Protect children from religious coercion

December 8, 2016

Protect children from religious coercion

Dear Friend of Justice,
Imagine that your children or grandchildren were forced to participate in a religious ceremony at school, without your knowledge or consent.

That’s what happened to Candice Servatius, who was shocked to learn that her two children had been subjected to an aboriginal “smudging” ceremony at their elementary school.  Her daughter was told it would be “rude” not to submit to smoke being waved over her to “cleanse” her “spirit.”

The school explained in a letter to parents that “everything has a spirit and energy” and “bad energy” must be “cleansed” from the furniture, classroom and children by fanning smoke from Sage over “the body and spirit” of each child.

Agree or disagree with these beliefs as you wish, but there is no denying that these aboriginal spiritual teachings are as “religious” as any that might be found in the Bible or Koran.

John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni, BC, eventually apologized to Mrs. Servatius for failing to notify her of this religious ritual ahead of time.  But the School District insists it will continue with these religious rituals in the classroom.

Indeed, several months after the September “smudging,” the school held an assembly at which an aboriginal prayer was said.

On a side note, could you imagine the uproar if children had been required to recite the Lord’s Prayer in class, or at a school assembly?

The School District claims that smudging and aboriginal prayer are “cultural” practices.  This is true, but misses the point.

There is a world of difference between teaching children about Islam, and requiring children to kneel on prayer rugs in the direction of Mecca and say a prayer to Allah.

In similar fashion, students can benefit from learning about aboriginal religious beliefs without being coerced to participate in religious rituals, prayers and ceremonies.

With the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, courts have interpreted a Charter right to be “free from” religion.  That means not coercing children or adults to participate in any religious prayer, ritual, ceremony or practice.

Whether the aboriginal religious practices are also “cultural” is irrelevant.

In Mouvement laique quebecois v. City of Saguenay, the Supreme Court ruled that “the state must neither encourage nor discourage any form of religious conviction whatsoever.  If the state adheres to a form of religious expression under the guise of cultural or historical reality or heritage, it breaches its duty of neutrality.”

Thirty years ago, the progressive left insisted that public schools must be secular, and launched a crusade against all expression, prayer and practice of religion in our public schools.  They rejected the compromise solution of exempting students who disagreed with, or objected to, the religious practice.

So what’s going on here?

How can it be wrong to force students in a secular public school to participate in the practices of some religions, yet perfectly fine to compel participation in others?

The answer has to do with the progressive left worldview, held by many teachers and administrators in our public schools, not to mention the teachers’ unions.  This worldview is based on group identity.

Socialists and Communists divided the world into property-owning bourgeoisie (“oppressors”) and labouring property-less proletariat (“victims”).

With Communism having been discredited after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, group identity is now defined by social criteria, such as race, religions, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
As with the Communist ideology, today there are still “victim” groups and “oppressor” groups when humanity is divided along racial, sexual, religious and gender identity lines.

Today, “social justice” means using the coercive power of the state to bring “equality” to victim groups.  This “equality” does not mean equal treatment or equal opportunity for individuals.  Instead, “equality” means trampling on individual rights by favouring so-called victim groups at the expense of so-called oppressor groups.

Modern progressives define Christians as an “oppressor” group, and aboriginals as a “victim” group.

This twisted view of “equality” concludes that the practice of Christianity in schools should be forbidden, yet students should be compelled to participate in aboriginal religious practices.  It punishes one group and favours another—thereby making these groups less “unequal” in the progressive  worldview.

But treating individuals or groups unequally (even if in the name of “equality”) fundamentally undermines the rule of law.  It is arbitrary use of power, completely contrary to our free society.

What’s happening at John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni, BC, is not an isolated case.  And if we want to stop the rule of law from being undermined, we have to challenge abuses of power like these.

That is why the Justice Centre is representing Candice Servatius in her court action against John Howitt Elementary School.

