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Religious misinformation, disinformation,
lies, darn lies, statistics, etc. on the Internet
: Part 2

Examples from religious sources: Religious freedom in
Canada. Cause of homosexuality. About homosexuality.

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This topic is a continuation from a previous essay

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Allegations of lack of religious freedom in Canada because of same-sex marriage:

In mid-2005, the Canadian federal government changed the definition of "civil marriage" in Canada  from a voluntary union of one woman and one man, to a union of two persons. As in the U.S., the definition of "religious marriage" rests entirely with the individual faith groups.

Michael Coren wrote an article in the National Review stating:

" ... it’s estimated that, in less than five years, there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings — in courts, human-rights commissions, and employment boards against critics and opponents of same-sex marriage. And this estimate doesn’t take into account the casual dismissals that surely have occurred." 1

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) temporarily posted an article quoting Coren. However, they only included part of the first sentence above. They quoted:

"... there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings — in courts, human-rights commissions, and employment boards against critics and opponents of same-sex marriage."

This made the rough estimate appear to be much more firmly based on reality.

We were stunned by this number. Although our web site serves primarily an American audience, our office is located in Canada where we carefully monitor the media in Canada. We had only found five such cases, about all of which we had written at the time:

  1. Damian Goddard, an anchor for the TV show Connected, was fired within 24 hours of having issued a tweet referring to "the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage" as being restricted to one woman and one man. More details.

  2. Norm Greenfield initiated a human rights compllaint against Fredrick Henry, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary. It was based on Bishop Henry's letter to parishes concerning same-sex marriage in which he explained the teaching of his church on homosexuality. The case was settled during a face-to-face conciliation session at the Alberta Human Rights Commission.  More details.

  3. Orville Nichols, 30, is a marriage commissioner in Saskatchewan -- a provincial employee who solemnizes marriages. He is a devout Baptist. He violated his oath of office by refusing to marry a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs against same-sex marriage. The couple complained to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal who ordered Nichols to pay a $2,500 fine. More details.

  4. Christian Horizons, is an evangelical Christian charity in Ontario that serves 1,400 mentally disabled persons. It is funded by the Ontario Government. They required staff to sign an employment contract in which they promised to not engage in "homosexual relationships," which the contract stated were "unnatural," "immoral," and "contrary to the scriptures." A female employee had signed the contract, later entered into a same-sex relationship, was harassed, and had to leave the agency. The Ontario Human Rights Commission ordered the agency to pay $23,000, plus two years wages and benefits to the former employee, and to prepare an educational course on homosexuality for its employees. More details

  5. Deborah Ann Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith of Coquitlam, BC signed a contract with the local branch of the Knights of Columbus to rent their hall for a wedding reception. The Knights unilaterally cancelled the contract when they found out that the reception was for a same-sex couple. The two women lodged a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The Knights were assessed a small fine. More details.

It seems most improbable that there are 200 to 300 proceedings and yet Coren described precisely the same cases as the only five of which we are aware. It would seem to be much more likely that therehave been only a handfull of such cases in the country. Perhaps there are only the five described above.

If anyone of our readers knows of an additional case, we would appreciate receiving an Email describing it. See the "contact us" label at the bottom of this essay.

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Allegations that homosexual orientation is not caused by genetic influences:

One of the best proofs of the genetic cause of homosexual orientation are the studies of identical twins who were separated at birth and raised independently in different families. If one is gay, then the other twin is found to be gay about 55% of the time. This is approximately 11 times the normal rate of homosexual orientation in the population. Many human sexuality researchers suggest that about 10% of humans are born with DNA that could cause the person to have a homosexual orientation later in life. However, it is up to some some unknown environmental factor either in-utero or during early childhood that enables or disables the gene.

Many religious conservatives note that identical twins have the same genetic structure. Thus. they reason that if homosexual orientation is determined by one's genes, if one twin is gay, 100% of the other twins would also be gay. Thus they conclude that since far fewer than 100% of the other twins are gay, that homosexual orientation is not genetically caused. For example, James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family wrote in his 2002-JUN family newsletter that if homosexuality is genetically determined:

"...since identical twins share the same chromosomal pattern, or DNA, the genetic contributions are exactly the same within each of the pairs. therefore, if one twin is 'born' homosexual then the other should inevitably have that characteristic too." 2

We have collected about a dozen similar quotations. But the ones by James Dobson are the most surprising because his academic training is in child psychology. Thus, he must be very familiar with the workings of genes. Genetics would have formed a major part of his training. In particular, one would expect that he would know that allelles (variations) of various genes have a penetrance (effectiveness) factor that is often much less than 100%.

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Beliefs about homosexual orientation:

Unfortunately, this item mysteriously disappeared before it could be backed up. I am reconstructing it now.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael Coren, "Canadian Crackdown," National Review, 2012-JUN-11. Online at: http://www.nationalreview.com/
  2. "Family News from Dr. James Dobson," June 2002.

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Home > News > Misinformation in the religious media > here

Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2012-JUL-13
Latest update: 2012-JUL-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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