Well folks, I guess by now the news is getting old. Damian Goddard, a television anchorman for Rogers Sportsnet has been fired for making his views on marriage public on Twitter.
On Tuesday May 10, Damian tweeted his support for Todd Reynold, Burlington’s hockey agent. Reynold voiced his disagreement of New York Rangers’ Sean Avery for filming a television ad in support of gay marriage.
Reynold’s radical views of marriage being between one man and one woman did not go unnoticed. CBC ran a segment of Q’s Sports Culture that debated whether hockey is “homophobic.” Instinct Magazine called for a petition to be signed by its readers and forwarded to Uptown Sports “to apologize and let Todd know” that he is “intolerant homophobic bigot hater.” The list of reaction from leftist media is too long to be enumerated in this humble blog space. Suffice it to say, if you are an advocate of traditional marriage in Canada, then please slam shut your door, fasten all your locks, and sleep with one eye open. You’ll never know when you’ll be found out. Should you happen to utter one word to express this crazy, dangerous, and bigoted notion that marriage is only true when it is between one man and one woman, then man o man. A tsunami will hit the social media; hurricanes and earthquakes of ‘equality supporters’ will flood the blogosphere to protest the awful injustice. In short, you might just find the police knocking on your door.
Nonetheless, the object of this blog is not really Todd Reynold. It is actually Damian Goddard’s case, Free Speech, and Religious Freedom. Damian has a twitter account just like the rest of approximately 190,000,000 people who are subscribed to the social network. In his personal twitter account, he decided to express a thought he had in his head using the 140-character status bar. This thought is empty of violence. It is empty of any type of any call for any violent act. The next day, Damian Goddard lost his job for revealing this thought. By now, I’m sure my reader is dying to know what exactly was it that Damian wrote that caused all this commotion? Here it is…
The next day, after the Internet and other media outlets went wild over Damian’s stance on marriage, Rogers Sportsnet signed his release forms. Folks, this is not Pakistan or Iran that we’re discussing here. This is Canada. A man was fired from his job for making his personal views known. Naturally, the two questions that beg themselves are: to what extent are we free to express ourselves here in Canada, and what sort of religious freedom do we have here. The best place to look for an answer to these questions is the recent history of Canadian record on handling Religious Freedom and Free Speech.
In the last two decades, a pattern in the way free speech and religious freedom are treated in this country has become very noticeable. Canada is constantly moving further to the left. Traditionally, leftist libertarianism always seeks to value individual freedoms over any institutional or communal agency (I blogged about this before). In Canada, libertarianism has gone so far to the left, that it has made a full circle (considering the earth is round) to find itself right next to Benito Mussolini. It is willing to take any measure to silence its opposition. In this sense, neo-liberalism has taken on a hypocritical façade. It always presents itself as a champion of tolerance and respect for the other, and yet it shows the least of tolerance or respect to any voice of opposition. I ask all my liberal friends here, where is your tolerance and respect for the other? I mentioned that there is a trend that is emerging which clearly demonstrates this fact. I would like to solidify this assertion with a couple of examples.
In January 2005, Bishop Fredrick Henry wrote a pastoral letter to the Roman Catholic diocese of Alberta. He outlined the problematic nature of same-sex ‘marriage’ and the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens from this evil act. Any rational enterprising defender of same-sex union would simply write, publish, or voice his/her opposing opinion over this matter. Instead, what happens after the publication of the good Bishop’s letter is a strange phenomenon that could be dubbed as the first in the history of Canada. The Bishop was summoned before the Human Rights Court to further explain the statements he made, which only mirrored the 2000-year-old teachings of the Church. The simple fact that a Bishop of the Church was summoned to a court for teaching authentic Catholicism speaks volumes of the state’s treatment of Freedom of Speech and Religion. This is nothing short of harassment. The Supreme Court of Canada has declared that Religious Freedom is “jealously guarded” by the Canadian Charter of Rights (Factum of the Intervener Ontario Human Rights Commission, at para. 53). Where is this protection when a Bishop of the Catholic Church cannot so much as openly declare the authentic teachings of the biggest religious group in the country? We still need to deal with the issue of freedom of speech. The Bishop, just like any other citizen of Canada, is entitled to his views and opinions. Harassing the Bishop by means of state intimidation is reminiscent of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia. I wish it stopped there. Things get worse.
On November 30, 2007, Rev. Stephen Boissoin was banned from “publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet” his views on homosexuality. This was in response to a complaint forwarded by Lund Darren, a homosexual activist, to a Human Rights Panel of Alberta (the title can be deceiving to say the least, seeing how the “panel” who passed this sentence consisted of a single judge, Lori Andreachuck). Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor of Red Deer Advocate, in which he expressed his views on homosexuality. Aside from the prohibition Rev. Boissoin received, he was also forced to write a letter of apology, in which he was to retract his statements made earlier. Realizing that this sentence was sheer buffoonery produced by a kangaroo court, it was later overturned in December 2009. Nonetheless, after having been dragged through the mud, after having been bestowed with all sorts of derogatory titles and deprecating epithets, after having suffered censorship for seven years, Boissoin’s request to have his legal costs remunerated was rejected. Where is this “freedom of religion” that is “jealously guarded?” Where o where is the “jealously guarded freedom of religion” in a country that prevents its citizens from publicly defending a major tenet of religion, the sanctity of marriage? Where is the Freedom of Speech in a country that prevents the other side of the debate on homosexuality to publish or make known its views?
Restricting freedom of speech has always been the hallmark of fascism. Damian Goddard, just like Bishop Henry and Rev. Boissoin, expressed his personal views that are strongly informed by the religion that he practices. This religion is not some back alley contrivance that has only recently surfaced on the face of the planet, nor is it some strange and new worldview that has just arrived to Canada from some remote and distant land. This is Catholicism, the religion that 43.2% of Canadians follow according to Canada Census 2001. Damian, of course, is not the one who is really being attacked here. It is Free Speech and Religious Freedom. I ask my readers, what are your views on this? Worry not; I will not press any charges against you, even if you disagree with me.