By Piero A Tozzi, JD, Turtle Bay & Beyond
By Piero A Tozzi, JD, Turtle Bay & Beyond
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Christians are to launch a landmark legal case arguing their religion is being treated as a “thought crime” by government and courts.
Campaigners will submit papers to the European Court of Human Rights in a final attempt to overturn rulings they say have restricted religious freedom for Christians and effectively persecuted those wanting to publicly practise their religion.
The move comes in the case of three Christians whose cases have become testing grounds over the restrictions which can be put on public displays of faith.
Their appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court will open the way for a final ruling on what limits can be put on such displays, including wearing a cross and talking about belief in the workplace.
Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele all had their cases rejected at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg earlier this year.
In the case of Mrs Chaplin, an Exeter nurse who was forbidden to wear a cross at work, the Strasbourg judges ruled that her right to express her faith could be overridden on “health and safety” grounds.
Mr McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and marriage registrar Miss Ladele – who both resisted tasks they saw as condoning homosexuality, which they believe is against the Bible’s teaching – lost their cases.
John Allman explores the 'thought crime' theme in his blog post Sex therapy and the mild misgiving that dare not speak, pointing out that Gary McFarlane never actually discriminated against anybody.
By Robert Oscar Lopez, American Thinker
It started, as so many human rights disasters do, in the name of love. It was commonplace in the antebellum Americas to hear of plantation owners expressing love for their slaves. Even Frederick Douglass admits that many times slaves, while alone, vied to see who could praise his master the highest. Did not Robespierre begin with love for his countrymen? For that matter, didn't Castro?
History repeats. The movement to liberate same-sex love began because people loved each other. Somehow, through convoluted digressions, it has become a tyrannical octopus seeking to control life and death itself.
The Rubicon was crossed when the gay movement sided with human trafficking; graft-ridden dirty deals with warlords for orphanages; bio-engineering, baby-farming, and emotional deprivation of innocent children by forcing them to replace a biological parent with a fictional same-sex partner. Naturally, any child forced into such a psychically traumatic origin fantasy who feels resentful about it will be cursed by its caretakers as not only ungrateful, but also a homophobe.
A year ago, I was afraid to fight what is happening in the LGBT community. Unaware of what the response would be, I published some articles about being the product of gay parenting and received hundreds of e-mails from around the world pleading with me to fight against a growing human-rights crisis caused by the LGBT movement. They wrote from so many places, so many countries; they had such eloquence and force; they were children of sperm donors, troubled adoptees, people agonized by the baby-farming in India and elsewhere, gays horrified at what is being done in the name of "gay families," religious people, atheists, people who know for whatever reason that buying babies and erasing fatherhood or motherhood is not the fruit of love.
From The Christian Institute
Gay rights are more important than the belief that children need both a mum and a dad, the equality regulator has suggested.
But it says vegetarians do have the right to refuse to clean a fridge that may have contained meat.
One MP has called the watchdog a “laughing stock” and another accused it of publishing “frivolous nonsense”.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) enforces equality law, and has the power to haul individuals and organisations off to court.
It has produced new guidelines for how to deal with employees’ beliefs in the workplace.
The guidelines say a magistrate who believes it is best for a child to be brought up by a male-female couple should not be accommodated.
That belief hurts the dignity of gay couples, says the Equality Commission, and breaches equality policies.
by Joe Carter, Acton Institute
Those who have visited Auschwitz are likely to find their thoughts straying back there on this day of Holocaust remembrance.
A visit both underwhelms with the very ordinariness of the buildings, yet at the same time the significance overwhelms, as Auschwitz reaffirms its special place in the pit of human history.
A visit needs to be approached like a pilgrimage, with preparation, otherwise there will be a numbing of the experience, a confusion of conflicting emotions which may encompass anger, indignation, bewilderment and the deepest sadness. The reactions of others around you may mirror your own, yet they may not, and that too can be a challenge. Some seem visibly shocked, some deeply affected, some struggle, whilst others present as merely curious and that response can be a challenge as it may offends one’s own interpretation.
The Holocaust was possible because the humanity of the rejected was stripped away from them as it was, is, and always will be from the unwanted, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, wherever we are in the world.
Holocaust Memorial Day needs its universal dimension.
There, all humanity was killed in a systematic, planned way; not in anger, but simply because that is what the state said needed to be done, and someone had to do it.
by Stefano Gennarini, J.D., Turtle Bay & Beyond
In recent years same-sex marriage proponents and groups claiming a host of new international LGBT rights have been able to make even international law somewhat interesting. It is no secret that International law is not terribly exciting – reading the minutes of a meeting of the UN International Law Commission or an international human rights body is likely to put even the most stolid reader to sleep.
