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TORONTO, January 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian journalism student who says he was unjustly fired from his university newspaper because he embraces the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and transgenderism filed a complaint before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal arguing the paper unfairly discriminated against him.
Jonathan Bradley, 21, is a fourth-year journalism student at Ryerson University, which is located in Toronto, and worked for the school’s independent student newspaper, The Eyeopener, since 2017.
Bradley was fired from The Eyeopener in June 2020 after screenshots of private conservations from three years ago between him and a former classmate were publicly tagged to The Eyeopener’s Twitter page. In those conversations, Bradley stated his Catholic views on homosexuality and transgenderism.
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Catherine Abes, informed Bradley in an email that his private Twitter discussion where he defends the “notion that homosexuality as well as being transgender is considered a sin,” might upset those in the LGBTQ community. As a result, he was fired from his position at the newspaper.
“Recently, The Eyeopener’s Twitter was tagged in a thread involving screenshots of a conversation in which you defended the notion that homosexuality as well as being transgender is considered a sin. I see that you have tweeted this sentiment in the past and also defended it in the present day. You are entitled to your opinion and are free to express it online; The Eyeopener cannot and would not control that,” wrote Abes to Bradley, as stated in his Ontario Human Rights Tribunal statement.
“However, we are responsible for ensuring that our Eye community — including sources, contributors, readers and editors — feel safe and comfortable in working with The Eyeopener and coming into our space,” she continued. “I fear that since you’ve made your opinion public, members of our community, especially queer, trans and non-binary folks, would no longer feel safe if you are associated with the publication. It’s for these reasons that I’ve come to the decision that you can no longer contribute to The Eyeopener.”
In a July 29, 2017, tweet, Bradley stated, “It makes clear that transvestism is a sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Look at Revelations 22:15 and 1 Corinthians 9:6-11.”
His tweet came in reply to a question from a user who said the Bible does not make anything clear about “trans people” and that one passage about “homosexuality” might be “mistranslated.”
Bradley’s private conversation regarding his tweet with a former classmate was posted on June 3, 2020, in which the classmate urged The Eyeopener to fire him for his comments.
“@RyersonU @theeyeopener jonathan has tweeted blantantly homophobic and transphobic things. in 2017, he point blank said that homosexuality is a sin. i called him out publicly and messaged him privately and this was what happened. YOU NEED TO DO BETTER,” wrote @serenarubino.
Bradley replied on Twitter, “Was this a gotcha moment or arising out of extreme boredom? If you read my messages correctly, you would see I’m quoting what the Bible says. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, including the Bible. The Bible’s 2,000 years old. How old are you?”
In the private messages posted publicly, Bradley had a back and forth with his former classmate, talking about many issues, which included free speech, religion, and homosexuality.
“I don’t see how my comments are homophobic or transphobic, as that is what the Bible teaches,” Bradley said, adding, “I hate that people freak out when someone says something that the Bible made clear. I want people to remember that they can be forgiven for any sin, no matter how serious, as long as they repent. Do you get what I’m saying?” said Bradley.
“The world we live in is secular, especially living in Canada, and that needs to be respected. You can worship God and believe being LGBTQ+ is a sin all you want, just don’t publicly say it,” retorted his former classmate.
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Information about the Geneva Consensus Declaration - https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/oga/global-health-diplomacy/protecting-life-global-health-policy/geneva-declaration.html
The text of the Geneva Consensus Declaration - https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/geneva-consensus-declaration-english.pdf
CLC article, 'Canada Must Join the Geneva Consensus Declaration' - https://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/clc-blog/id/118/title/canada-must-join-the-geneva-consensus
LifeSite article, '32 nations, including US, declare ‘no international right to abortion’ at UN' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/32-nations-including-us-declare-no-international-right-to-abortion-at-un
Bradley’s application to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal stated his termination from The Eyeopener “on the basis of him sharing his creed on social media” is a “discrimination in the area of employment, based on the enumerated ground of creed, and is contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
“It is illegal discrimination for an employer to punish an individual on the basis of that individual sharing his or her legal and permissible creed in other forums. Allowing the respondent to discriminate on this basis would set a dangerous precedent for all employees who hold and share a particular creed,” the application continued.
The application also refers to his Catholic upbringing and faith, including the “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and the Bible. “As a devout Roman Catholic, he relies on texts from his faith, including the Bible and ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
“He describes his creed as follows: I am a strict Roman Catholic. The Bible and ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church’ are core to my beliefs. I strive to follow the Bible and I do my best to apply ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church’ to my life. The Ten Commandments are important to me. I feel the world would be a better place if people followed the Ten Commandments. I pray at least four times a day. There are religious mementos in my room that I rely on.”
Regarding homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The Catechism emphasizes that those with homosexual inclinations are called to a life of chastity, and while their “inclination” is “objectively disordered,” homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Bradley is looking to be reinstated as an employee at The Eyeopener and seeking $20,000 in general damages.
His tribunal application states that he suffered “(l)oss of opportunity” and “(r)eputational harm,” “(i)njury to feelings and self-respect, loss of dignity, as well as victimization and humiliation” regarding his termination.
The Eyeopener has strongly responded to the accusation it had discriminated against Bradley, according to a report in The Catholic Register.
“We strongly refute the applicant’s allegations of discrimination. Nonetheless, we will honor the (human rights tribunal) processes at this time and not comment further.”
According to the report, Carol Crosson, who serves as Bradley’s lawyer, stated that punishing a person for their beliefs “puts a chill on speech, even past speech.”
“The right to free speech in society, and to disseminate our beliefs, is crucial. It’s crucial for a functioning democracy. Should it be that individuals are punished for their conversations, that really goes against the foundational freedoms that we have in society. It puts a chill on speech, even past speech,” Crosson said.
Bradley has a GoFundMe page to help with his legal fees.
“I am raising funds for my legal claim against my former employer, a campus newspaper, who terminated me as a result of me sharing on social media some of my Roman Catholic beliefs,” says Bradley on his GoFundMe page.
“Legal action can be expensive, so your help is appreciated. I believe there is a silent majority that believes in freedom of expression and freedom of religion. I urge the silent majority to speak up along with me by supporting this claim.”