Calgary’s Bishop Henry Calls on Premier to Curtail Powers of Human Rights Commissions
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
CALGARY, June 23, 2008 (LifeSIteNews.com) - Bishop Fred Henry has asked Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach to repeal Section 3(1)(b) of the Alberta Human Rights Act in order to protect the rights of religious freedom and freedom of speech.
In a letter to Premier Stelmach, Bishop Henry points out that in the past 18 months he has raised the issue of the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) several times with the Premier. "On each of those occasions, you said that you understood the issues and shared my concerns."
"However," he continues, "the situation is continuing to deteriorate across our country and the various levels of governments are seemingly non-responsive."
In particular, the recent ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) against Christian youth pastor Stephen Boissoin has convinced the Bishop that decisive measures must be undertaken to curtail the powers of Canada HRCs.
"Each judgment emanating out of our various human right commissions," writes Bishop Henry, "seems to be more brazen and bizarre than the one that preceded it. However, for inane stupidity and gross miscarriage of justice our own Alberta Human Rights Tribunal deserves to take first prize for its treatment of Stephen Boissoin."
Boissoin was convicted by the AHRC for hate speech after he published a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate expressing his disagreement with the radical homosexualist agenda. The AHRC ordered him to pay $7,000 in fines, and to refrain from ever again making "disparaging" remarks about homosexuals, in any venue whatsoever. Mr. Boissoin has also had to resign his job ministering to at-risk youth because of the adverse publicity his case brought to the Christian charity that employed him; as well, he has had to carry the cost of his defence himself.
In the world of the HRCs, Bishop Henry writes, "The conflict between social pressure and the demands of right conscience can lead to the dilemma either of abandoning a profession or of compromising one’s convictions."
"Faced with that tension, despite the ruling of the commission, we must remember that there is a middle path that opens up before workers who are faithful to their conscience. It is the path of conscientious objection, which ought to be respected by all, especially legislators."
"Every person has the right to have their religious beliefs reasonably accommodated."
Bishop Henry also commented on the April Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling, which ordered an evangelical Christian charity, Christian Horizons, to rescind its morality code and require employees to undergo anti-discrimination training. Christian Horizons was also ordered to pay $23,000 plus lost wages for threatening to terminate Connie Heritz’s employment. Heritz resigned from her position at Christian Horizons after being told she would likely be fired for having violated the terms of the morality code which she signed by openly living in a lesbian relationship.
"Every religious institution should have the jurisdictional independence to determine its own confessions, doctrines and ordinances, including conditions of employment," the Bishop stated.
Bishop Henry also criticized a recent Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal decision against marriage commissioner Orville Nichols, who was fined $2,500 for refusing to officiate at a same-sex wedding.
The letter to Premier Stelmach concluded with a demand to remove provincial human rights legislation that disregards rights listed in the Canadian constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and tramples on freedom of speech.
"Mr. Premier, we have talked enough about the inadequate provisions of and appointment to the Alberta Human Rights Tribunals. It is time to repeal Section 3(1)(b) of the Alberta Human Rights Act and to protect the rights of religious freedom. Every person has the right to make public statements and participate in public debate on religious grounds."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com articles:
Bishop Henry Adds His Own to the Voices Crying out Against Canada’s Human Rights Tribunals
Huge Christian Ministry to Disabled Fined $23,000 For Rejecting Homosexual Employee
Christian Ministry to Disabled Drops its Code of Conduct Under Human Rights Tribunal Pressure
Saskatchewan Marriage Commissioner Fined For Refusing To "Marry" Homosexuals
Marriage Commissioner: "I Couldn’t Live With Myself if I Were to Perform Same Sex Marriages"