The Limits Of Free Speech And Public Monuments

Recently there was a lot of disgust expressed against a “Man charged after ‘fornicating the statue,’ police say

Yes, this is the same monument Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was murdered at and, the same monument that saw teenagers in 2006 charged for urinating at.

In all the above cases the charge was ‘mischief’.

In the CBC video, the CBC commenter (About 1:30 in if you watch) refers to the monument and says “And Canadians gained a new sense that this is a hallowed place.”

Definitions for ‘hallowed’ include ‘sacred’, ‘holy’ and ‘consecrated’. Is this monument now a religious object? How so? and must we as a secular society respect the supposed ‘hallowness’ of an inanimate object?

A not dissimilar outrage was expressed against a teenager in Pennsylvania a few years back. Jerry Coyne discussed it on his website.

desecration

Obviously a statue on church grounds is a ‘hallowed object’.

And from the recent Huffington Post video on Ottawa by Chris Hau, I made this still.

cannon

Is this also public mischief? Go watch the video; he’s obviously ‘fornicating with a statue’ why wasn’t this actor charged with public mischief as well? I suppose the reason is this statue is not ‘hallowed ground’. This statue is of a ‘Metis fighter fighting in the war of 1812’, so I suppose that’s not holy enough.

If we are to become a secular nation, will we have honoured monuments that we must respect? Who gets to decide which monuments are honoured? Would ‘giving the finger’ to the concept of war in the form of the war memorial count as disrespect? Instead of ‘fornicating’ could one simply give the finger to a Jesus statue? (Blasphemy!) Could one be arrested for giving the finger?  Do people have a right to not be offended after all? Where are the limits to free speech to be drawn then? Must we have limits? It’s certainly obvious to me that religious reasons are not sufficient.

“Recognizing Lawyers from TWU Legitimizes Discrimination”

Today, the BC Humanist Association published the following information in the “News” section of its website:

August 31, 2015

This morning The Vancouver Sun published our letter regarding Trinity Western University’s proposed law school. Our letter was in response to an opinion article by Barry W. Bussey, Director, Legal Affairs, at the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Read our letter below and make sure to share it.

While a private university, TWU has received several million dollars in government grants in recent years. We support the Law Society of BC’s decision not to recognize TWU’s law school and call on the provincial and federal governments to stop spending public money on a discriminatory organization. You can read the BCHA’s position on the proposed TWU law school here.

Principle of equality lost at TWU law school

Re: TWU Law School case was expected; we just didn’t know when, Opinion, Aug. 26

It’s of course the right of any organization, secular or religious, to be left alone when operating privately, as Barry Bussey calls for; however, Trinity Western University has entered the public sphere by demanding that public bodies recognize lawyers from its proposed law school. These demands open TWU’s beliefs to public scrutiny, particularly when something as fundamental to democracy as the justice system is concerned.

The Community Covenant that TWU requires its students to sign is clear: Only heterosexual Evangelical Christians are allowed in. If the Law Society is forced to recognize lawyers from TWU, it legitimizes this discrimination.

Christian students have always been, and will always be, welcome at Canada’s many secular law schools. TWUs program, however, closes doors not just to the LGBT community, but also to atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even other Christians who don’t subscribe to TWU’s narrow ideology. With a finite number of positions available for lawyers, this gives an advantage to evangelicals that is unavailable to other students.

The fundamental basis for modern Canadian law is equality. Establishing a school that rejects students with the wrong beliefs or sexual orientation is fundamentally opposed to that principle.

Ian Bushfield
Executive Director, BC Humanist Association

Read our letter online (page 2)

#harperman

It’s almost the end of the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” but the 2015 Canadian election pollsters are just gearing up to predict how Canadians will vote on October 19, 2015. For many of us, it’s too much and too early with no relief in sight. However, the video “Harperman, a Protest Song” and the story that accompanies it may make you wonder how Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are maintaining even second place in the polls:

“Harperman,” written and performed by Ottawa folksinger Tony Turner, is effective, so effective that Turner

A scientist with Environment Canada has been put on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation for creating a politically charged protest song about ousting Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

The Harperman Song Project has a

crowdfunding campaign to support a “Harperman Cross-Canada Sing-Along” on Parliament Hill and 14 other locations across Canada on Thursday, September 17th. We are asking people to go to the Indiegogo page to make a donation and help spread the word.

and is working on making t-shirts available.

harperman-white-tshirt-150x150Contribute now and buy a t-shirt to help make Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along a reality.

Catholic Charity

So the Catholics need a new school

The Toronto Catholic District School Board opted to expropriate 17 North York townhouses to make way for a new high school in a controversial vote late Thursday. The board voted six-to-four in favour of the decision to expropriate the townhouses near Bayview and Cummer Avenues.

Who do they think they are? Conquistadors?

But Mike Del Grande, the former city councillor and budget chief turned Ward 7 school board trustee, said the homeowners will be paid more than market value for their homes and will have their moving expenses covered as well.
“They’ll be compensated, and then some, for their homes,” he said.
“Obviously, nobody likes to put people out of their homes.”

Well good, as long as the Catholic church is paying for this, and not the taxpayers… not going to hold my breath though.

Added punctuation per request:-)

Update: More details from the Star

“Carolyn Hyppolite – When to Engage About Religion”

CH

In MSA Podcast #6, Sean McGuire and Carolyn Hyppolite

discuss the topic of her speech at the recent Non Conference in Kitchener, Ontario. [They] talk about how she never really had her faith challenged by any atheists when she was Christian and sort of wishes she did. [They] talk about when it’s a good time to challenge someone’s faith in religion, how to do it and when it’s best to not come out as atheist at all.

 

McGuire interviewed Hyppolite on MSAB Podcast #4 on August 12.

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15