The May 1986 News Release of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) by a note of its editor: Churches beware: sexual orientation threatens freedom.
Ottawa-Justice Minister John Crosbie has replies to the letter written by Hudson T. Hilsden on behalf of the PAOC to the prime minister and all MP’s which was published as an open letter to the May issue of the Pentecostal Testimony Crosby states. “…the Charter is part of the Constitution of Canada and so takes precedence over all laws enacted by the Parliament of Canada or the provincial legislatures. As part of the Constitution, the Charter governs the relationship between each individual in Canada and the government. It is not clear to what extent, if any, private activities, such as the relationship between religious organizations and individuals, are covered by the Charter. This issue will have to be resolved by the courts as cases come before them…” “As a consequence, it is likely that a religious organization could make distinctions where religion is a bone fide occupational qualification,” Crosbie said, “undoubtedly, this issue will be further clarified by decisions of the courts and human rights tribunals.”
Crosbie then clearly puts his position on the line when he says, “…persons should not be excluded from employment opportunities for reasons that are irrelevant to their capacity and ability to do the job. The government is committed to ensure that all Canadians are protected equally against arbitrary discrimination, as indeed is required by The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Editors Note. We have said all along that, if new legislation relating to sexual orientation does not protect churches and groups in discipline of members and hiring of employees on the basis of doctrinal and moral codes set by the organizations, such matters will eventually be decided by the courts. Will the courts then decide that the sexual orientation of a homosexual is “irrelevant to his capacity and ability to do the job: required of a custodian a teacher, a deacon, or even an ordained minister? Will the courts decide a church or parachurch group or religious school that refused to hire a homosexuality is a sin, is guilty of “arbitrary discrimination.” Furthermore, the term “sexual orientation” may include other perverse activities such as pedophilia. We believe the state has no right to set such matters and must guarantee rights of churches and groups to set their moral standards according to the Bible. The News Release encourages people to contact their local MPs.
Please note once more the names of the House of Commons Equality Committee members who recommended unanimously that “discrimination against homosexual orientation” be placed under the Canadian Human Rights Act. (The also recommended removing Christmas and Good Friday as statutory holidays.) These MPs cannot be considered pro-life and pro-family if they continue to support their original stand. Those marked with two asterisks accept abortion under certain circumstances:
**Patrick Boyer, P.C. (Etobicoke-Lakeshore).
- Svend Robinson, N.D.P. (Burnaby)
- * Mary Collins, P. C. (Capilano)
** Pauline Browes, P. C. (Scarborough) Centre
Roger Clinch, P.C. Gloucester, New Brunswick
- Sheila Finestone, Lib, Mount Royal
- Maurice Tremblay, PC, (Lotbiniere).
Also reporting on the same issue of homosexuality is the group “Catholics Active. for Life”. On February 20, they issued a press release (also published as an advertisement in The Interim of March 1986) in which they pointed to the unacceptability of legislating special protection for a particular lifestyle. which is a moral disorder. The press release was sent to 700 TV and radio stations across the country, together with the 16-page pamphlet Homosexuality why “Sexual Orientation” should not be protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Available from Life Ethics Centre, 215 Victoria Street, Toronto, On M5B 1T9
CAL reports interviews with FM radio stations (Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, St. Catherines) and one TV general impression that no one wants to talk about the issue, especially those who favour the proposed legislation. Undoubtedly, this is the reason why as May 7, 1986 recommendation of the Justice Committee of the Ontario Legislature to seek special protection for “sexual orientation” was barely reported by Ontario newspapers and not at all by the Toronto Globe and Mail. See article elsewhere in this issue.
CAL also contacted the Toronto Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Chancery, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Ottawa, the Office of the Ontario Roman Archbishop Adam Exner of Winnipeg and Bishop Mahoney of Saskatoon. Archbishop Exner has indicated his full agreement with the press release which he has sent as his own protest letter to the Justice Minister Crosbie.
REAL Women have brought out a comprehensive eight page flyer entitled Laws Protecting Homosexuals. How it will affect Canadians. It details the nature of homosexual activity and the consequences of legislation of this sort. Cost: 100 copies for $$4.00, plus postage and handling. Available at Life Ethics Centre, Toronto. (Address above).
On April 21, the Toronto Board of Education held a two-hour hearing on policy with regard to “sexual orientation” Three lawyers, including the current chairman of the Ontario Bar Association, and six students spoke in favour of the six-point resolution moved by Trustee Olivia Chow. Points one to five of the resolution proposed ways of “sensitizing” students to the “rights” of homosexuals. Point six proposed as Board policy “the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of “sexual orientation” and that this amendment be added to the Student Handbook.
Three people spoke against including a spokes man for Catholics Active who spoke directly against point six. The CAL pamphlet was distributed as additional material explaining why point six should not go forward.
On April 23, after a lengthy debate showing deep divisions, the five points about “sensitizing” students passed with the proposal to exclude parents from the curriculum process being defeated 13-11. But key proposal six, to legislated special protection fro homosexuals, was lost after a 12-12 vote with Chairman Vanstone casting the decisive ballot.
Among those who favoured special protection for homosexual lifestyle were NDP trustees Fiona Nelson, Fran Endicott, Penny Moss, Rosario Marchese, Beare Weatherup and Olivia Chow. Among those who opposed such protection were trustees Alex Chumak and David Moll.