Archive for category: Opinion

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Michael Kinnamon on ecumenism and politics

By Michael Kinnamon The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon is general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. He was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1976 and has served as a pastor, seminary professor and dean, and staff to such ecumenical bodies as the World Council of
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Posted: March 28, 2008 • Permanent link:
Categories: Opinion
Transmis : 28 mars 2008 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Opinion

Bishop Henry on Alberta’s Human Rights Act

Bishop Henry on Alberta’s Human Rights Act

The following letter from Bishop Frederick Henry, Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary (Alberta), to Ed Stelmach, Premier of the Province of Alberta, was recently published on the front page of the diocesan website. Bishop Henry is known for his willingness to speak publicly about controversial issues. The Human Rights Commission has been a particular concern of his in the past. This letter provides further insight into Bishop Henry’s concerns.

Dear Premier Stelmach:

I have raised the issue of the Alberta Human Rights Commission several times with you in the past eighteen months. On each of those occasions, you said that you understood the issues and shared my concerns. However, the situation is continuing to deteriorate across our country and the various levels of governments are seemingly non-responsive.

April 2008: The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered an evangelical Christian charity, Christian Horizons, to rescind its morality code and require employees to undergo anti-discriminatory training. In addition, Christian Horizons has been ordered to pay $23,000 plus lost wages for terminating Connie Heritz’s employment based on a morality code which she freely and knowingly signed as a condition of employment and which she failed to adhere to.

Every religious institution should have the jurisdictional independence to determine its own confessions, doctrines and ordinances, including conditions of employment.

May 2008: A Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal has fined a Regina marriage commissioner, Orville Nichols, $2,500 after finding he discriminated against a gay couple when he declined to perform their same-sex ceremony. Nichols, who has performed nearly 2,000 marriages since 1983, had referred the couple to another marriage commissioner because he said his religious beliefs (Baptist) kept him from performing the ceremony.

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 which 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.

Each judgment emanating out of our various Human Rights Commissions 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.

June 2008: The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal fined Stephen Boissoin, $5,000.

Section 30 of the Alberta Human Rights Act states: “Evidence may be given before a human rights panel in any manner that the panel considers appropriate, and the panel is not bound by the rules of law respecting evidence in judicial proceedings.” It would also seem that this panel is also not bound by reasonable argument or the elementary rules of logic but is free to skewer anyone not espousing and proclaiming politically correct views. Darren Lund, the complainant, said that Boissoin’s words in his 2002 letter to the Red Deer Advocate were hateful, and furthermore, an assault on a gay teenager three weeks later could be connected to them. No proof of either was presented.

Lori Andreachuk, the chairperson of the Tribunal, agreed that his words were “likely” to expose gays, “a vulnerable” group, to hatred due to their sexual orientation. No court in the land would connect the letter and the assault but this silly tribunal did.

Andreachuk acknowledged that “In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward…” However, she also wrote: “Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.” One might ask on what grounds?

She concluded that Boissoin “… shall pay to Dr. Lund an award for damages, jointly and severally, in the amount of $5,000.00.” Lund wasn’t the victim of any kind of discrimination and yet he is handsomely paid, and subsequently, feted as Gay Pride Parade Marshall in Calgary.

The tribunal effectively stripped Boissoin of his right to freedom of speech. “Mr. Boissoin ….. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” What is meant by “disparaging”? This is tantamount to ruling out honest debate and a plurality of views in the public sphere lest someone be offended by a differing viewpoint.

The tribunal decided to extract a further pound of flesh by way of public humiliation. “Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate which was the subject of this complaint.” What happens if Lund is not satisfied with the apology?

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 . (“No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.”) 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.

Sincerely yours,

F. B. Henry
Bishop of Calgary
July 6, 2008
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Posted: July 6, 2008 • Permanent link:
Categories: News, OpinionIn this article: bishops, Catholic
Transmis : 6 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : News, OpinionDans cet article : bishops, Catholic

ABC’s Pastoral Letter to the Anglican Communion

As the Lambeth Conference of 2008 comes to an end, I want to offer some further reflections of my own on what the bishops gathered in Canterbury have learned and experienced. Those of you who have been present here will be able to share your own insights with your people, but it may be useful for me to add my own perspectives as to where we have been led. For the vast majority of bishops, it seems, this has been a time when they have felt God to have been at work. The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions; in spite of the way some have expressed their expectations, Lambeth Conferences have never worked straightforwardly in this way. The Conference Design Group believed strongly that the chief need of our Communion at the moment was the rebuilding of relationships – the rebuilding of trust in one another – and of confidence in our Anglican identity. And it was with this in mind that they planned for a very different sort of Conference, determined to allow every bishop’s voice to be heard and to seek for a final outcome for which the bishops were genuinely able to recognize an authentic account of their own work.
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Posted: August 26, 2008 • Permanent link:
Categories: ACNS, OpinionIn this article: Anglican Communion, Lambeth Conference, Rowan Williams
Transmis : 26 aoüt 2008 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : ACNS, OpinionDans cet article : Anglican Communion, Lambeth Conference, Rowan Williams

