protecting children.

In 2001, 16-year-old Bethany Hughes of Calgary refused to undergo blood transfusions because of her faith. After receiving 38 transfusion, she died of leukemia in September 2002, sparking a court battle between her father and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Three years ago, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled against a 14-year-old Jehovah’s Witness decision to refuse life-saving blood transfusions. The teen suffered from a potentially fatal form of bone cancer and the court said that the rights of a mature minor to make her own medical decisions did not trump the court’s authority to protect her life and safety.

The rest.

“Mom, If You Make Me Go To Church, You’re Violating My Human Rights.”

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has called on the Government to support today’s report from Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights which calls for any child of ‘sufficient maturity, intelligence and understanding’ to be given the right to withdraw from compulsory religious worship in schools. Currently, only sixth form students have the right to withdraw themselves, and other children can only be withdrawn at the request of their parents, but the Human Rights Committee have said that this violates children’s rights to freedom of belief and conscience.

The rest.

Dumb Canadians Still Don’t Know Their Own Culture

DWE is finds it amusing that Canadians are often called idiots and bigots under the guise of “education lacking.” Here’s a good one, about the Sikh man who didn’t want to wear a helmet on his motorcycle. The court told him tough luck.

“This is just a show of ignorance,” said Mr. Badesha supporter, Mangat Manjit. “We have to educate this community more. The government and decision makers don’t know about our culture and religion.”

The rest.

That would be the Canadian culture. Right?

The Ontario Human Rights Commission took Badesha’s side.

Canada Could Become Polygamy Capital

The constitutional right of six generations of children to associate with whomever they choose have been stripped from them by prophets who insist it is their religious right to assign girls into plural marriages.

The rest.

The Battle Within

Huh. Maybe Steyn’s on to something. French Muslims seem to agree.

Tensions between Algerians, the larger community with an estimated 3.5 million people in France, and Moroccans, numbered at one million, have hobbled the project from the start.

But according to Abdelwahab Meddeb, a Tunisian-born poet and Islamic scholar, the council’s troubles also reflect the wider battle gripping the Muslim world, “between traditional Islam, official or state brands of Islam, and Islam as a militant ideology — i.e. Islamism.”

He believes the Paris mosque — though it will not say it outright — fears losing ground to the radical Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), the third major force in the CFCM with 10 of the board’s 43 seats.

For Meddeb, “the Paris mosque doesn’t know where it stands, just like the whole of traditional Islam. They are are petrified, they don’t dare confront Islamism.”

Intelligence reports suggest only a few dozen French mosques are under the influence of hardline radicals, but Meddeb says it is a “fact” that many more mosques are warming to the UOIF’s tougher brand of Islam.

The rest.

Shariah High Court Surprise: Woman Can Choose Her Faith

A Malaysian Islamic court allowed a Muslim convert Thursday to return to her original faith of Buddhism, setting a precedent that could ease religious minorities’ worries about their legal rights.

Lawyers said the Shariah High Court’s verdict in the northern state of Penang was the first time in recent memory that a convert has been permitted to legally renounce Islam in this Muslim-majority nation.

The rest.

Another Brave Reporter Slams Christianity

Via Little Green Footballs:

[Sally Quinn, Washington Post] Most people in this country are Christians, and you look at the Christians and they go to their white churches. And you wonder how they can call themselves Christians and still look at other people as though they are inferior.

A Harmonious Happening

A study on the longer-term effect of participating in the Islamic pilgrimage found that Muslims communities have become more open in many ways after the Hajj experience.

The study, published by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says that hajj – Muslim pilgrimage – urges equality and harmony.


At least 345 Muslim pilgrims have died in a crush during the stone-throwing ritual at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, officials say.

Hundreds of pilgrims have also been injured. A BBC correspondent at the scene in Mina saw dozens of bodies lined up on the ground.

The ritual has seen many lethal stampedes but the number of dead this time is the highest in 16 years.

After a crush in 2004, barriers and stewards were added to improve safety.

When Human Rights Collide

Coren is on board with DWE’s theory: when sex and religion meet, guess who wins?

In California the Salvation Army was forced to close down several inner city missions because officials refused to sign a document approving of homosexuality. The destitute suffered terribly as a consequence. In Britain the Roman Catholic church similarly was obliged to shut the doors of its adoption agency.

This is not about justice, equality or discrimination. It is about crude bullying and triumphalism. The campaign stopped being about tolerance a long time ago and now is about penalizing anyone who will not embrace a particular social and sexual agenda. It’s enough to drive you to drink — unless you’ve signed the morality clause!

The rest.

Target: Bountiful

The government has even sought out potential complainants, sending in officials to interview and talk to women, children and men in Bountiful. Despite the overtures, not one complaint has emerged from the community.

Ever since Texas officials raided the Eldorado compound on April 3 and removed 437 children from their families, who were all members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect, B.C.’s government has been urged to take action in its own backyard.

For years, Bountiful, the polygamous community on the outskirts of the town of Creston, has escaped prosecution even though polygamy is illegal. The head of one of the polygamous communes believes religious rights protect them.

For the moment, the B.C. government is at a stalemate.

The rest.

Prof Fired For Divorce, Doesn’t Appeal

A man standing on principle (“”I think it’s wrong to have to discuss your personal life with your employer,” he said, “and I also don’t want to be in a position of accusing my spouse, so I declined to appeal or discuss the matter in any way with my employer”), and not suing somebody? Weird.

Oh. Wait. Now we get it. Didn’t happen in Canada.

At another college, professor Kent Gramm’s divorce from his wife of 30 years might be a private matter known only to friends and close colleagues.

But at Wheaton College, the end of the popular English professor’s marriage has cost him his job—and sparked a debate about whether a divorce should disqualify a faculty member from teaching there.

Though the college has sometimes hired or retained staff employees whose marriages have ended, officials say those employees must talk with a staff member to determine whether the divorce meets Biblical standards. Gramm told administrators about his divorce but declined to discuss the details.

Tim George, student body president, said it is a shame that Gramm has to leave, because he is an outstanding teaching professor and a scholar. Although there has been controversy, the majority of students support the college’s decision, he said.

“We just hate to see him go. . . . But we just don’t want to compromise the values that we hold,” George said.

The rest.

Blogger Stands Up For Commissions; Doesn’t Do Homework

Canadian Cynic blog:

And right there is where you can stop reading since that tells you everything you need to know. “Provincially-funded.” As in, with public tax dollars; therefore, subject to all provincial laws. End of discussion…

[Not end of discussion. Goes on for 4 more paragraphs]

Public money. Taxpayer money. Your money and my money; therefore, subject to provincial laws. One would think this wouldn’t be a difficult concept…


OHRC website:

Cheryl Katz brought an action against the Ontario Human Rights Commission for breach of rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, breach of statutory duty, abuse of public office and malicious conduct.

Result at the Superior Court of Justice: The Court dismissed the claim, finding that there was no reasonable cause of action. The Court restated an earlier Court of Appeal decision that held that the Commission is not an entity that can be sued for damages. This also excludes the Commission from an action of vicarious liability for the actions of its employees.

Taxpayer money. Your money. Just a difficult concept for you, our little blogging fool.