Our fight to defend the free society, in this court action and many others, continues only through the generous support of Canadians like you, who care about protecting the dignity and freedom of each individual.

We’ve show that, when given the tools, we can get the job done.

Here’s a partial list of our accomplishments.  In 2016 the Justice Centre:

  • secured a victory for free expression against the Brandon University Student Union, which had banned a student pro-life club from campus;
  • helped secure victories for the Charter freedoms of Trinity Western University in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, BC Supreme Court,  Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, and BC Court of Appeal;
  • secured a victory for free expression for Mary Stanko against the St. Catherines Library Board, which had censored her newsletter for referring to the “supremacy of God” in the preamble to the Charter;
  • published the 2016 Campus Freedom Index, grading the policies and practices of 60 Canadian universities in regard to free expression;
  • secured a victory for Collette Schouten against the City of Calgary when it attempted to censor a peaceful political display in a city park;
  • sued the student union at Ryerson University for banning the Men’s Issues Awareness Society student club from campus;
  • advocated for the conscience rights of medical professionals before a Parliamentary Committee, regarding “Medical Assistance in Dying” (assisted suicide) legislation; and
  • advocated for the religious freedom of Kevin Kisilowsky, stripped of his Marriage Commissioner’s license by the Manitoba government because of his commitment to traditional marriage.

None of these actions would have been possible, if not for the support and generosity of Canadians like you.

You make what we do possible.

Friend, will you help us win the legal fight for Candice Servatius and her kids?

Please support our court application with a tax-deductible donation today You can donate securely at www.jccf.ca, or mail a cheque to the address here below.
Sincere thanks,

John Carpay, B.A., LL.B.
President
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
#253, 7620 Elbow Drive SW • Calgary, AB • T2V 1K2

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The Holy Land Stinks Like S—-

September 23, 2016

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016      Source here

Israel’s Stench
When I think I have heard it all, then I read about Israel’s national stench policy. I am referring to Israel’s use since 2008 of “skunk juice” as a weapon to keep Palestinians under control.
Victims have no idea of its chemical make-up but if they are sprayed with it, it takes days of scrubbing to get rid of the stench. In a land where water is scarce, smelling like the sewer is a disheartening experience.

According to Ben Ehrenreich, Skunk trucks could show up at any time, especially during celebrations, such as weddings, birthday parties, funerals or times of worship. Someone yells “skunk,” and everyone runs.

There was that truck, the white one idling behind the jeeps, a clear liquid dripping from the cannon on its roof. The liquid it so violently emitted was called skunk water. No one knew what chemicals it contained or what effect exposure to it might bring, but everyone knew what it smelled like. It smelled like dead dogs in a dumpster in August. Mainly, it smelled like shit. And no matter how many times you scrubbed your hair and your clothes, the scent would linger for days, even weeks.[1]

Run home, lock your doors. You still can’t hide from it. Skunk trucks drive down neighborhoods and business districts spraying its putrid smell on everything within a hundred yards. Its odor may linger in clothing for five years.[2]

Skunk is powerful stuff. A reporter described its effect:

Imagine taking a chunk of rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer, placing it in a blender and spraying the filthy liquid in your face. Your gag reflex goes off the chart and you can’t escape, because the nauseating stench persist for days.[3]

Palestinians living under Israeli occupation do not have to imagine. They know:

The truck blasted Mohammad’s house next, the jet of fluid smashed the first-floor windows and knocked him from his feet. He had just come home, triumphant from his close escape. Shattered glass cut his face and chest. Skunk water saturated the carpets and couches.[4]

Forty percent of Palestinian males have spent time in Israeli jails. Said Tamimi was one of them. After serving twenty years, he came home to find his house saturated with skunk juice. Once this happens, carpets, upholstery and clothes never get rid of the stench and wind up being thrown away. Even at that, he was lucky. Others have been hospitalized, either from the effects of the skunk itself or having been injured in the stampede running away from it.