In the last five years LGBT groups have garnered significant support for their claims with international bodies in the European Union, the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Last fall the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a publication declaring that un member states had “core obligations” towards LGBT persons that included same-sex marriage or a substitute, as well as special protections for LGBT speech above and beyond those provided for other types of speech. UN member states never agreed to anything even remotely related to these propositions in a treaty or even non-binding resolutions, but LGBT groups celebrated the controversial publication nonetheless.
[...] No one really understood what the HRC meant by “more than one” or even by “tradition” at the time the GC was released, how the committee came to hold that opinion, and how it should be understood remains a mystery. Perhaps recent events in France provide some answer to this?
We are witnessing strong opposition to same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and IVF for homosexual couples in France (even by homosexual groups!). Much of this opposition is because, and perhaps surprisingly for an otherwise liberal nation, many French people believe children should have a mom and a dad, and the organizers of the huge rally that took place in Paris last week distanced themselves from any moral claims that homosexual conduct is morally reprehensible. But many of those who answered the call and showed up in Paris last week were motivated precisely by that.
There is significant moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, and not only special new rights for homosexuals, mostly from the religiously minded in the opposition movement in France. Catholics, Jews, Muslims all disapprove of homosexual conduct, let alone marriage, adoption and IVF for homosexuals. Could this provide an answer to what the HRC was getting at when it invented the multiple traditions standard? Probably not for the Human Rights committee.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles welcomes the ruling in the Nadia Eweida case but hints that human rights laws may need to change in the UK.
The march to gay equality in Britain is causing Christians to be squeezed from public life, believers have claimed in the wake of a European Court ruling…..
Marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, 51, and registrar Lillian Ladele said their careers suffered after they made clear how their faith had an impact on their job. McFarlane admitted he felt uncomfortable with the prospect of providing advice to gay couples, while Ladele refused to oversee civil partnerships between same-sex pairs.
Both lost their case for discrimination under the Human Rights Act. But the group Anglican Mainstream said gay rights were stifling the rights of people to live lives of faith openly.
Spokesman Chris Sugden told IBTimes UK: "Human rights were introduced to protect minorities but not to give them supervening rights over the rest of society.
"Gay rights have now become a separate privilege and a specially protected group of rights which trump all others, including freedom of conscientious objection and to hold religious conviction without fear of discrimination."
From Evangelical Alliance
We need more common sense for Christian belief in public life – that’s the view of the Evangelical Alliance following a key European judgement on religious freedom.
[...] Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said: “The court’s recognition of Christian belief in everyday life is welcome, but in only finding in favour of Nadia Eweida, it has shown a hierarchy of rights now exists in UK law.
“While for some the cross is a vital part of their worship, at the heart of Christianity is not about a set of rules, but a God that brings people into a new life of freedom. This new life is then lived out 24-7, and cannot ever be restricted to just our private lives.
“If UK courts are going to protect religious freedom more fully in the future they need to better understand the nature of Christian belief. Developing better religious literacy needs to become a priority.
“The failure of the court to protect the religious freedom of Lillian Ladele in living out her faith in a way consistent with historic Christian belief shows the limitations of this judgement. We need solutions that will allow for the reasonable accommodation of the expressions of religious belief in all its diverse forms.
“If we want to live in a society that is diverse and can live with its deepest differences there needs to be a fuller protection for religious beliefs, convictions and actions.
“We hope that in the light of today’s decision, employers, public bodies, and courts will seek to understand religious belief better and build relationships with faith groups to help achieve this. The alternative of a society that is in perpetual legal conflict with itself is both undesirable and unsustainable.”
Read also: Ruling on Christian's right to wear cross 'does not trump other human rights' by Owen Bowcott, Guardian
January 14th, 2013 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off
The State's proper role regarding the rights of its citizens is to recognise (protect) the inherent rights of all. No right can be a human right unless it pertains to an inherent potential of the human body. The U.S. Declaration of Independence gives an excellent explanation of this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.". "Truths", "Created", "Endowed", "Creator" and "Unalienable": none of these words pertain to any ability of the State as the State does not create humans. Our inherent rights would still exist even in the absence of a legal framework, as it is not man-made law that gives us our bodies. If our bodies exist in the absence of the State, then our rights exist in the absence of the State. The State can neither create nor destroy rights: it can only ever legally recognise them, or legally deny them. From this proper understanding of the nature of rights, we can make sense of the interplay between citizen and State.