Celebrating Easter Together

By Nicholas Jesson On April 24th next year, we will celebrate Easter together in the Eastern and Western calendars. This happens occasionally, and it can always be a moment of great ecumenical opportunity. However, it also reflects one of the deepest divisions in the Body of Christ. Easter, as the celebration of the passion, death,
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Posted: October 27, 2010 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Christian unity, dialogue, Easter, ecumenism, WCC
Transmis : 27 octobre 2010 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Christian unity, dialogue, Easter, ecumenism, WCC

Four Basic Principles of Ecumenism

When I moved to Saskatoon sixteen years ago, I was surprised by the ecumenical interest that I encountered in the churches. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, Saskatoon has the only ecumenical centre in Canada which focuses on parish ecumenism. This diocese has a history of ecumenical cooperation and experimentation that goes back to our earliest settlements. Over the years I have discovered that at the core of the prairie ecumenical experience there are some basic principles that provide guidance and insight to the search for Christian unity here, just as they do throughout the church. These principles are found in our own experience, but they are rooted in our biblical and doctrinal convictions about Christian faith and life. I think we experience these in a particularly unique way in Saskatchewan.
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Posted: February 8, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Christian unity, spiritual ecumenism
Transmis : 8 février 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Christian unity, spiritual ecumenism

Towards an eco-theology

The accepted axiom is, as the climate changes so the world, too, will change in dramatic and sometimes undesirable ways. What does this often rapid change mean to Christians whose faith is intertwined with the glory and beauty of God’s creation, but challenged when that creation is corrupted and irreversibly altered?
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Posted: March 30, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: climate change, ecology, environment
Transmis : 30 mars 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : climate change, ecology, environment

Celebrating Easter Together

This weekend we celebrate Easter together in the Eastern and Western calendars. This happens occasionally, and it can always be a moment of great ecumenical opportunity. However, it also reflects one of the deepest divisions in the Body of Christ. Easter, as the celebration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is at the heart of our Christian faith. The division over the date of Easter is a visible sign of division within a more profound unity, and thus is scandalous.
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Posted: April 23, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Christian unity, dialogue, Easter, ecumenism
Transmis : 23 avril 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Christian unity, dialogue, Easter, ecumenism

Rowan Williams: Time for us to challenge the idols of high finance

The full text of an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, published in The Financial Times newspaper:

It’s sometimes been said in recent years that the Church of England is still used by British society as a sort of stage on which to conduct by proxy the arguments that society itself doesn’t know how to handle. It certainly helps to explain the obsessional interest in what the Church has to say about issues of sex and gender. It may help to explain just what has been going on around St Paul’s Cathedral in the last couple of weeks.
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Posted: November 1, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Anglican, economic ethics, Rowan Williams
Transmis : 1 novembre 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Anglican, economic ethics, Rowan Williams

What Assisi Has Lost: A report from the meeting of religious leaders

Of all the challenges faced by the Vatican in organizing the 25th anniversary of the historic interreligious gathering in Assisi in 1986, the hardest was how to make it newsworthy. The 176 delegates–representing, said the Vatican, “not only the world’s religions, but all people of good will, everyone seeking the truth”–whom Pope Benedict XVI led by train from Rome to the town of St Francis were comprehensive in their diversity. But if the Christian delegations on October 27 included the top men–Pope Benedict himself, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I–the delegates from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and others included no obvious celebrities, or even organizations whose presence might have raised an eyebrow. Even the inclusion of four non-believers failed to create a stir, for it was not Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens standing with the pope but little-known academic philosophers.
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Posted: November 14, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Assisi, interfaith
Transmis : 14 novembre 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Assisi, interfaith

Working to be One

In the first century, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians about the Church as “one body with many members,” he had no idea of the differences and divisions that would come to fragment the Church so many centuries later. Paul wrote to address the particular concerns that were plaguing the early Christian communities. He pointed out that “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

It’s not difficult for us to apply the metaphor of the Church as the body to our congregations. We recognize the different gifts that are shared within our church communities – preaching, teaching, administration, music, hospitality, prayer, evangelism, and more – and we learn to value the different gifts and to acknowledge their importance for the healthy functioning of the church as a whole, as one body.

But what if this metaphor is meant to apply not only to the local congregation, but to the whole Church throughout the world? John’s Gospel indicates that it was Jesus himself who first prayed for the unity of the Church: “I ask … on behalf of those who will believe in me … that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
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Posted: December 1, 2011 • Permanent link:
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Christian unity, ecumenism, Presbyterian Church in Canada
Transmis : 1 décembre 2011 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Christian unity, ecumenism, Presbyterian Church in Canada

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