Thaddeus Baklinski

,

Canadian universities given failing grade on free speech: pro-life groups most affected

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski

CALGARY, December 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to a report released by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) December 8, Canadian universities fail in promoting and protecting free speech, most notably when it comes to the rights of pro-life groups on campus.

This failure has a “spin-off effect that harms the health of free speech” in society, says the report.

“If censorship is OK on a university campus, I think there is a spin-off effect that harms the health of free speech outside the university as well,” said Calgary lawyer, JCCF president, and lead author of the report, John Carpay. “Taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to these institutions that promise to be a forum for frank debate. It’s disconcerting to see this.”

Join a Facebook page to end abortion here

The 2011 Campus Freedom Index rates 18 public universities, and their student unions, in terms of their commitment to upholding the rights of students to express their beliefs, opinions and philosophy on campus.

No Canadian university was found to rate “good” in all categories, however the University of New Brunswick, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University received the best marks.

Carleton University, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Calgary were ranked the worst.

The introduction to the Index states that one of the biggest threats to free speech in Canada comes from universities which condone illegal activities on the part of people who interfere with, and effectively shut down the events and speeches of people they disagree with. It notes that universities in Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo, Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary have turned a blind eye to people physically obstructing and disrupting speech with which they disagree.

The report found that most campus censorship was focused on university pro-life clubs, which have repeatedly been denied club status by student unions, denied the right to space to hold symposiums and show displays, and have been subjected to regulations regarding their pro-life activities that are not demanded of other students’ clubs.

“I think every age has a viewpoint that is particularly unpopular,” Mr. Carpay said. “But the most important thing I emphasize is if universities and student councils can censor the pro-life view, then they can censor anything and they will eventually censor anything.”

The Index rates Ottawa’s Carleton University as one of the worst offenders. On October 4, 2010, four members of Carleton Lifeline and one supporter from another campus were arrested by Ottawa police for “trespassing” on the Carleton campus because they tried to set up a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display at Tory Quad, a well-travelled and high-traffic area on campus. The display included graphic images of aborted babies as well as pictures of the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust.

The university stated that it sent police to arrest the students expressly because of the content of the group’s expression.

A video showing police confronting the students has been posted to YouTube. During the video, an unnamed member of the Carleton University administration tells the group, “this display at this place is a prohibited activity.”

The trespassing charges were withdrawn by Crown prosecutors in November, with the explanation that issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in a civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration on grounds of wrongful arrest.

Carleton Lifeline announced in February that they were suing the University and its administration for discriminatory treatment over the 2010-2011 academic school year.

Albertos Polizogopoulos, lawyer for the Carleton students, told the National Post that the Campus Freedom Index reveals the “frightening … depiction of how freedom of expression is being curtailed. Universities are going down a line where they become defenders of indoctrination and ideology rather than defending inquiry.”

John Carpay is currently defending members of the University of Calgary’s Campus Pro-Life (CPL) club who are asking for a judicial review of a UofC decision that found eight students guilty of “non-academic misconduct” for having set up a pro-life display on campus. The students refused to comply with the university’s demand that the signs be set up in a circle facing inwards, such that people walking by could not see the signs.

“The University of Calgary’s patronizing and paternalistic approach - trying to decide on behalf of students what they can and cannot see - has no place in a free society,” observed Mr. Carpay, “especially not at a public university that is funded by Alberta taxpayers.”

The full text of the “2011 Campus Freedom Index,” along with an in-depth report on each of the 18 universities in the Index (The state of campus free speech in 2011) is available from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms website.

 

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

, ,

Louisiana judge orders state to recognize gay ‘marriage’

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

A Louisiana judge on Monday ordered state officials to recognize the out-of-state “marriage” of a lesbian couple and allow one of the women to legally adopt her partner’s child.

Angie Costanza and Christy Brewer were “married” in 2008 in California, but Louisiana’s marriage protection amendment, passed by 78 percent of voters in 2004, prevented the state from recognizing the couple’s union.  The pair sued in 2013 to overturn the law, in part because Costanza wanted to be listed as a parent on Brewer’s son’s birth certificate. 

