Monday, December 17, 2007

Canada again: Christian activist 'banned for life' from criticizing homosexuality

A lifetime ban on public criticism of homosexuality was upheld against a Catholic activist in Canada by his province's superior court. Bill Whatcott was fined 17,500 Canadian dollars by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in a complaint by four homosexuals who charged he "injured" their "feelings" and "self respect" in pamphlets denouncing the "gay lifestyle" as immoral and dangerous, Lifesite News reported. Saskatchewan's Court of Queens Bench, which hears criminal and civil cases, upheld a 2006 decision Tuesday by the provincial Human Rights Commission.

"This fine is for telling the truth [that] homosexual sodomites can change their behavior and be set free from their sin and depravity through the forgiveness of sins and shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Whatcott said. A licensed practical nurse, Whatcott regularly campaigns against the political movement that is rapidly advancing homosexual rights in the Canadian legal system, LifeSiteNews said. "Shame on the Saskatchewan Court of Queens Bench for pandering to homosexual activism and ignoring the truth," he said.

The provincial Human Rights Commission noted Whatcott was "ordered to discontinue distributing any materials that promote hatred against people because of their sexual orientation." The tribunal held that "preventing the distribution of such materials was a reasonable limit on Whatcott's right to freedom of religion and expression as guaranteed by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Whatcott says his pamphlets used "verbatim" a text from a classified personal advertisement in a local homosexual publication that said, "Man seeking boys . age not so relevant."

LifeSiteNews noted Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren criticized the tribunals as "kangaroo courts" and "star chambers" with "quasi-legal powers that should be offensive to the citizens of any free country ... in which the defendant's right to due process is withdrawn." A petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being circulated calling for abolishment, or at least curtailment, of the powers of the commissions.

Last month, a Canadian political party leader's posting of a WND article on homosexuality brought him before the country's Human Rights Commission to face accusations he was motivated by "hate and defamation." Ron Gray of the Christian Heritage Party said he was told directly by an employee of the Human Rights Commission that the Canadian Human Rights Act, under which he is being accused, is "about censorship." Two of the three complaints filed by Edmonton man Rob Wells relate to the posting of an April 2002 WND story titled "Report: Pedophilia more common among 'gays.'" The third complaint against Gray is for several commentaries he wrote and distributed to party members. One, titled "Sitcom prophet," compared the current climate of debate about homosexuality in Canada to the "Cone of Silence" in the 1960s-era television comedy "Get Smart."


Blackness becomes meaningless

In the politics of race, black and white isn't so black-and-white anymore. Rather than a matter of skin tone and pigmentation, race has become a question of blackness and whiteness -- a calculation of attitude, experience and cultural identity.

Our first hint that the race card had found a new game was when Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton "our first black president." "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas."

At the risk of contradicting Morrison, but for the sax, those are white-trash tropes. Toss in a banjo and you've got Deliverance.

Nevertheless, Morrison's title stuck and Clinton subsequently was hailed as "First Black President" at the 2001 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Awards Dinner. But if Clinton was the first black president, what would Barack Obama be?

As a matter of DNA, Obama is obviously blacker than Clinton, despite being a very-distant cousin of Dick Cheney. But, born to a white mother and a Kenyan father -- raised in Hawaii and Indonesia -- Obama doesn't quite fit the profile of black-in-America.

It didn't help when civil rights leader and former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young said recently that Bill Clinton is "every bit as black as Barack." Joking, he added, "He's probably gone with more black women than Barack." ... When Bill Clinton can be considered black, but questions are raised about Obama's or Bill Cosby's blackness, the term has become redefined to mean something other than skin pigment and DNA.

The redefinition is part of the corruption of the civil rights movement. Rush Limbaugh has renamed the NAACP the NAALCP because the group only supports liberal blacks. The term "down with the struggle" is used to define those who support the liberal agenda and the victimhood tropes of the old leadership. It has become a shakedown scheme that plays on white guilt rather than an organization that is trying to lift up blacks. Where is the effort of the NAACP to save the black family? Where is their effort to support school choice?


Are Values Universal?

Only when Leftists say so, apparently

A frequent claim by erudite people is that the values on which America was founded--individual rights, rule of law, due process--are obsolete. They have been superseded by more recent ways of seeing things, of understanding people and their world. This point is made especially concerning America's roughly free enterprise, capitalist economic system. Some refer to them as "voodoo economics," suggesting that they are old fashioned, outmoded, in need of being discarded by now. The right to private property, a basic principle the American Founders referred to in their writings and the framers included in the Fifth Amendment, is also dismissed along these lines, sometimes by very prominent thinkers in prestigious academic institutions.

At other times the point is pressed that although some of the ideas or principles of the American Founders had merit, they were in serious need of being updated, improved upon--so, for example, whereas the Founders believed in the right to life and liberty, Franklin D. Roosevelt wisely updated these with his idea of Four Freedoms, including the freedom to obtain support from others whether or not they wish to provide it--the entitlement doctrine that's become the basis of the welfare state--which unambiguously overrules the right to liberty.

Yet, all the while some of the very same people who urge upon us this view also offer fierce criticism of early practices, laws, and customs. They will condemn slavery and the subjugation of women unhesitatingly and not accept the idea of, well, those were okay back then but not now. Favoring the upper classes, for example, is condemned, as is keeping the poor in their wretched conditions. Torture, which was routine in the Middle Ages, often comes in for chiding, never mind that back then it was widely accepted, as was corporeal punishment, child labor, and similar practices widely disapproved of.