With regard to marriage, the State (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] article 16, the European Convention on Human Rights article 12, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article 23) gives marriage as a compound right: the right to marry and to found a family. Of the 30 articles in the UDHR, 29 refer to people as a whole: "All human beings", "Everyone", "No one", and "All". Article 16 is the only article to refer to a class of people, because it is the only article that needs to. Article 16 refers to marriage, which is a relationship and is concerned therefore with the rights of one human in relation to the rights of another human. By definition, all classes of human must themselves reside within the two largest classes of human: male and female. As the article includes males and females there is no class of human that resides outside of article 16.
By Bradley Miller, Witherspoon Institute
The effects of same-sex civil marriage in Canada—restrictions on free speech rights, parental rights in education, and autonomy rights of religious institutions, along with a weakening of the marriage culture—provide lessons for the United States. (AM adds: and the UK.)
Would recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages be much of a game-changer? What impact, if any, would it have on the public conception of marriage or the state of a nation’s marriage culture?
There has been no shortage of speculation on these questions. But the limited American experience with same-sex marriage to date gives us few concrete answers. So it makes sense to consider the Canadian experience since the first Canadian court established same-sex marriage a decade ago. There are, of course, important cultural and institutional differences between the US and Canada and, as is the case in any polity, much depends upon the actions of local political and cultural actors. That is to say, it is not necessarily safe to assume that Canadian experiences will be replicated here. But they should be considered; the Canadian experience is the best available evidence of the short-term impact of same-sex marriage in a democratic society very much like America.
Anyone interested in assessing the impact of same-sex marriage on public life should investigate the outcomes in three spheres: first, human rights (including impacts on freedom of speech, parental rights in public education, and the autonomy of religious institutions); second, further developments in what sorts of relationships political society will be willing to recognize as a marriage (e.g., polygamy); and third, the social practice of marriage.
The Impact on Human Rights
The formal effect of the judicial decisions (and subsequent legislation) establishing same-sex civil marriage in Canada was simply that persons of the same-sex could now have the government recognize their relationships as marriages. But the legal and cultural effect was much broader. What transpired was the adoption of a new orthodoxy: that same-sex relationships are, in every way, the equivalent of traditional marriage, and that same-sex marriage must therefore be treated identically to traditional marriage in law and public life.
A corollary is that anyone who rejects the new orthodoxy must be acting on the basis of bigotry and animus toward gays and lesbians. Any statement of disagreement with same-sex civil marriage is thus considered a straightforward manifestation of hatred toward a minority sexual group. Any reasoned explanation (for example, those that were offered in legal arguments that same-sex marriage is incompatible with a conception of marriage that responds to the needs of the children of the marriage for stability, fidelity, and permanence—what is sometimes called the conjugal conception of marriage), is dismissed right away as mere pretext. 1
by Tim Ross, Telegraph
The Commons vote intensified pressure on David Cameron from his own backbenchers to pull Britain out of the “undemocratic” jurisdiction of the European court.
The Prime Minister has said he would like to abolish the Human Rights Act but suggested Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats would not allow him move “further and faster” with reform.
Former Tory ministers including Nick Herbert, Crispin Blunt and Gerald Howarth were among 71 Conservatives who backed a Commons motion to repeal Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998.
Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, proposed the motion.
Proposing his motion, Mr Bacon said the Human Rights Act was a vehicle for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to influence and change British law.
He said the only people in the United Kingdom who should hold such power were elected MPs.
Mr Bacon said the European Court of Human Rights could “impose its will against ours”, adding that this was “fundamentally undemocratic”.
“Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us that allow them better to discern what our people need than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives,” he told MPs.
“There is no set of values so universally agreed we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end, they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific.
By Wendy Wright, Turtle Bay & Beyond
by Rebecca Oas, C-Fam
Parents in Germany seeking to educate their children with a Christian worldview have been jailed and fined for trying to exempt their children from state-mandated sex education program, according to a report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In at least three separate instances Christian parents were punished on the grounds that the government wanted to “prevent parallel societies." Homeschooling also remains illegal in Germany, regardless of parents’ religious or cultural reasons for wishing to do so.
The report describes numerous instances of German authorities using oppressive measures against Christians who act according to their religious and moral beliefs, such as restricting pro-life activity near abortion clinics and counseling centers that refer for abortions. It requests that Germany amend its law to allow legal exemptions for pharmacists who object to dispensing morning-after pills on religious grounds. Germany does not extend legal protection of conscientious objection to potentially abortifacient drugs.
A mood of hostility in Germany toward Christianity comes across in the numerous instances of vandalism, destruction of property, and defamatory displays listed in the report. Many of them involve the destruction or defamation of Christian symbols, churches, and cemeteries, as well as sites of religious significance such as the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI.
