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Equality - In our faiths - Purging toxic religion in Canada

January 18, 2005 (updated with additional media quotations on Jan. 22)

Purging toxic religion in Canada
Gay marriage exposes faith-based bigotry

By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

As same-sex marriage continues its progress across Canada (8 regions have already legalized gay marriage, 5 regions continue to discriminate), opposition from religious extremists is highlighting the need to ensure that our country remains free from the inflammatory influence of faith-based bigotry and intolerance.

Calgary bishop Fred Henry leads the pack in Canada, disgracing his office and the Catholic church by issuing outrageous statements. You may recall that the bishop of bigotry said that our Prime Minister risked burning in hell for his support of equality in marriage (see Globe and Mail, July 21, 2003). Last weekend, Henry continued his toxic and prejudiced preaching through a letter that said, "Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good."

Even Alberta premier Ralph Klein distanced himself from Henry and what the Globe and Mail (Jan. 20 Editorial) called a "diatribe".

"I don't believe Bishop Henry's words that it leads to other things like prostitution, pornography.'' the premier told the Edmonton Sun on Jan. 21.

"The principal objective in seeking same-sex “marriage” is not really even about equality rights. The goal is to acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society’s rejection of homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance."
Catholic bishop of bigotry Fred Henry on the gay agenda (Letter from the bishop, Jan. 15, 2004)

Further, Henry argues that the privacy of one's home can be violated if activities in that home violate church teaching through "evil" acts (hide your birth control).

"It is sometimes argued that what we do in the privacy of our home is nobody’ s business. While the privacy of the home is undoubtedly sacred, it is not absolute. Furthermore, an evil act remains an evil act whether it is performed in public or in private."

"This is a stand the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops should promptly distance itself from. So should leading individual Catholic prelates ... This can only inflame prejudice, encourage hate-mongering and undermine the church's pastoral mission to reach out to every community."
said an editorial in The Toronto Star ( Jan. 19, 2005).

" ... a froth of fundamentalism and bigotry ... the last desperate shriek of man who fear's he's on the losing side ... the poor, turbulent priest must be having some sort of delusional flashback ... by this entry into the same-sex marriage debate ... the bishop has all but disqualified himself from further credible paritipation in it," said a subsequent article, "Bishop's sad tirade a reminder of a darker era", in the Toronto Star (Jan. 22, 2005).

We hope to hear more from Henry as gay marriage continues its righteous roll-out across Canada. Every time he spews his hateful message, he helps the cause of justice and equality by underscoring the need to ensure that our society and its laws are never degraded to his dogma. Henry has been compared to a fascist (a shared love of "coercive power"), and it's good Vatican collaboration with the Nazis; What history teaches us about attacks on freedom and same-sex marriage.to remember that bishops like him supported Hitler. Fortunately, his office carries none of the power of the past.

The Catholic Church leadership has already disgraced itself with its handling of the sexual and physical abuses perpetrated by its employees. Its authority is already ignored on matters of divorce and birth control. And they have lost the battle on gay marriage, unable to impose their religion on our secular laws.

We know from firsthand experience, as we've documented in our book Just Married, that gay marriage is leading Canadians towards acceptance of homosexuality. Henry doesn't like this because he knows that either his church will have to change or it risks the continued loss of support from its dwindling faithful. The lies this religion maintains about homosexuals cannot be supported when society reflects reality.

Earlier this month the leading Sikh authority in India (Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti) told the world's Sikhs that they must not support gay marriage. This from a country where it is common for Hindus and Sikhs to slaughter each other in response to disputes. Today, it was reported that Prime Minister Paul Martin encountered questions about same-sex marriage in India where he was travelling to express support for the victims of the tsunami disaster.

"Jathedar Vedanti said the idea of same-sex marriages originated from sick minds. The trend needed to be curbed, he said. He urged the Sikh sangat to seek guidance from Guru Granth Sahib and act as per the Sikh philosophy to stop such anti-human tendencies."
The Tribune, India, January 17, 2005

Canada has welcomed Sikhs seeking the sanctuary of our nation. The Canadian Charter has protected their rights and religion, enabling Sikhs, for example, to wear turbans as part of a police uniform (a right they had to fight for in court, using the Charter to protect them, as we have in our gay marriage legal battle). We're most confident that Sikhs in this country will not revert to the superstitions and behaviour of the underdeveloped countries they left behind, edicts from abroad notwithstanding.

Instead, we predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as Henry fears. But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long, thanks in part to Fred Henry and his kind.


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