When Rights Collide

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When Rights Collide

#1  Postby reddix » Jun 28, 2011 5:07 am

I thought this was interesting.

Can the Edmonton Public School Board be all things to all people? Can it still make accommodation for faith-based schools within its “big tent” — while still respecting and protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students?

That’s the subject of my column today - inspired by this recent story by my colleague Andrea Sands.

As I’m writing this blog, it’s only 10:15, but the column is already getting a strong reaction – though not quite the one I’d expected.

I confess, I thought I’d get a wash of homophobic hate mail. Instead, I’m hearing from some who feel I pulled my punches, that I didn’t speak out strongly enough in favour of gay rights.

“I was so disappointed by your column this morning. I very much appreciate your intent and your longstanding support for the GLBTQ community, however I think you have completely missed a fundamental point in your column today,” wrote one reader.

“It is time to say out loud that people who espouse discrimination based on a human trait do NOT have a right to have their “traditional values” respected. Do you respect the Taliban’s right not to educate women? Were the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland okay seeing as they were run by the Church? If you subscribe to a belief system that is in any way racist, homophobic or misogynist, why are you entitled to respect?”

I think that’s a legitimate response to my column. So let me be clear – clearer perhaps than I was the first time around.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of thought and freedom of religion. It also protects people from any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

For some people, those rights are in absolute conflict – and no compromise can bridge that fact.

Do I agree with people who believe that homosexuality is immoral? I do not. I personally think those views are discriminatory and narrow-minded, and I don’t want my public school board endorsing or supporting that kind of outdated prejudice.

But here’s the rub. Our system guarantees to all Canadians freedom of thought and freedom of religion. And I have to respect the rights of my fellow Canadians to believe things that I think are nonsensical, outmoded, or even hateful. People are entitled to believe what they believe, and to teach their children accordingly. But they are NOT entitled to have state sanction for those beliefs. The school board’s fundamental duty in this circumstance is to the protect the physical and emotional health of its queer students – including those who happen to attend faith-based schools...


continues here:
http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/0 ... s-collide/

for some background: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Chr ... story.html
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Re: When Rights Collide

#2  Postby logical bob » Jun 28, 2011 9:26 am

There's certainly some merit to what she goes on to say about the benefits of the public system having as many kids in it as possible. Nobody benefits from groups retreating into isolation. There have to be limits, however, to what the public system will do to accomodate intolerance.

School should be neutral territory in that the curriculum and culture should not be against any group. It this case it shouldn't be anti-gay and nor should it be anti-faith. The problem is that Christian groups can have a pretty far reaching view of what is anti-Christian. Some think acknowledging that gay people should have equal rights is anti-Christian and an attack on them. In fact, acknowledging gay rights has nothing to do with Christianity one way or the other.

It's very difficult to accomodate a group which thinks it's under attack when other people don't agree with it. I think it needs to be accepted that people who can't respect the choices of others (when their own choices receive respect) will withdraw and there's only so much that can be done to dissuade them.

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Re: When Rights Collide

#3  Postby trubble76 » Jun 28, 2011 9:36 am

Do they intend to accomodate all religious beliefs? For example my belief that access to drugs and boobies should be unrestricted.
Or are they just protecting traditional religious beliefs. Are Rastas permitted to consume cannabis in an unrestricted manner or are they told that their religious beliefs are secondary to the laws of the land? If it is ok to legislate against that particular religious belief, then why not bigotry as well?

I now demand my spliff and some boobies. :smoke:
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Re: When Rights Collide

#4  Postby lordshipmayhem » Jun 28, 2011 8:59 pm

trubble76 wrote:Do they intend to accomodate all religious beliefs? For example my belief that access to drugs and boobies should be unrestricted.
Or are they just protecting traditional religious beliefs. Are Rastas permitted to consume cannabis in an unrestricted manner or are they told that their religious beliefs are secondary to the laws of the land? If it is ok to legislate against that particular religious belief, then why not bigotry as well?

I now demand my spliff and some boobies. :smoke:

Here's your boobies. Blue footed ones.
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