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Freedom of Canadian faith groups to discriminate

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Christian Horizons found guilty
of employment discrimination

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Quotations:

bullet Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission: "This decision is important because it sets out that when faith-based and other organizations move beyond serving the interests of their particular community to serving the general public, the rights of others, including employees, must be respected."
bullet Tim Bloedow, conservative Christian commentator: "Secular Humanism is a religion of tyranny not liberty, and it is the source of such public policy as that which leads to the existence of human rights commissions. ... These truly are fascistic, irredeemable laws and public policies. And they need to be resisted vigorously..."

Overview:

Christian Horizons, is an evangelical Christian charity that serves 1,400 mentally disabled persons in Ontario, Canada. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the organization had created a poisonous work environment for one of its employees because of her sexual orientation.

The tribunal ordered Christian Horizons to cease using an employment contract which had required staff to promise they will not engage in "homosexual relationships," that they stated were "unnatural," "immoral," and "contrary to the scriptures." 1 They were also required to pay $23,000, plus two years wages and benefits to a woman who had signed onto the contract, later entered into a homosexual relationship, was harassed, and had to leave.

This is a classical case involving a clash between:

bullet The right of a religiously conservative group whose beliefs call for them to discriminate against homosexuals, and
bullet The right of a homosexual employee to work in a homophobia-free environment. 2

Topics covered in this section:

bullet Background & Life Site News article about the case
 
bullet Adjudicator's ruling. What does the human rights code require?
 
bullet Comments on the LifeSiteNews article. Reactions to the tribunal's ruling
 
bullet The appeal

Footnote and reference used:

  1. "A victory for LGBT human rights or a race to the Supreme Court?, Egale Canada, 2008-DEC-18, at: http://www.egale.ca/
  2. Unfortunately, the terms "homophobic" and "homophobia" have multiple definitions. On this site we define "homophobia" as:
    "engaging in a behavior aimed at denigrating or restricting the human rights of persons who have a homosexual orientation and/or who engages in homosexual behavior."
    This, of course, includes firing employees because of their private behavior at home.

Site navigation:

Home page > Religious info > Basic info > Canada > Discrimination > here

First posting: 2008-APR-29
Latest update: 2009-FEB-25
Author : B.A. Robinson

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