I try to practice human rights. I don’t mean that I try to practice what governments and their rights agencies preach. On the contrary, I try to practice what they breach. That is, I try to practice human rights.
I also preach them. Chiefly, I preach, and the others breach, the right to proclaim and act on our religious beliefs and to teach them to our children without state interference or coercion. In other words, I support the separation of church and state, as Christ taught when he said render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.
Governments and their rights agencies have no difficulty grasping the part about rendering unto Caesar, but they can’t seem to get their minds around the part about rendering unto God. Maybe by the time they got to that part of the teaching they had run out of mental room. It’s too bad Christ didn’t teach the part about rendering unto God first. They might still have run out of mental room, but at least they would know about religious rights.
As it is, governments and their agencies are very good at promoting the separation of church from state, but not the separation of state from church. On the contrary, they’re very good at promoting the intrusion of state into church.
Curiously, this doesn’t seem to bother many church people. Maybe they think that the state invites itself in to pay worship, not seize leadership. Or, maybe biblical illiteracy has reached the point where they think Christ told us to surrender unto seizure.
Leadership is what Newfoundland and Quebec seized when they shifted their publicly funded school systems from religious to secular. The state didn’t come to pray in any of the religions. It came to prey on their rights. To take control, the provinces engineered constitutional amendments when many of us weren’t looking. I guess we thought the constitution was set in stone. We didn’t suspect that it might be built on sand. Or if we did, we thought it shifted with the prevailing winds only at the behest of the Supreme Court.
Not content with one coup d’etat, the two provinces staged another. They installed non-confessional programs that require schools to treat diverse faiths and ethical codes as equally acceptable. It could be a wonderful approach if there were no such thing as truth.
When Catholic parents sought to exempt their children from the Quebec program to avoid endangering their religious formation, the Supreme Court came to the rescue. It exempted the Quebec program from the religious rights of the parents. What’s remarkable is that the state didn’t start butting into education until the mid-nineteenth century, after religious and charity groups established the first formal schools in what became Canada. Now the state tells religious groups and parents to butt out.
Educational initiatives in Newfoundland and Quebec promote homosexual activity as normal and even laudable. But to support the gay agenda, provinces don’t have to take over confessional schools that oppose it. Like Alberta and Ontario, provinces can order the schools to support it on the governments’ behalf. They can also order home schools to teach from gay-friendly curricula that violate parental beliefs.
The media-academia complex considers the recognition and rise of homosexual rights progressive. Having been exposed to ancient history, I can’t help noticing that it’s regressive. Approval of homosexual activity, among related phenomena, goes back to the late Roman Republic and the empire it became. We know how that turned out.
Nevertheless, Canadian human rights agencies can prosecute us for acting on, or publishing, religious beliefs forbidding homosexual activity. Among others, the agencies have targeted home-based bed and breakfast owners for denying accommodation to gay couples; a Catholic service organization for refusing to rent its hall for a lesbian wedding reception; a Mennonite Church for canceling use of a camp it operated when it learned that a homosexual choir had booked the facility for a weekend retreat; a professional printer for not providing material to a homosexual organization that promoted the gay agenda; mayors of Canadian cities for declining to proclaim gay pride observances; and ministers of the gospel, including a Catholic Bishop, for teaching that homosexual activity is wrong.
When the religious rights of provincial marriage commissioners conflicted with the civil rights of couples seeking same-sex nuptials, I expected the Saskatchewan government to opt for freedom and inclusiveness. It did. It ruled that religiously observant commissioners are free to either violate their consciences or include themselves among the unemployed. That’s how you reconcile conflicting rights Saskatchewan style.
The shtick worked seamlessly when a Saskatchewan woman bested a Catholic hospital that, for religious reasons, denied her a tubal ligation. Not only did she receive financial compensation, thanks to the provincial human rights commission. Shortly afterwards, the hospital ended its religious affiliation and came under secular control.
Religiously observant pro-lifers also have difficulty exercising their rights. Some have gone to jail after gathering outside abortion facilities. I don’t deny that what they did there was serious. They prayed. Others have lost university privileges for misbehaving on campus. They joined a pro-life group.
Like publicly accepted homosexual activity, publicly approved contraception and abortion are part of our pagan past. So is publicly condoned euthanasia. Together with secular education, all are alien to our once Christian culture. Before they became rights, or quasi rights, homosexual activity, contraception and abortion were illegal aliens. Now, they and secular education increasingly take precedence when they collide with religious rights.
It doesn’t matter that religious liberty tops the Magna Carta, the American Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As alien rights have risen, religious rights have declined. It doesn’t even matter that the Charter acknowledges the supremacy of God. The decline continues apace.
With rights like that, who needs wrongs?