Initially, Judge Edward Broussard dismissed the case without a hearing, but the couple appealed.  On Monday, Judge Edward Rubin took their side, ruling that Louisiana’s marriage protection law is unconstitutional in three ways:  According to Rubin, the ban on same-sex “marriage” violates the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, as well as the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Rubin’s decision comes just weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman declared Louisiana’s marriage protection law constitutional – the first federal judge to decide in favor of a same-sex “marriage” ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year. “There is simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage,” Feldman wrote in his decision. 

However, because this case is being tried in the state courts, Rubin’s decision will take precedence over Feldman’s, pending appeal.

The state plans to appeal Rubin’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, the federal case is also moving forward.  Ultimately, it is expected that the question of whether statewide bans on same-sex “marriage” are constitutional will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2015. 

Advertisement
Featured Image
Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral Shutterstock.com
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

New archbishops in Chicago and Madrid: Ratzingerians out, ‘inclusiveness’ in

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White
Image
Chicago's Archbishop-elect, Blase Cupich

Pope Francis announced Saturday that he is appointing as archbishop of Chicago a prelate best known in pro-life circles as the man who ordered his priests in 2011 not to participate in local 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. The media and Church watchers describe him as “progressive,” “inclusive,” and “left-of-center.”

The appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich, current head of the Spokane diocese in Washington, to America’s third most prominent see – an appointment which Vatican watchers predicted would signal the pope’s priorities for the direction of the U.S. Church – has been widely praised by liberal Catholics and opponents of Church teaching but met with concern by many Catholic activists.

The archbishop-elect gave a sense of his approach to the U.S. “culture war” in an interview Sunday with Chicago’s CBS affiliate, in which he suggested he would be open to giving Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and a person wearing a button in favour of same-sex “marriage.”

“As long as they’re in church, are willing to hear the word of God, be open to Christ’s call of conversion for each one of us, then I think that that’s sufficient for me,” he said. “We cannot politicize the Communion rail and I just don’t think that that works in the long run.”

Cupich will replace the ailing Cardinal Francis George, known in the US as a “Ratzingerian” for his strong defense of Catholic orthodoxy, particularly on issues of sexual morality, but who is suffering from cancer and is overdue for retirement at age 77. The archbishop of Chicago is also normally granted the “red hat” and made a cardinal, which would make Cupich eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. Cupich is scheduled to be installed in Chicago November 18.

The Chicago appointment mirrors that of another outside the US in recent weeks. Rome announced August 28 that Carlos Osoro Sierra, 69, will be installed as the new archbishop of Madrid, Spain’s capital city and largest archdiocese. But the story in Madrid has less to do with the new appointee and more to do with the would-be appointee who was demoted.

Until just before the appointment, most Vatican watchers expected the prominent post to be given to 68-year-old Vatican Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, dubbed the “little Ratzinger” for his orthodoxy in line with Pope Benedict XVI.  When LifeSiteNews interviewed Cardinal Cañizares in 2009 at the time of his appointment as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, he noted that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians was a charitable act.

Leaving his Vatican post, he was considered a natural for the Madrid spot. But instead it went to the archbishop of Valencia, and Cañizares is to fill that vacancy instead.

The former archbishop of Valencia is known for his strong “liberal” leanings and he will be replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 78, who, like Cañizares, is also known for following the lead of the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

El Pais wrote of the new appointee that Catholics of the Madrid archdiocese, accustomed to the “hieratic” Varela, will be seeing “an entirely different model.”

“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment, the most repeated words to define his figure were ‘dialogue’ and ‘moderation.’”

“During the 12 years he has been the head of the Catholic Church [in Madrid], Rouco Varela has too often mixed faith and politics, with an overdose of intransigence. Defending the (exclusively traditional) family and attacking laws that recognize the right of women to abortion are the main workhorses.”

Catholic News Agency’s Vatican-watcher, Andrea Gagliarducci, wrote that the appointment marks a “new course for Spain’s bishops.” He is described in the Spanish press as “affable,” “friendly,” and “extremely gregarious.” 

