Trinity Western, a private, fundamentalist Christian University in B.C. and New Brunswick’s Crandall University, also a fundamentalist place of learning, are a strong indication that discrimination is alive and well, even within the education system.
We know this has been part of our society for centuries. Intolerance, homophobia biphobia, transphobia and discrimination of all sorts should not be part of Canadian life. The law tells us that we cannot discriminate and we realize this as Canadians. The fact these universities are not publicly funded should have no bearing on whether to allow religion to discriminate.
Religious freedom should be respected, but not if the tone and actions discriminate against a certain part in our society, in this case LGBTQ citizens. We like to believe in a civilized society, but we certainly have not experienced such a way of life in this world.
We hear and read about wars being fought, black people being abused and killed in the United States, poverty in our own country and the inequality of our aboriginal sisters and brothers, the treatment of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. We are appalled as thousands are starving and children are murdered in a school in Pakistan. When will the world listen as atrocities against humankind remain a threat to the well-being of millions around the Globe?
In Canada poverty has not been eradicated. No, we have not learned from history and seem determined to continue on this path. If we live in the hope that we will see an accepting, peaceful and loving society, then we must educate, raise awareness of our differences and rid the world of judging others.
The world’s religions bear much of the blame as they constantly judge members of the LGBTQ community world-wide. Evangelists in the United States pour money into countries, such as Uganda and others where anti-homosexuality bills are the norm. The present Pope has spoken conciliatory words about gays, but at the same time Catholic Church officials have reiterated that church doctrine will not change. In other words the embrace will not happen.
The Donald Trumps and Vladimir Putins of this world add to the warring, the tough measures and the rhetoric that pit one against the other. We need positive action, not meaningless promises. So it is with discrimination, take the fire out of it and eliminate the crimes in our society and then perhaps we will see the world’s religions embrace us and know that we are who we are.
Worried about empty pews? Well, being of narrow mind will certainly not be beneficial. This is where I say, “Open your hearts.” Discrimination is the gravest error of our time.
Somehow the world must take responsibility, as should each one of us, and hopefully achieve a world order where we all live in peace, with respect and dignity. The light at the end of the tunnel must shine brighter and we must make haste to work towards an equal society where all benefit, where each and every one will know that human rights are respected.
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Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.