Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
May 25, 2009
Abolish the human rights commission's ability to prosecute
The Alberta government's proposed amendments to its Human Rights Act have pleased no one. Christian activists are upset that the amendments have failed to curtail the province's human rights commission's ability (and willingness) to limit freedom of speech. Others, including the Alberta Teachers' Association, are anxious that the government's efforts in the amendments to protect the rights of parents will lead to teachers being prosecuted when they discuss religion, sexuality or sexual orientation in the classroom.
Maybe, just maybe, the combined outcry will finally drive some sense into the government and convince it to abandon the policing of public discourse.
Despite the outcry, the government was right in attempting to protect the rights of parents to shield their children from anti-religious, pro-homosexual propagandizing in the classroom. Parents are the primary educators of their children and schools are ultimately servants of parents and their values.
The rights of parents are not without reasonable limits. But any society that gives the primary responsibility for the care and education of children to the state is on a path to totalitarianism. The usurping of parental rights is about the clearest sign of totalitarianism that one can find.
But now that the shoe is on the other foot and the purveyors of "tolerance" are the ones who will become subject to prosecution by a human rights tribunal, it is gratifying to hear the outcry.
For the last several years, it has been those who have been critical of the growth of homosexual rights and privileges that have been the primary target of the human rights kangaroo court.
The ATA fears that if the legislature approves the proposed amendments, teachers will now join those subject to the tribunals and their lack of due process, lack of any presumption of innocence for the accused, lack of basic rules of evidence and lack of any compensation for the falsely accused.
Perhaps now that the ATA is outraged, the government will finally see that there has to be a better way of engendering respect for minorities than hauling alleged bigots in front of a Kafkaesque tribunal.
Children should be enabled to treat those with a homosexual orientation – as well as those of different races, cultural origins and creeds – with respect. So, for that matter, should teachers and newspaper columnists. It would be a step forward, for example, to see Catholic bishops and other Christians treated with the same respect as others on the op-ed pages of The Edmonton Journal.
But stop trying to deal with these concerns – except in clear-cut cases of the promotion of hatred – through prosecution by a powerful, ill-constructed human rights tribunal. Respect democracy and abolish the human rights commission's ability to prosecute.
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