And now, the second installment in our ongoing series, "Why people who support the 'Defence of Religions' Act are total morons," in which we will be disemboweling that hate-filled, bigoted piece of potential legislative excrement point by point. It'll take a while but I figure I have the time.
Recall from back here how we already demonstrated the inevitable absurdity if you extended the proposed DoRA to its logical conclusion (with a more recent piece here). Simply, if publicly-funded, Bible-whomping marriage commissioners have the freedom to selectively choose who they were prepared to marry according to what offended their personal, Bible-based bigotry, it's only fair that that freedom be extended to all other public officials and (why stop there?) to private citizens as well. And what a delightful society that would turn out be, no? But there's actually a bigger issue here. Without even getting into the text of that proposed bit of idiocy, we can see that, based on the Act's name alone, there are going to be problems.
The "Defense of Religions" Act. What exactly is that implying? Well, as we've already seen, that proposed Act would give publicly-funded officials the right to discriminate. But based on what rationale? Amazingly, it appears that the right to discriminate would be defended based solely on one's religious beliefs.
That that claim is true should be obvious from the name of the act alone, since it purports to defend "religions." But why should one's religious beliefs be the only basis for publicly-funded bigotry? Would one not be allowed to practise publicly-funded discrimination for any other reason? One can just imagine how every case of bigotry would have to pass the Bible-inspired litmus test:
"I'm sorry, but you must realize that discrimination is a violation of Canada's charter and ... what's that? You're doing it because the Bible tells you to? Oh, right then, sorry to interrupt. My bad. Carry on."
But why should Canada's Christians get to have all the fun? Would someone not be allowed to discriminate just because they damned well feel like it? Why should bigotry be acceptable simply because it's Biblically inspired? In my earlier article, commenter Olaf falls face first into this logical inconsistency when he writes:
I suppose that this is logically consistend, however, in order to fulfill your scenario, those other public servants would have to be quite devout in their beliefs (religious, one might say) to besmirch their name by singling out mormons or jews or right-wingers for exclusion.
But why should being "quite devout" be a pre-requisite for being a bigot? Why should Christians get a pass when, say, atheists wouldn't? In effect, what this legislation would be doing is giving Canada's religious wingnuts a special privilege -- the privilege of publicly-funded discrimination that would be denied the rest of us. And for a community that has, for years, howled about simple gay rights being a "special privilege," it's just a wee bit hypocritical for these wanks to turn around and start publicly promoting an Act that represents exactly that -- a special privilege for them and no one else. And you'll note that this idea of allowing only religiously-based discrimination doesn't stop with marriage commissioners.
If you read about the continual attempts to allow "pro-life" pharmacists to refuse to dispense certain prescriptions, you'll notice that all of the proposed legislation invariably suggests that these nutbars should be allowed to discriminate always based on whether or not it offends their religious moral code. But, again, why should the religious component be a requirement?
If a pharmacist happens to be, say, a tree-hugging environmentalist, why shouldn't she have the right to refuse to serve a customer who insists on driving an environment-destroying, gaz-guzzling Hummer? No religious aspect here -- she just thinks the guy's a total dick and doesn't feel like serving him. Why not?
In short, people like Canada's own Batshit-Crazy Catholic Loon™ Suzanne like to whine on and on about how Canada's devout need to be "protected." But this point of view is pure bullshit as the DoRA has nothing to do with "protection" and everything to do with giving Canada's drooling, right-wing imbeciles a privilege to discriminate that they would be horrified to extend to the rest of us.
If the CPoC is serious about this Act, then they should at least have the decency to make sure it covers everyone, not just the devout. And if they do that, then they should give that Act a new name. Rather than the "Defense of Religions" Act, they should reword it, open it up to everyone and rename it the "Defense of Every Canadian (Even Public Officials) to be a Bigot for Any Reason They Damned Well Please" Act.
After all, that's only fair.
BONUS TRACK: One might recall that, recently, I linked to this piece from the NYT which shows how religion in the U.S. is getting all kinds of delightful exemptions from rules and regulations -- exemptions not available to the average citizen.
And, based on what I've written here, what is the "Defence of Religions" Act but a proposal to (you guessed it) give religious Canadians an exemption from anti-discrimination laws that the rest of us still have to obey?
So it happens down there ... so it eventually happens up here. How depressing.