Israel needs a new flag, one to represent Israel today. It would be brown. The Star of David, the symbol of a proud and praiseworthy Jewish heritage is far, far above skunk juice.

Thomas Are
September 20, 2016

[1] Read Ben Enrenreich, The Way to the Spring, (Penguin Press, New York, 2016) p. 30. Even better; Google: Israeli Skunk Trucks and watch any of the numerous videos of Israel in action.
[2] Wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_(weapon)
[3] Wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_(weapon) Skunk has been condemned by Physicians for Human Rights, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, B’Selem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel..
[4] Ben Enrenreich, The Way to the Spring, (Penguin Press, New York, 2016) p. 76.


Christian blogger forced to shut down in Canada

February 9, 2014

Canadian conservative website shuts down after losing defamation suit, owners plan appeal

by Colin Kerr

  • Mon Feb 03, 2014 18:49 EST

February 3, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The conservative website Free Dominion is shutting down after a libel suit was successfully concluded against its owners.

The plaintiff, Richard Warman, is an active human rights lawyer who has been involved in several high-profile cases heard by Canada’s human rights tribunals and in defamation suits on his own behalf in the Ontario Superior Court, notably against the National Post and Ezra Levant.

A screen grab from FreeDominion.ca.

The jury in the Free Dominion case ruled in October that the website’s owners, Mark and Connie Fournier, and two other defendants had committed defamation against Mr. Warman, and “acted in a manner that was highhanded and oppressive towards” him, the ruling stated.

The judge who reviewed the case for the purposes of assessing the issue of legal expenses affirmed the jury’s October decision, stating that the defendants “wrote postings to the political message board disparaging the plaintiff on many occasions. … The jury found that the defendants had acted with malice towards Mr. Warman and, as a result, awarded aggravated damages in the amount of $9,000.00 and also awarded $18,000.00 in punitive damages.”

On January 23rd, Ontario Superior Court Justice, Robert Smith added to this fine an additional sum of $80,000 for Mr. Warman’s legal costs. The sum was divided up according to a formula determined by the judge between the four defendants, with the largest share levelled against the owners of the site.

In addition to the approximately $107,000 fine, an injunction was issued against the site to “never publish, or allow to be published, anything negative about Richard Warman,” according to the Fourniers.

“This means we are barred for life from ever operating a public forum or a blog (even about cookie recipes) where the public can comment,” the Fourniers state.

“If we do so, any one of Warman’s handful of supporters could, and probably would, use a common proxy server to avoid being traced, plant a negative comment about Warman on our site, and we would both be charged with contempt of court. If that happened –unlike in the Ottawa courtroom where we were blocked at every turn from presenting a defense– we actually would have no defense. We would both go to jail.”

“As of today, January 23, 2014, and after 13 years online, Free Dominion is closing its doors to the public. We have been successfully censored.”

The verdict in the Fournier-Warman case is particularly interesting in light of the repeal of section 13 of Canada’s Human Rights Act by Parliament on June 26th of last year. Conservative thinkers had widely blamed the provision for being used as a political weapon by the Left to silence their opponents. No doubt many of these critics would include Warman himself among those having done so.

Warman’s career has been tied to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, for whom he worked from 2002 to 2004, and was himself criticized for “posing as a neo-Nazi in order to suss out the names and addresses of his targets, in a strategy that verged on entrapment,” the National Post reported. Edward Peter Lustig, a member of the CHRC, referred to Warman’s actions as “disappointing and disturbing.”

Section 13 had banned “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” if the person or persons affected are “identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

In an audio message given on the Fourniers’ donation site, Connie says, “There is something wrong in a free country where negative comments about a government employee can land you in prison. … It is a precedent that endangers every single Canadian who allows comments on their forum or blog. Defamation law is wrong and outdated.”