Read also: Dipolomats criticize Human Rights Boss: [...] The OHCHR has become a principal promoter in the UN system of new special rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. The African Group and other delegations asked the Ms. Pillay to concentrate on “universally recognized human rights.” Roughly half of all UN member states perceive the efforts of the OHCHR to advance LGBT rights as offensive, given the many pressing human rights issues they face. Read here
By Greg Quinlan, LifeSite News
The homosexual push for “equal marriage,” otherwise known as genderless marriage, can only lead to a ban on heterosexual rights. With a President in power who endorses gay causes and readily misuses executive orders, and emboldened by their numerous wins for gay rights at the legislative and judicial level, homosexuals have now moved beyond equal rights to the “more equal than you” level. As a result, gay organizations are working to ban that practice they fear the most—heterosexual behavior.
Witness the ban on heterosexual therapy successfully pushed by homosexual groups in California. Even though no scientific evidence exists of a “gay gene,” parents in California are now prohibited from taking their children to see a therapist to resolve their child’s unwanted same-sex attractions.
So for parents who discover that their son has been molested and is now sexually confused, their only option is to make an appointment with a gay affirming therapist because unlike heterosexual affirming therapy, gay affirming therapy has not been declared illegal in California even though such therapy has not been proven beneficial by the APA.
Yet a parent can take their son to a therapist to approve gender blocking hormones so that the child’s natural gender is stunted before he reaches puberty. In short, parents can attempt to change a child’s gender, but they can’t change their child’s sexual orientation unless it is to a homosexual identity.
October 6th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off
By Stefano Gennarini, J.D., C-Fam
Delegations from European Countries and the United States suffered a setback last week when the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming a positive link between traditional values and human rights. The European and U.S. delegations view traditional values as threats to women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons.
This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009. Russia successfully pressed the resolution forward despite attempts by other UN member states to stifle their initiative.
The current resolution, tabled by Russia and co-authored by more than 60 states (not all members of the Council), affirms that traditional values common to all humanity have a positive role in the promotion and protection of human rights. It states that “a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contribute to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.”
Echoing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it stresses “that human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person” and recognizes the positive role of the family, community and educational institutions in promoting human rights, calling on states to “strengthen this role through appropriate positive measures.”
[...] In light of the legal arguments being used in Strasbourg to restrict the display of religious symbols and the manifestation of belief in the workplace – in the cases of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane – either Eric Pickles and David Cameron are being duplicitous, or government lawyers are being over-zealous in their quest for courtroom victory.
It is easy to believe that the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government are being disingenuous, deflective and ignorant of the real concerns: they are, after all, politicians. But if Mr Pickles happens to be honourable, honest and fully informed on the matter; and if Mr Cameron meant what he said to Parliament about the fundamental right to manifest one’s religion in the workplace, the only alternative conclusion is that the Government’s hot-headed lawyers have gone renegade in court: they are acting independently, failing to inform ministers of state or even run their legal arguments past (at least) the Attorney General in order to ensure that they cohere with pan-governmental objectives.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Human rights are becoming a new form of totalitarianism, being used to drive Christians out of public life and even their jobs, European judges will be warned next week.
Laws originally designed to protect basic freedoms are instead being used to strip British society of its Christian foundations while upholding the rights of minorities, they will hear.
The warning, from a prominent Church of England bishop, comes as part of a landmark case on religious freedom in Britain to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg next week.
In a powerful submission to the judges, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, warns of a distorted “human rights agenda” which he likens to the atheist communist regimes in Eastern Europe which also suppressed Christianity by preventing public manifestations of faith.
Unless basic Christian values are upheld, human rights will become “another inhuman ideology”, like the totalitarian regimes of the past, suppressing individuals, he says.
The case is being brought by four workers including Shirley Chaplin, a former nurse, and Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who were denied the right to wear a cross as a visible manifestation of their faith.
They are joining with Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a registrar, who were refused the right to opt out of tasks which went against their beliefs on homosexuality.
August 10th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off
by Stefano Gennarini, J.D. Turtle Bay & Beyond
Last year a resolution was passed the by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva requesting a study on the relation of “universal traditional values” and human rights. The study was to be prepared by the Advisory Committee of the HRC.
In February this year a first draft of study, by the Russian expert on the committee Vladimir Kartashkin, was discussed by the advisory committee. The study concentrated on values that were considered truly “universal”, and would not enter into conflict with human rights. It contained references to the right to life, traditional marriage, the role of the family in society, as well as positive mentions of major religions.
The purpose of considering the link between universal traditional values and human rights is obviously to strengthen the normative significance of human rights, especially those values and human rights that all countries and peoples agree upon, and are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But countries and NGOs more interested in promoting special rights were incensed by the study.