Is it possible to have it both ways? Are some principles universal, so we can invoke them to judge the conduct of people in any age, while others are not, so that while back then it was OK to act that way but now it isn't? If so, how do we tell the difference?

To put it differently, when is invoking the idea that is was a different era and thus OK to do some things we now know to be wrong merely an excuse? How can we avoid cherry picking the conduct we want to disapprove of in any and all eras versus the conduct we are going to condemn only for certain times and places?

The idea is not merely academic by any means. It is of considerable practical importance. There are many people who claim that various ideas and ideals advocated should not be applied to certain countries, such as Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela. They are different places and thus what is proper in the West or the U.S.A. may not be proper there at all. Yes, freedom of speech is a good idea here in America, some will say, but in the Venezuela being ruled by Hugo Chavez it is inapplicable. How women are treated in Iran is fine there but not here.

Examples can be heaped upon examples of such cultural, ethical, and political relativism which is proclaimed side by side some very earnest absolutism. Democracy is good for every society--or is it? But if it is, does that also mean that driving on the right side of the road is the right way or can that vary from country to country--or continent to continent?

Most of us confront these issues only in our college philosophy or ethics courses and once that's done, we rarely give the matter much thought. Yet it is really the very stuff of international diplomacy, of globalization, of how the World Court should decide cases and so forth. Maybe the issue is directly relevant even to how we deal with our next door neighbors. Should we judge their conduct as we judge our own? Do our principles of decency, justice, and such reach beyond our front doors? And if so, why not farther away, to the other side of the globe?

I am only raising the matter here because despite the abstract nature of the concern, it will certainly come up in our lives, including in the coming presidential elections. Is mandatory universal health care something right for us in America, in Canada, anywhere, or quite wrong however much other countries experiment with it? Should social security become voluntary, as it has in certain countries? Should religion be central our political system as it is in various places around the globe, or should we stick to separation of church and state and maybe even advocate it for others?

Now and then it bears reflecting on these matters; so however troubling it may be, it is worth admitting that the issue is actually quite central to human life anywhere.


The End of a Debate

What happens when an unexpected development suddenly makes it no longer necessary for adherents of a certain ideology to engage in conflict? The recent discovery that gives scientists the ability to turn skin cells into cells that share identical properties with Embryonic Stem Cells qualifies as such a development. Up to this point, many from the left had comfortably seized control of the high moral ground on this issue. With aid from the media, and the assurance by the scientific community of the vestigial healing powers of Embryonic Stem Cells, they piously condemned the supposedly callous ignorance of those who objected to their demand to expedite legislation requiring that federal tax dollars be used to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research (E.S.C.R.). For these so-called "progressives", the fact that human embryos needed to be harvested and killed in the process did not pose the least moral quandary. Instead, it was favorably cast as a supremely justifiable means towards an unimpeachably noble end. History will deal with them accordingly.

Were it not for this timely discovery -- ever so politely escorted by the media into the moribund registry of superfluous news stories that do not help advance the progressive agenda -- E.S.C.R. would have continued to be enshrined by liberals. The same myopic zeal has -- to name a few other examples -- extolled the dignity of every woman's "reproductive right decision", mandated the moral acquiescence of sexual deviance, defended the unfettered license for physicians to "mercifully" kill their patients, proclaimed the end of the Global Warming debates, applauded the prepotency of the State over religion, and denounced the military interference of empire-driven U.S. presidents with murderous and oppressive regimes.

Ideally, this new development should provide advocates of unrestricted E.S.C.R. -- mostly liberals by definition -- a rare opportunity to exercise some measure of humility on that, and other controversial issues to which they have chosen to bind themselves. But more importantly, it should give them pause to reflect upon the fundamental principles which spur them to wage war against their opponents on such issues in the first place.

The fact that the majority of the causes alluded to earlier are fundamentally premised on life-negating principles should be reason enough for liberals to at least consider a nonpartisan audit of their objectives. A sober appraisal of the latter would most certainly awaken a sense of how profoundly misguided they are. Not that I am intentionally omitting the fact that the conservative ideology is far from perfect. Both ideologies inevitably tend toward coveting supremacy amongst other competing worldviews vying for relevancy in the public square. It behooves adherents of both ideologies not to shy away from periodically re-examining their long held convictions in this our changing times.

But convictions rooted in nonnegotiable principles - by virtue of the fact that they transcend mere fashionable moral trends - should remain unchanged. In so far as such principles are missing from the liberal ideology, the conservative ideology - all its imperfections notwithstanding - stands unrivaled. This disparity is often illustrated by the fact that Conservatives are typically chided for being unfaithful to their core principles, whereas Liberals are indicted by the social decay that ensues as a result of strict adherence to theirs.

Today's liberals suffer from a marring decrepitude, manifesting itself in what their forebears would quickly denounce as the rather illiberal ethos of guiltless autonomy, speech codification, thought surveillance, and retroactive gender and ethnic bigotry. Mere cosmetic attempts at re-inventing themselves by changing their brand name, or taking stock of the aggregate moral decay from decades of civic prerogative will not likely solve their predicament.

I hope that this recent scientific milestone may help them realize that it is high time they revisit some (if not most) of their ideological stances, and decide how much farther they will stray from the once cherished liberal tradition. But they continue to engage in the dispensation of newly invented rights for a few citizen groups fortunate enough to find shelter under their exclusive canopy of "victims", rather than valuing the fundamental dignity and freedoms of all persons, religious and secular, healthy and infirm, born and in utero. Here's to hoping it will give them pause. But don't hold your breath.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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