As for Cupich, David Gibson of Religion News Service described him as “a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing.”

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

Vatican watcher Rocco Palmo, author of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, wrote that the appointment is “the most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last decade and a half.” Another Vatican veteran, John Allen Jr., wrote for the US Catholic online magazine Crux that Cupich so closely mirrors Pope Francis’ theology and style that he could be called the “American Pope Francis in Chicago.”

On his blog, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, known for his icy relations with the pro-life movement, shared his excitement over the “new breeze” brought by Cupich’s appointment. The bishop noted that Cupich “admires deeply the ecclesiology and vision” of leftist prelates such as former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn and former Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.

The news of Cupich’s appointment was met with praise in the mainstream press. According to The New York Times Francis has “set the tone” for US appointments by “replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.”

It has also been praised by dissident Catholic groups such as the homosexual activist group New Ways Ministries. Last year, the group issued a roundup of evaluations of the various leading members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who were set to elect a new president. New Ways praised Cupich for his intervention in the 2012 debate leading up to a referendum on “gay marriage” in Washington State. Cupich’s only intervention was a pastoral letter in which he asked voters to uphold traditional marriage, but also called for a “more civil and honest conversation about Catholic positions on equality.”

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

Cupich stood out from his fellow US bishops in his response to the abortion-funding Obamacare. Though he joined his other bishops in condemning the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic employers cover abortifacients and contraceptives, he encouraged Catholic Charities in his diocese to act as an Obamacare navigator and help people sign up for coverage that could fund the destruction of unborn life.

He also condemned the line of other US bishops when they threatened to shut down Catholic social services. “These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” Cupich wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Today the anti-Catholic organization Call to Action issued a press release saying they are “relieved” at the appointment. “At a time when numerous U.S. Bishops are choosing to fight ideological battles, Pope Francis’ selection of Cupich demonstrates a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.”  

Call to Action, like New Ways Ministries, works to overturn Catholic doctrine, particularly on sexual matters, from within the Church, and has received the censure of the US bishops for their activities. They wrote, “The choice of Cupich shows promise for a church which can be closer to the people. Catholics in Chicago and beyond yearn for a faith rooted in the Gospel call of love and justice over rigid orthodoxy.”

Share this article

Advertisement
Rick Perry
Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

,

Rick Perry: Joan Rivers’ death shows Texas is right to require abortionists to have admitting privileges

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

In the wake of the high-profile death of comedienne Joan Rivers due to complications from throat surgery at an outpatient clinic in New York City, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed to the tragedy as an example showing the necessity for his state’s one-year-old law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.

"It was interesting that when Joan Rivers -- and the procedure that she had done, where she died -- that was a clinic,” Perry said at a Texas Tribune event on Sunday. “It's a curious thought that if they had had that type of regulations in place, whether or not that individual would be still alive.”

Many observers have criticized the governor’s remarks, noting that Rivers’ surgery was performed in a fully licensed ambulatory surgical center by a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as is the current standard for abortion facilities in Texas, but died anyway.  However, the painstaking investigation into what may have gone wrong at the New York City clinic reveals that while all surgery carries risks, ambulatory surgical centers are required to take every precaution to ensure the safety of their patients, in contrast to more loosely regulated abortion clinics, where injuries and deaths are rampant, and often covered up.

While 32 separate medical associations have signed a joint agreement stating that anyone “performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital,” abortion businesses have fought such regulations tooth and nail, arguing that requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges is too burdensome and will cause clinics to close their doors.  

Abortionists have also opposed tougher safety restrictions forcing them to adhere to the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, arguing that upgrading their substandard facilities to meet hospital-grade requirements is costly and unnecessary.  But proponents of such regulations point out that the tiny parking lots, narrow hallways, and lack of elevators common to most abortion facilities are serious impediments to getting lifesaving help to women in case of emergencies, delaying paramedics who can’t park their ambulances or maneuver gurneys through such buildings.  In addition, licensed ambulatory surgical centers must have and properly maintain state-of-the-art resuscitation equipment, and train employees in their use – something abortion clinics have repeatedly been cited for failing to do.

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook