A defiant Bishop Fred Henry refused to apologize Wednesday for his comments opposing same-sex marriage in the face of two complaints filed with Alberta’s human rights commission.
The complaints, filed independently, claim the Calgary bishop attacked homosexuals in remarks he made in a letter published in the local press and on the website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary in January.
But the outspoken Henry claims he is the victim of an attempt to muzzle him.
"Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are foundational, and if we’re to have an honest debate in society, all the voices have to be heard, including that of the churches," said Henry, who recently said if he had the power he’d consider excommunicating Prime Minister Paul Martin over his government’s plan to legalize same-sex marriage.
The controversial bill will be voted on in less than two weeks.
"I think I’m owed an apology for putting me through this rigmarole of harassment and intimidation and attempt to silence me," Henry said.
The complaints were filed by Norman Greenfield and Carol Johnson, who were both troubled by a paragraph in Henry’s letter that starts by grouping homosexuality with adultery, prostitution and pornography as forces that "undermine the foundations of the family."
Henry’s letter finishes by stating the "state must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good."
The letter later infers that homosexual sex is an "evil act." [Source]
Here are some excerpts from the Bishop’s January letter.
Contrary to what is normally alleged, the primary goals in seeking legalization of same-sex “marriage” are not the financial or health or inheritance or pension benefits associated with marriage. The search for stability and exclusivity in a homosexual relationship is not the driving force. The principal objective in seeking same-sex “marriage”is not really even about equality rights. The goal is to acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society’s rejection of homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance.
It is significant to note that 18 months after same-sex “marriage” arrived in Canada (principally as a result of court decisions in Ontario and British Columbia), more than 95% of adult Canadian gays have chosen to ignore their new legal right.
…Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good.
It is sometimes argued that what we do in the privacy of our home is nobody’ s business. While the privacy of the home is undoubtedly sacred, it is not absolute. Furthermore, an evil act remains an evil act whether it is performed in public or in private.
Personal choice is exercised both in opting for the marital state and in the choice of one’s spouse. However, the future spouses are not free to alter marriage’s essential purpose or properties. These do not depend on the will or the sexual orientation of the contracting parties. They are rooted in natural law and do not change.
The committed union of two people of the same sex is not the same human reality as the committed union of one man and one woman. A same-sex union is not a physical union that transmits human life, producing children. A same-sex union is not the joining of two complementary natures that complete each other. Simply stated, a same sex union is not marriage. The idea that homosexuals can create same sex “marriage” through their individual choice is false. All the packaging in the world doesn’t alter substance.
Some would allege that opposing same-sex “marriage” is pure prejudice. This contention is also false. There are human rights laws, which say: men and women must be paid the same wage for the same work; an employer may not refuse to hire someone because of the skin colour; landlords may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. These decisions uphold the rights of the individual and, at the same time, strengthen Canadian society. They encourage us to recognize the humanity of the other person.
Furthermore, a man and a woman wanting to marry may be completely different in their characteristics such as: colour, ethnicity, in wealth and social status, physical attributes, and educational background. None of these differences are insurmountable obstacles to marriage. The two individuals are still a man and a woman, and the requirements of nature are respected. Two individual of the same sex, regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition or fame, will never be able to marry because of an insurmountable biological impossibility.
The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to same-sex couples is not discrimination. It is not something opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires such an opposition.
A February letter on Church and State separation is also good reading in reference to Canada’s Supreme Court.
My first concern has to do with the Supreme Court’s decision.
Their decision on the marriage reference indicates that "the protection of religion afforded by s.2 (a) of the Charter is broad enough and jealously guarded in our Charter jurisprudence." Religious officials are protected "from being compelled by the state to perform civil or religious same-sex marriages that are contrary to their religious belief." Freedom of religion also prevents "the compulsory use of sacred places for the celebration of such marriages."
However, there is a disturbing qualifier added in the decision, i.e. "absent unique circumstances with respect to which the Court will not speculate, the guarantee of religious freedom in s. 2(a) of the Charter is broad enough to protect religious officials …"
Here we have an open door. Particular circumstances might lead to some future court legitimately trying to force religious officials to perform these ceremonies against their conscience, though the justices decline to speculate on what those circumstances might be. It is disquieting that the Court would even raise the possibility.
My second concern has to do with the government’s "heavenly deception" re Bill C -38.
According to the preamble and S.3 of the Bill, officials of religious groups are protected from performing same-sex marriages, if it is contrary to their beliefs. These are absolutely meaningless provisions. Religious groups are not so protected by this same-sex legislation.
The federal government knows that the Supreme Court of Canada in the same-sex marriage reference case specifically stated that religious rights are matters of provincial jurisdiction only and that the federal government has no authority over them.
Ironically the courts talk about separation of church and state and then we have the current human rights violations filed against the Bishop. I guess this alleged separation is a one way street. None of this of course is surprising. Jesus said that the student is not greater than the master and if they have persecuted me they will persecute you. To be left alone in a post-Christian society is not necessarily a good sign, but possibly a sign of being from Laodicea.
Update: I wonder if the Catechism can also be considered a human rights violation with the talk of homosexual activity being "gravely disordered." The Pope’s new book might also be considered a violation since he wrote concerning homosexual marriages that they are part of "a new ideology of evil" that is threatening society,