Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Do Conservative Governments Detest Human Rights?

Since the Reform/Conservative government first came to power, even as the official opposition, there have been increased discussions about human rights; in particular Human Rights Commissions.

All faith-based groups that support neo-Conservative parties, will bluster and blather about how their rights have been violated and how they are being persecuted as Christians, because they are no longer allowed to promote their beliefs in a public forum.

Well any group that needs to preach intolerance toward any section of our population, is not a religious, but a hate group.

This is not the basis of Christianity, but the basis of the anti-Christian Religious Right.

Despite what many believe, this movement, which originated in the United States, was not created to oppose things like gay rights or abortion, but the desegregation of schools.

The Original Sin of the 'Christian Right'.
Max Blumenthal
May 19, 2008

Indeed, it was race-not abortion or the attendant suite of so-called "values" issues-that propelled Falwell and his evangelical allies into political activism....

Falwell launched on the warpath against civil rights four years after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate public schools with a sermon titled "Segregation or Integration: Which?"

"If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made," Falwell boomed from above his congregation in Lynchburg. "The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line."

Falwell's jeremiad continued: "The true Negro does not want integration.... He realizes his potential is far better among his own race." Falwell went on to announce that integration "will destroy our race eventually. In one northern city," he warned, "a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife."

When desegregation was out of their control, the Religious or Christian Right, turned their attentions to what they refer to as 'other faiths' that threaten their supremacy, or what they deem the path that God has chosen for us. Their dogma outlines a clear path for the Jews, but they can't achieve that goal before they get rid of the 'others'.

Pat Buchanan made the following comments:

"There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'Negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours." (Right from the Beginning, Buchanan's 1988 autobiography, p. 131)

We're going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America.-- (Pat Buchanan, campaign address at an anti-gay rally in Des Moines, Iowa, February 11, 1996)

"Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free".(Speech to the Christian Coalition, September 1993)

John Hagee, who is another Conservative favourite: "Islam in general -- those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews."

Jerry Falwell: "If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth". ("Moral Majority Report")

Toronto Star columnist, Haroon Siddiqui, had this to say recently about the situation in Canada:

Why Tories are worrying about rights tribunal
Jun 21, 2009

Why is it "politically toxic" to say that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario be scrapped?

Why might this idea sink the Tories in the 2011 election, just as the religious school funding issue did in the 2007 election?

Why are the Tory leadership candidates all riled up over this?

Why are Tim Hudak and Randy Hillier attacking the human rights body (set up by a Tory premier, John Robarts), while Christine Elliott (rich coming from Ms. Elliot, wife of Jim Flaherty to speak out against this. Her husband lost his own provincial leadership race because he was deemed too right wing) and Frank Klees are defending it, and also accusing the other two of playing Mike Harris-style wedge politics?

Pull up a chair and sit down.

The subtext here is Muslims, as it was in the school funding issue and also the 2005-06 sharia debate.

Funding Catholic schools is a historic anomaly we live with. John Tory's goal of a level playing field by funding other faith schools would not have run into a buzz saw of public opposition had it not raised the fear of funding madrasas.

Similarly, Christians and Jews had been using religious-based arbitration since 1991 in family and business disputes. But no sooner had some Muslims requested it than we had hysteria over sharia.

For years, human rights agencies across Canada have been adjudicating complaints against anti-Semites, homophobes, etc. But when some Muslims cited Maclean's magazine for Islamophobic content, a storm broke out: political correctness was running amok, government censors were lurking at every corner and freedom of speech was in peril.

This is the bandwagon Hudak and Hillier are on, just as Jason Kenney and some federal Conservatives were.

There's a libertarian streak to this position ("No commission is gonna tell me how to behave"). But it is clear that Hudak and Hillier are playing the same game as Harris, who had tapped into a different sort of bigotry by demonizing minorities and those on social assistance. That Harris is Hudak's chief cheerleader completes the equation.

Such tactics can work, especially during recessions. They did for Harris. Witness also the recent wins by virulently anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim parties in the elections for the European Parliament.

But the politics of polarization, besides engendering deep divisions, can also produce unintended consequences.

The biggest losers of both the sharia and school funding controversies were not Muslims but rather Christians and Jews. The fallout from the controversy over the human rights commissions affects the Jewish community, historically the biggest target of hate-mongers.

Jewish groups have lobbied to keep the anti-hate provisions of the Criminal Code as well as the human rights codes. The first is punitive (you can go to jail for spreading hate), while the latter is remedial (getting the hate material removed from websites, etc.).
Both have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. It said freedom of speech is not absolute. It is not a licence to spread hate, which does pose a serious threat.

Stephen Harper has said (of course we already know that what Harper says and what he does are two different things) he will not axe the anti-hate provision of the federal human rights code. So, Kenney et al. have quietly fallen in line. Elliott, whose husband Jim Flaherty is a Harper minister, understands. So does Klees.

Hence their dire warnings against the Hudak-Hillier jihad on the Human Rights Tribunal, which risks offending both Jewish and Muslim groups, as well as those who want to protect such vulnerable groups as gays from hate.

Where else but in a democracy would the interests of such seemingly disparate groups merge?

We may agree to disagree on where to draw the line on freedom of speech vs. hate. We may tinker with the rules of human rights agencies to make them less onerous on the defendants. We would want to end the inconsistencies between the federal and various provincial bodies.

But what this debate shows clearly is that our common good rests in ensuring an equal application of the law for one and all.
Otherwise, we get the tyranny of the bigoted, the loudest or the most powerful.



    David Letterman's hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
    Speaking of anti-Semitism, it's Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who've gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
    Wrong! It's the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that'll outdo even Hitler's by stating that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this" and asks "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?"
    Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin's continuing "crucifixion"!
    While David, Sandra, and Kathy are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
    (For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in "Separation of Raunch and State" and "Bible Verses Obama Avoids.")

  2. This is exactly why church and state must be separated. Religious beliefs in this country are diverse and we should be able to debate politics without offending anyone's personal spirituality.

    On the other hand, if those beliefs are used to publicly incite hatred or fear, we need to have Human Rights Commissions to protect those targetted.

    My own feeling is that the only superior religions are those that treat all life, human or otherwise, with dignity and respect.