NewsMon Feb 28, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry Warns Christians not to Trust Religious Protection in Same Sex Bill
CALGARY, February 28, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Fred Henry, in a brief editorial in the Calgary Sun, has called the Liberal Party to task on the impending same sex marriage legislation. He reminds Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew that Canadian Christians are still waiting for an apology.
Pettigrew, said in January that the separation of Church and state, a political concept that exists mainly in the mind of liberal ideologues, meant that Canada’s churches “should not get involved” in the same-sex marriage legislation debate.
Bishop Henry is apparently aware that those expecting an apology will have a while yet to wait. He says in his February 27th editorial, “It is clear the churches, in their opposition to same sex ‘marriage’ legislation, are starting to get under his thin skin.”
“To ask clergy and believers,” writes Bishop Henry, “not to base their contribution to society and political life—through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy—on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good, is to deny their basic rights.”
The bishop of Calgary writes that even up to a few weeks ago, he was not worried about the fundamental right of religious believers to participate in the Canadian version of democracy. “But I am now,” he says.
Religious officials, that is ordained clergy, are safe from coercion except for one unique qualifier, “…absent unique circumstances with respect to which the Court will not speculate.” Here he says, in this ambiguous, open ended and undefined exception clause, there is “an open door.”
Bishop Henry warns, “Particular circumstances might lead to some future court legitimately trying to force religious officials to perform these ceremonies against their conscience, though the justices decline to speculate on what those circumstances might be.”
Bishop Henry also points out that the claim of federal protection for freedom of conscience is meaningless since the matter is one of provincial jurisdiction. He points to the marriage commissioners who are being forced to choose between their religious beliefs and their position.
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