The Fourniers plan to appeal the ruling, and consider that, if it is allowed to stand, the ruling will have a chilling effect on web-based political commentary in this country.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Ezra Levant, who has himself been at the centre of the free-speech controversy, said that, “Lawfare—that is, costly nuisance suits—is an increasingly common tactic of the political left in Canada. It’s not just against websites.”

“It’s evident that since Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was repealed, Richard Warman has shifted his campaign of ‘lawfare’ to other legal venues, including defamation actions.”


Christian Prosecuted And Fined For His Beliefs: No Free Speech In Canada

March 1, 2013

[I notice that Justice Marshall Rothstein doesn’t cite any of the hate passages in the TalmudSuch judicial hypocrisy is hard to take without vomiting. mw]

Supreme Court’s Whatcott decision disappoints religious freedom advocates

 Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:48
William Whatcott – Register file photo

OTTAWA – A Supreme Court of Canada decision in the case of William Whatcott has disappointed religious freedom and free-speech advocates.

On Feb. 27 the Court upheld some significant parts of a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruling against Whatcott, a Christian activist who faced complaints concerning four pamphlets he distributed criticizing homosexual behaviour. The Court upheld the Tribunal’s ruling that Whatcott’s pamphlets equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and described homosexual sex practices as “filthy.”

In upholding the general principle of freedom of religious speech and the freedom to teach or share religious beliefs, the Court ruled those rights are unlimited “except by the discrete and narrow requirement that this not be conveyed through hate speech,” wrote Justice Marshall Rothstein on behalf of the six justices.

Rothstein said two of the flyers exhibited the “hallmarks” of hatred that had been identified in previous case law.  He said the pamphlets portrayed “the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.”

The SCOC reinstated $7,500 of the original $17,500 in penalties Whatcott had been ordered to pay the complainants.

Constitutional lawyer Iain Benson, who argued for Whatcott, said the decision does “not recognize that hatred is too vague a term if it is disconnected from incitement to cause imminent violence or physical harm.”

“There is a real need for new thinking on the terms that it uses — ‘discrimination’ and ‘vulnerable groups’ — where what is really at issue is not ‘attacks on the vulnerable’ but strong feelings about what is and what isn’t permissible sexual conduct,” said Benson. “The court seems unable to make these distinctions with any convincing logic.”

Although the Court struck down a portion of the code — striking out part of a section that refers to expression that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity” of identifiable groups — it left in place the “troublesome” phrase “tends to expose to hatred,” said CCRL executive director Joanne McGarry.

The ruling also leaves in place a system where people can be prosecuted for hate speech without benefit of the rules of evidence, right to counsel and the presumption of innocence found in a real court of law, McGarry said. This means people continue to be vulnerable to complaints about religious expression like those faced by Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for a 2005 pastoral letter and newspaper column defending traditional marriage.

“The League will continue to stand for the principle that any intrusion on Charter-protected freedoms should be left at the criminal level, which has its own internal processes before a charge can be laid, and a standard of proof of an intention to provoke hatred as part of the charge,” said CCRL president Phil Horgan. He said the code is likely to continue to be used to prosecute people who argue for Christian morality.

“It’s not much help to publishers or clergy wondering ‘Can I say this?’ or “Can I say that?” McGarry said, noting the whole category of hate speech “is subjective.”

“I find it troubling that statements that are true or based on fact are not considered a defence,” McGarry added.

But the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), another intervener, welcomed the decision’s positive aspects.

“It’s actually a pretty decent decision,” said the EFC’s vice president and general legal counsel Don Hutchinson. “Most importantly the Court has clearly stated that the Bible and biblical positions on public policy issues are legitimate for public conservation and discourse.”

“In doing so, the court has essentially said that the biblical principle of sharing the truth in love is acceptable,” he said. “But sharing in a way that vilifies or would cause detestation towards an identifiable group would be considered hatred.”

“Justice Rothstein has done a favour for civility in public discourse,” he said, noting that he gave several examples of how Whatcott might have made his case differently.

“Genuine comments on sexual activity are not likely to fall into the purview of a prohibition against hate,” Rothstein wrote. “If Mr. Whatcott’s message was that those who engage in sexual practices not leading to procreation should not be hired as teachers or that such practices should not be discussed as part of the school curriculum, his expression would not implicate an identifiable group.”

“The other thing they have done very clearly in striking down part of Section 14(b) is to say “hurt feelings or personal offence are not enough,” Hutchinson said.

Also on the positive side, both CCRL and the EFC see a silver lining in the decision’s respect for precedent and how that could affect decisions on Canada’s prostitution laws or on euthanasia that are wending their way through the courts.

Tom Schuck, a Saskatchewan Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) member who represented Whatcott, said Whatcott is “very disappointed” as well as concerned that if he speaks out again the Human Rights Commission could impose a permanent ban on his speaking on these issues.

“I am concerned about him and what’s going to happen to him,” said Schuck. “He feels he has the responsibility to preach God’s Word in the most effective way possible.”

The CCRL and EFC were among more than two dozen interveners on both sides in the case that pitted freedom of expression and freedom of religion against equality rights of disadvantaged groups to be protected from language that vilifies and marginalizes them.


Time for world to confront Israel: Gilad Atzmon

June 18, 2010

Time for world to confront Israel: Gilad Atzmon

http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article66233.ece

By SHABANA SYED | ARAB NEWS

Published: Jun 14, 2010 19:42 Updated: Jun 14, 2010 19:42

According to the famous Israeli-born Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon, “The ideology that carried out execution-style killings on the Gaza aid flotilla the ‘Mavi Marmara’ is the same ideology that carried out the massacres at Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana, Gaza, Jenin and the murder of Rachel Corrie — more than that it is the same ideology that killed Christ.”

He continues: “there is no biological, racial or ethnic continuum between the ancient Israelites and the contemporary Israelis. The attack on the aid convoy is a continuum of the same ideology that killed Christ. Christ’s killing is a symbol of a brutal assault against goodness, in the same way the attack on the aid convoy was against humanity and compassion.” Speaking to Arab News after the deadly attack on the aid Flotilla where 9 peace activists were shot dead and around 50 injured Atzmon was scathing against Israel’s actions and demanded that it should be stripped of its UN membership.

Atzmon is a former Israeli soldier who now lives in London. He is not only a renowned author and writer but also a famous award-winning jazz musician. Described as a musical genius he has recorded with the likes of Robbie Williams, Sinead O Connor, Robert Wyatt Paul McCartney, Tunisian singer Dhaffer Youssef and countless others.

With a strong presence on and off stage and a disarming smile, Atzmon has a huge following not only for his music but for being a unique thinker and philosopher.

Admired for his fearless stance against oppression, he is also at the forefront of a taboo discourse that many will not venture into out of fear of being branded anti-Semite; and that is the discourse on the Jewish identity, Zionism and Israel.

Because of this stance, he has been branded a “Jew self-hater.” Atzmon smiles: “in fact I correct them ‘I am not only a self-hater but a proud self- hater.'” The accusations do not deter him as he is quite vocal about the self-hatred he feels for the Israeli part of him. He argues: “We are dealing here with a morbid collective that sets itself against humanity.” He believes the reason why he is at the forefront of this discourse is because he is more able than others to understand Israeli mentality because, “I come from them, and I know how they think.” He himself has studied for many years the issue of the Jewish identity, and in his talks is often found quoting philosophers like the Austrian Otto Weininger, Kant, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Lacan, Marx as well as Eastern philosophers.

He explains: “Israel has violated all international laws, it has never been held accountable for the countless massacres.” However, he argues the latest massacre of peace activists on the aid flotilla with the emerging forensic reports which suggest Israeli execution-style killings of the 9 peace activists has resulted in shock horror around the world.

