Thaddeus Baklinski


Thousands of homeschoolers, Christians rally against Alberta Education Act over freedom concerns

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski

EDMONTON, March 20, 2012 ( - The protest against the inclusion of the Alberta Human Rights Act in Section 16 of the province’s proposed new Education Act (Bill 2) is escalating, with over 2000 attending a peaceful protest at the Alberta Legislature on Monday, March 19.

Paul Faris, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, attended the protest and told LifeSiteNews that the rally was “a huge success.”

“With at least 2100 people attending, this rally was amongst the largest in Alberta history,” Faris said.

This was the second protest in as many weeks by homeschooling families and other concerned Albertans. The protests were organized by the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) to express their grave concern over a stipulation in Section 16 that all instructional materials in schools, including home and private schools, “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”

Faris observed that “it wasn’t just homeschoolers there, but lots of private, Catholic and public schoolers, so it’s becoming a very broad-based movement of parents who are concerned that the government is taking away their freedom in education.”

The focal point of the protest is the possibility that home and private schools that teach the precepts of their faith could be prosecuted by human rights tribunals for “hate crimes” under the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA). The AHRA has been used in the past to prosecute conservatives and Christians, most notably pastor Steve Boissoin, who was found “guilty” by a tribunal of “hate speech” against homosexuals after he published a letter to the editor in a local newspaper. That conviction was subsequently overturned by the court system.

Faris remarked that Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk spoke to the rally, trying to assure parents that their rights would not be infringed by the proposed legislation, but then concluded that the two sides might have to “agree to disagree.”

“A large number of people who are protesting and facing me but yet at the same time believe in exactly the same things that I believe,” Lukaszuk said, then added, “We may end up agreeing or disagreeing on the wording of it, but I am confident that your rights will be protected.”

“It’s ironic,” Faris told LifeSiteNews, “that later in the day Lukaszuk’s office announced that he plans to invite a committee of twenty Alberta parents to get feedback on what people want. It just amazed me. Here are 2100 people who care so much they came to the Legislature on a cold day, and now he’s saying he wants to hear what people think.”

“It’s clear, that when 2100 concerned parents from every form of education care so much about the issue that they come to rally on the steps of the Legislature, if he’s not listening to them then he’s clearly signalling that he really doesn’t care what the people of Alberta think, that he’s going to do what he wants,” Faris said.

An open letter delivered to the government at yesterday’s protest by Alberta Citizens for Diversity in Education (ACDE), which was endorsed by numerous groups, including REAL Women of Canada, states that the signatories are “concerned that the inclusion of the Alberta Human Rights Act in Section 16 could expose any Albertan informed by a religious or cultural perspective on a variety of different doctrinal or cultural issues to prosecution by Alberta Human Rights tribunals. We ask you to confirm the many verbal assurances that this is not the governments intent by amending Bill 2: The Education Act so as to address these concerns.”

The organizers of the protest are demanding that the six words, “and the Alberta Human Rights Act” be removed from the legislation.

“In order for our message to be crystal clear, it is important for us all to present the same message to our government,” AHEA states. “The message is: take 6 words out.”

The Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association has also taken a stand against the new Education Act.

In a letter submitted to the government the trustees state, “If passed, Bill 2 has the potential to seriously effect publicly funded Catholic education in Alberta, Catholic school boards, and Catholic schools, teachers, staff, and students.”

The ACSTA expresses concern about the proposed sharing of facilities and boards with public schools, and states that the Trustees Association “supports Catholic parents as the primary educators of their children and that the new Education Act must reflect this primacy of the home and parents as primary teachers.”

The legislation has passed two readings and is now being debated by the Committee of the Whole before going to third and final reading scheduled for Wednesday, March 21.

Faris indicated that the reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act in Bill 2 must be expunged in today’s Committee of the Whole session if it is to be done by this government. However, with an election call anticipated in the very near future the legislation may be delayed.

“I don’t know how the government can ignore so many voices of concerned parents from right across Alberta. I think they would be foolish to go into an election knowing that there are so many people who care passionately about this issue and who believe their voices are being ignored,” Faris concluded.

Contact Information:

Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk, Education Minister
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
[email protected]

Premier Alison Redford
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B7
Phone: 780-427-2251
E-mail: Use this form.

Contact info for Alberta MLAs.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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