Friday, July 15, 2005

Red-Eyed Cardinal

There was a weird and ugly symmetry in testimony by a Canadian Cardinal. He sounds remarkably like the most extreme sensationalists in Maine trying to overturn the gay-rights law.

Quebec City's Cardinal Marc Ouelett has flushed out the bugbear of a muffled clergy, terrified of speaking from the pulpit. That's much like what the Christian Civic League and its spinoff group has been threatening in Maine – quite illogical and baseless, but with a powerful emotional pull. Both sets claim that if homosexuals get rights, even ordinary speech must be censored or they will face hate-crimes prosecution.

Well, la de da, cut me a real thin slice of that balogna.

The Canadian press covered the Cardinal's remarks thoroughly. A good piece is in Canoe.

Of course, the Cardinal must be mindful of his international reputation. He was considered to replace Pop John Paul II.

Concerning his opposition to same-sex marriage, he tried to divert the discussion to, "There's a climate taking shape where we don't dare say what we think anymore or we don't dare teach," before a Senate committee.

Another well-known Christian went even farther. "Christians are going to inhabit the closet so recently vacated by gays," said the policy director for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Janet Epp Buckingham. "There's a tremendous amount of concern and fear in our community - feelings that we're being targeted and marginalized. Feelings that we're being considered un-Canadian."

At some level that must be funny to gay Canadians. Yes, it's fine to marginalize homosexuals, but the mere idea of not being able to say the nastiest things you can think of targets you. Hardy har.

Even though U.S. gay-rights laws invariably make stronger exceptions for bigots in the pulpit and those managing church-based organizations, the Canadians have been lenient in letting religious groups discriminate as we do. There though, questions remain whether clergy will be able to refuse to marry homosexual couples. Here, we have been careful to institutionalize that discrimination too.

Even though the Canadian rights charter is more severe about limiting free speech when it is hateful, playing the victim card so freely and so early is amusing from here.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

There's a great article in the Globe and Mail with legal rebuttals to the "hate speech" fears:

Legal experts say the predictions by Canada's top Catholic Cardinal that opponents of same-sex marriage will be prosecuted for publicly denouncing the unions are unfounded -- and at least one labels the prophecy "rhetorical hysteria."

I love that term "rhetorical hysteria". It is just so apt. The article also points out other places where churches already get a free pass on some Charter of Rights issues, such as the fact that no one has ever successfully sued the Catholic church for refusing to ordain women preists.

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