“The remarkable fact is they don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s. Instead of asking why we are hated they continue to toss accusations on others.” In his latest article titled “Jewish Ideology and World Peace,” he argues: “Within the discourse of Jewish politics and history there is no room for causality… Within the Jewish tribal discourse every narrative starts to evolve when Jewish pain establishes itself. …It also explains why for most Jews the history of the holocaust starts in the gas chambers or with the rise of the Nazis. I have hardly seen any Israelis or Jews attempt to understand the circumstances that led to the clear resentment of Europeans toward their Jewish neighbors in the 1920s-40s.”

Born and brought up as a Zionist in Israel, Atzmon believes it was his love of music that first opened his eyes to the world. “I was brought up to believe that Jews were the chosen people and no one was better than us. Then I discovered jazz and found out that many of the great jazz musicians were black Afro-Americans. That was the first dent in the theory of our greatness and as I picked up the stones more truths began to come out.” At 19, Atzmon was stationed as a soldier to Lebanon where he saw for the first time thousands of Palestinians living as refugees. “We were told that the Palestinians had left and gone to other Arab countries, so when I saw thousands of refugees living without the basics I realized that we had stolen their land.” Atzmon also witnessed the atrocities the Israeli Army was committing against the Palestinians; so as soon as he could, he left the army and left the country for good.

“My studies have shown me that the Jewish identity is foreign to humanism, it is tribal and has evolved as an outcome of an exilic culture.” He argues that we can learn a lot about Jewish collective ideology by looking closely to the biblical “Story of Esther” which he argues teaches Jews the art of infiltration into politics and governments.

He continues: “This form of infiltration is clearly evident in America today where the Jewish lobby (AIPAC) dominates the political discourse. Also in Britain we have the British Jewish lobby, and the ‘Friends of Israel’, we also have people like David Aaronovitch, The Times columnist and Nick Cohen of The Observer, who advocated for war with Iraq. Both write for the Jewish papers, are known sympathizers of Israel and have contributed extensively to the growing Islamophobia in Britain. Lord Levy, a rabid Zionist was funding the Labour Party when it went into an illegal war with Iraq which led to over a million Iraqi fatalities.”

He continues: “We have the likes of David Miliband the Labour MP; I wonder how many people know that he is listed on the Israeli propaganda site as an Israeli propagandist author. Did you know that under the last government, when everyone was talking about Israel’s killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai by using forged British passports, David Miliband was busy attempting to amend the laws of universal jurisdiction so Israeli war criminals could enter Britain.”

In his latest article Atzmon writes: “Enough is enough; it is time to name and shame every Israeli and Zionist infiltrator within political circles, media and academia.” Maybe it is the soldier in him but there are not many subjects that Atzmon is not afraid to confront. The biggest taboo subject today is to question the holocaust. In many European countries one can be jailed for questioning the numbers killed or to what extent gas chambers were used? Atzmon however has no fear when he says: “I do not deny that Jewish suffering took place, I also lost family in it. However if the established holocaust narrative is true why do we need laws to protect it?” He continues: “We want a coherent narrative open to scrutiny. We owe it to ourselves, to history to find out the truth and I don’t mean the truth through emotionally charged Hollywood films. Also I reiterate that those involved in an academic and historic inquiry should not be threatened with law suits and abuse.”

To stop further world conflicts, Atzmon believes that governments should confront Israel. He argues that unlike the last Labour government that indulged Israel to continue its brutal assaults, while its leaders Blair and Brown were honorary patrons of the Jewish National Fund UK, the new government has to take a stronger stand. “In order to end one of the most brutal occupations of Gaza we need to ban Israeli aircraft from British airspace, impose EU trade sanctions against Israel and strip Israel of its UN membership.” For Atzmon the tide is turning and humanity which is bound together by human ethics and morals need to stand together against Israel before it takes us to war with Iran which according to him “is its next step.”

© 2010 Arab News


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