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The growing threat to religious freedoms

By Gary Schneider
web posted May 26, 2003

Irrespective of one's personally held convictions regarding the morality of homosexual behavior, all should be concerned about the perilous path that we are now embarked upon in regard to notions of tolerance, rights and freedom.

There now exists a multiplicity of legal and social actions that, if allowed to succeed, will institutionalize threats to the freedoms of people of all faiths who openly disagree with the belief systems, lifestyles or conduct espoused by the politically correct left. In other words, freely expressing your opinion in word, deed or verse, may soon result in a hefty fine or a prison sentence.

On May 26th or 27th bill C-415, a proposal that would expand Canada's hate-crimes laws to include "protection" for homosexuals will undergo its final debate in a House of Commons' committee examining the bill. If the committee approves this bill it will be handed to Parliament for broader consideration. The debate is fueled by the risk that, if made law, the bill will establish certain scriptures within the Bible, Koran (and most other major religious texts), as hate literature that can be legally banned or confiscated. Furthermore, preaching or otherwise espousing the beliefs maintained therein can result in jail-time of up to two years.

More specifically, as pointed out by Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canadian Family Action League, this twisted notion of tolerance may result in the following:

  • The Bible, at least certain portions of the Bible, may be declared "hate literature."
  • Churches will not be able to mention certain Scriptures.
  • Clergy may be subjected to criminal charges if they refuse to marry homosexuals.
  • Parents may be subjected to criminal charges if they refuse to allow their children to attend
  • classes that teach about and promote homosexual behavior.
  • Expressing disagreement with homosexual behavior or the homosexual agenda, either verbally or in writing, would be considered hate propaganda.
  • Educators, including those at private religious schools, will not be able to refuse to teach homosexual curriculum.
  • Religious institutions will not be allowed to teach anything non-supportive of homosexual sex.
  • Blood Services will not be allowed to screen risk-behavior donors.
  • Governments (including local municipalities) will be prevented from passing (even debating) sex standards laws.
    (Source: Art Moore, WorldNetDaily - October 21, 2002)

The risk in this bill primarily lies in the fact that the definitions for the types of speech which are deemed criminal are extremely ambiguous, thereby leaving their interpretation to the sole discretion and good faith of judges…Judges which are increasingly activist and sympathetic to the politically correct agenda. The single reference to religious protection against prosecution in this bill pertains to only one of three listed criminal acts of speech, and it is equally as general. According to many legal opinions, the reference to religious protection would be of tenuous use (at best) in a legal defense against the accusation of engaging in the criminal act of making a public statement that "willfully promotes hatred". Remember, a preacher, priest or imam just teaching the tenets of its faith will fall into this category.

By way of precedent, it is worthy of note that provincial human rights commissions, which already include sexual orientation as a protected category, have fined at least two people for actions that the judge ruled "exposes homosexuals to hatred". One as recently as five months ago in Saskachewan (Reuters, May 16, 2003). So what was this heinous act? Buying an ad in a newspaper which quoted a Biblical passage from Leviticus condemning homosexuality.

Lest you are feeling somewhat relieved that this oppressive absurdity is resident in Canada alone…Be aware that similar types of speech and thought control legislation has been enacted throughout Europe and in many of the United States, using the guise of "hate crimes-legislation" or "anti-hate crimes laws" - laws that create criminals out of Christians and other conscientious objectors to the homosexual agenda. In April, the United Nations debated a resolution that calls upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights "to pay due attention to the phenomenon of violations of human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation." (American Spectator, May 23, 2003). It is postponed until next year, but if progressed, may have precarious global implications to religious freedom. The new reality is that those who seek to openly espouse the faith of our fathers are but one Legislative or Judicial ruling away from perpetrating a "hate crime" and being persecuted for it.

The nature of this cultural battle further underscores the critical importance of the judicial nomination debacle currently taking place in this country. Leftists Democrats are aggressively attempting to obstruct the appointment of strict constitutional constructionist judges to the courts who would ensure that the constitutionally afforded liberties of all American citizens are protected, and that the original intent of the Constitution remains intact. Rather, they prefer activist judges who consider their role to be that of legislators who knowingly promote social agendas by effectively re-writing the law irrespective of popular will, and in spite of the Constitution itself. This is the legal environment that the gay lobby and their cohorts on the radical left are seeking. Without it, preferential treatment and the censorship of expression they deem offensive could not be achieved…or at least sustained.

Imagine a United States where Judges are permitted to re-interpret law based on current social trends, heedless of the Constitution and case law precedent. They will have effectively usurped legislative powers and established themselves as the primary arbiter of all constitutional issues. This is a scenario that Thomas Jefferson warns "would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy"…a scenario that the left is fostering.

Compounding these opprobrious acts are the gay lobby's shameless actions intended to stifle debate through intimidation that is manifested in the form of aggressive and slanderous hate speech such as "homophobe", "bigot" and "Nazi", while establishing any expressed beliefs that are contrary to their own, as equal to acts of violence with the suggestion that they are or should be subject to legal or social censorship. Their tactics have proven wildly successful in schools, on college and university campuses, in businesses and in state and local government offices. Their next step is to institutionalize this socially acceptable repression in the form of discriminatory laws that apply to all citizens.

The non-violent expression of support for moral values and traditions is not gay-bashing, nor is it homophobia, or hate-mongering. It is called freedom of expression, of religion. It is liberty. No degree of illogical revisionist or relativist mores will alter this reality.

Gary Schneider is the President and founder of TheRealityCheck.Org, Inc., a Conservative policy advocacy group established to promote and defendconservative social, political and economic principles nationally, through the origination and dissemination of commentary, analysis, news and research tools via the public Internet and other channels. TheRealityCheck.Org, Inc. is located in Fairfield County, CT.

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