Commentary by Kate McMillan
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal heard a case recently in which two women claimed the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic men’s society, discriminated against them by refusing to permit the renting of a hall for a same-sex wedding reception. And so it begins – or, shall I say, continues.
I hold no particular religious beliefs. My support for preserving the traditional definition of marriage is rooted in basic anthropology and is solidified by a suspicion that same-sex “marriage” has more to do with forwarding the agenda of the extreme left than it does with concerns about minority rights. If minority rights were truly the issue at stake, there would be full-out legislative war between the federal government and province of Quebec over minority language rights.
The secular left advancing same-sex “marriage” legislation in Canada purports to have a deep commitment to protecting religious freedom from erosion by homosexual rights advocacy. In reality, that commitment amounts to little more than a winking promise to allow people to “believe in something that doesn’t exist.”
So, when push comes to shove, the “truth” of state-defined equality rights will always trump the “false” God-defined morality. For those who are merely unconvinced of the existence of God, it’s a conclusion based on logic. For the left, however, the question of religion is much more problematic, for it strikes at the heart of their own belief system. Freedom of religion acknowledges the possible existence of an authority higher than that of the state, and as far as the left is concerned, that’s a notion contrary to their own interests.
When one views religious freedom as nothing more significant than “tolerance of those who believe in something that doesn’t exist,” it goes a long way in explaining why the secular left sees no contradiction in public policy makers who claim to be devout followers of their faith, and in the next breath declare it is possible – even preferable – to “set aside their personal religious convictions” to enact legislation that is in flat contradiction to the teachings of their church.
To a person who holds strong moral principles – be they based upon divine teachings or on a profound sense that certain principles are fundamental to a stable and just society – such a contradiction is not possible. One does not compromise on one’s core moral values. You either adhere to them or you didn’t have them in the first place.
When an individual’s principles come into opposition with the demands of public office, one of two options are available. The honourable one is to fight to uphold them in the debate over public policy, and if the two prove to be incompatible – to step aside. The dishonourable and far more common solution is to declare that core principles are subject to a public policy time clock – that they can be punched out at the door and punched back in when you leave, that devotion to one’s religion can be toggled like the on/off switch of a church organ.
It is not by accident that we have in public office a preponderance of individuals of the latter variety, whose principles are conditional – conditional on the party whip, conditional on the latest polls and focus group findings, conditional to the pressure of lobby groups and party fundraisers.
Just some advice from this ambivalent atheist – it is folly to trust such people with your religious freedoms. If they’ll set aside their own fundamental beliefs for political gain – they’ll set aside yours.
Kate McMillan lives in Saskatchewan and keeps a weblog at smalldeadanimals.com, where a version of this article originally appeared.