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Government to churches: no right to speak out against same sex marriage
by Arthur Weinreb, Associate Editor,
February 1, 2005
At a meeting of the Liberal caucus last week in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew was asked what he thought about the plans of some Quebec churches to speak out against the governments same sex marriage legislation. Pettigrew indicated that he didnt think that the government and the churches should get involved in each others affairs.
The Minister was quoted in the National Post, one of the few media outlets to report the exchange, as saying, "I find that the separation of the Church and State is one of the most beautiful inventions of modern times."
Its beauty is perhaps only topped by the vividness of Pettigrews imagination.
Well at least the Minister got the part about the "modern times" right. The Canadian concept of separation of church and state goes all the way back to the Chrétien era (1993-2003). Chrétien used it so that he could brag about how he kept the clergy and any mention of God out of ceremonies that commemorated the victims of 9/11. Then again, Chrétien also kept the 25 Canadians who perished in the World Trade Centre and aboard aircraft that fateful day, and their families out of events that were held around September 11. Unlike the present Martin government, Chrétien did not attempt to go directly after the churches.
Although the notion of the separation of church and state is not found in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights or any other formal American document, it has nevertheless been part of the American landscape since shortly after the country was founded. It is a concept that has never played a role in Canada, and it is ironic how the anti-American Liberals freely adopt concepts from the country of idiots and bastards when it suits their political purposes.
Unlike the United States, Canadas current constitution dates back only to 1982. Despite such a recent redrafting and the addition of a Charter of Rights, Pettigrews beautiful notion was never given a formal mention. The Charter of Rights does however entrench freedom of expression although the Liberal government is quite willing to deny it to those in the church; at least those Christians that dare to disagree with Liberal policy.
What little Petey Pettigrew is doing is denying ministers, priests, bishops, and other church officials their rights as Canadian citizens to express their opinions. And this notion that the church is somehow interfering with what is properly within the realm of secular government (same sex marriage) is utter nonsense. Whatever "rights" that gays and lesbians have been denied in the past or in the present all stem from religious teachings. If anything, the government is interfering with religion; not the other way around.
This is not the first time that the Martin government has attempted to bully or threaten the churches. Recently, the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) threatened to withdraw the charitable status of churches if they speak out on "political issues" such as gay marriage. While tax exempt status is conditional upon not having a political purpose, the churches were warned that since same sex marriage was now a political issue, the churches were risking their status if they spoke out about it. Of course Martin, Pettigrew and the gang remain silent when the United Church of Canada (sometimes referred to as the NDP at prayer) speaks out in favour of same sex unions. Separation of church and state is only raised in an attempt to silence and coerce those who oppose the Liberal government policies.
Paul Martin and his flacks like Pierre Pettigrew talk a good game about rights and tolerance. But they have no tolerance towards Christians and their religious opinions (in spite of the fact that Paul pretends to be a devout Catholic). While Martin can hardly utter a complete sentence without including the words "the Charter of Rights", he has no compunction about denying Christians that disagree with him, their rights under the Charter to freely express their opinions.
Pettigrews statements; uttered on behalf of the government of Canada, was Christian-bashing pure and simple. Church leaders have no right to express their opposition to the government; they are second class citizens.
Much like the flags that he used to fly on his Canada Steamship boats, Paul Martin thinks that rights under the Charter are to be exercised only for convenience.