Is religious persecution coming to Scotland?

While liberal politicians in America have been attacking the freedoms of speech and religion that Americans enjoy, over on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean, liberal politicians in Scotland have been threatening people’s ability to openly express their faith-shaped beliefs.

The Catholic News Agency has published an article titled “New Scottish bishop could see going to jail over ‘gay marriage’“.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

Archbishop-designate Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow could see himself being imprisoned for speaking out in support of the traditional married family.

“I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out,” Archbishop Tartaglia said in an interview with STV News July 24.

His comments came just a day before the Scottish government announced it would legislate in favor of same-sex “marriage.” Archbishop Tartaglia warned that the redefinition of marriage will have “enormous implications for religious liberty.”

“I am deeply concerned that today, defending the traditional meaning of marriage is almost considered ‘hate speech’ and branded intolerant. Such a response is undemocratic, closes debate and is highly manipulative,” he told CNA on July 24.

Last month the leading Scottish lawyer Aidan O’Neill warned that same-sex “marriage” legislation will radically undermine religious liberty in Scotland.

He predicted that a change in the law could result in employees being fired for opposing same-sex “marriage,” ministers and priests being sued for refusing to allow “wedding” ceremonies to take place in their churches, school children being forced to attend homosexual history lessons, and couples being rejected as foster parents if they oppose the new legislation.

Archbishop-designate Philip Tartaglia

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone might find himself at the receiving end of leftist criticism if he does what he says he will do.

In a CNA article titled “New San Francisco archbishop vows to support marriage, immigrants”, Archbishop Cordileone affirms the Catholic Church’s support of traditional marriage:

While he said that he will need time to get to know the area, the archbishop-elect anticipates that many of the challenges he faces will deal with “issues of family life,” which are ultimately rooted in “foundational philosophical issues” about the nature of the human person and the purpose of sexuality.

“Marriage is a foundational good,” he emphasized, explaining that the Church’s stance against “gay marriage” is not discriminatory but is simply rooted in the nature and definition of marriage as an institution.

Children “can only come about through the embrace of a man and a woman coming together,” he said, adding that this necessarily limits marriage to the type of union that can bring new life into the world.

“Children deserve to have a mother and a father,” the archbishop-elect said, and so “we need to do everything we can to strengthen marriage.”

In addressing “moral challenges” involving the weakening of family life, it is important to realize that strong marriages benefit all of society, he said.

He added that there is a need to lovingly welcome those who “feel alienated from the Church” due to their sexual orientation, showing them that “our stand for marriage is not against anyone, but it’s because we believe this is foundational for the good of our society.”

In other words, Archbishop Cordileone is in agreement with Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy on the nature of marriage, specifically the definition of marriage as being a union between a man and a woman only.

Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone

I applaud these two Archbishops for having the courage to take a stand for their convictions. They are positive role-models for all people who value the freedoms of speech and religion.

I wonder if Archbishop Cordileone likes chicken sandwiches.

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  • Commander_Chico

    I read the article, and while free speech protections aren’t as strong in the UK as they are in the USA, and I have noted the authoritarian trend of some gay activists, there is no explanation as to how this archbishop could be thrown in gaol for expressing his opinion against gay marriage.

    So it’s a bit of a made-up drama. “If they let other people have freedom of contract, this will soon take my freedom away,” essentially. Or a martyr fantasy: the Archbishop should have gone whole hog and imagined himself being burned at the stake.

    • herddog505

      The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) dismissed the Canadian Islamic Conference (CIC)’ complaint against Macleans in June 2008. The CHRC’s ruling said of the article that, “the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.” However, the Commission ruled that overall, “the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court.”

      The magazine also stated that “Maclean’s continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial decisions of the nation’s media. And we continue to have grave concerns about a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media outlet to be pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought by the same complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the inconvenience.

      What happens when a “human rights commission” decides that some speech IS “extreme” or that it ISN’T covered under freedom of speech or freedom of religion? How big a step is it from telling a restaurant “you’re not welcome here” to telling a church “you aren’t welcome here”? How many people (on both sides, I’m sorry to say) would have no problem throwing a Catholic priest or a Muslim imam into the pokey because he’s engaging in hate speech or “inciting violence”?

      • Commander_Chico

        A lot would like to censor, but so far they don’t have much power.

        About your example:

        First, the CHRC ruled against the complaint. I’m not dismissing the legal hassle involved because there was a framework for a complaint, but nothing happened.
        Second, the CHRC does not have the power to put people in jail, in fact they have no power at all, except for referring cases to court, so it’s still a far cry from the Archbishop’s hysterical scenario.

        To me this is just an attempt to frame the gay marriage issue as:

        gay marriage = archbishops going to jail for opposing it.

        Reframing propaganda.

        • herddog505

          I’m not so sanguine.

          • Commander_Chico

            Yeah, Canada sucks in that regard, and you can add their prohibition of porn on the “degrading women” grounds.

            I share the concern about diminishing freedom of expression, but I don’t use it to try to deny others their freedom of expression and contract. I guess that is where I diverge.

            The archbishop is not going to be thrown in jail if there is gay marriage in Scotland. It is a non-sequitur, red herring argument.

          • herddog505

            I don’t think he’s expecting to be thrown in the pokey if Angus marries Fergus. Rather, he fears being frogmarched away if he utters a polite demurrer about it.

            “Hoots toots! Those values are nay the values o’ Edinburgh! Tae th’ doongeon wi’ ‘im!”

        • jim_m

          You are aware that this was the first time that the CHRC ruled in favor of a defendant?

          You obviously are also unaware of the case of Pastor Stephen Boison

          , the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal has forbidden evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson from expressing his moral opposition to homosexuality. The tribunal also ordered Boisson to pay $5,000 “damages for pain and suffering” and apologize to the “human rights” activist who filed the complaint

          In Canada religious conviction has been illegal for 4 years. SO don’t go calling it propaganda. It’s really happening, Christian faith is being criminalized by the left. It hasn’t reached the US yet, but by the state of the dem party it seems to be just around the corner.

          • Commander_Chico

            There is no factual indication that “religious persecution is coming to Scotland,” so this is bogus.

          • jim_m

            Dude, you brought up the Canadian issue, not me.

          • “March 2010: A street preacher has been arrested and fined £1000 in Glasgow for telling passersby, in answer to a direct question,” if this isn’t factual what would be?

          • Commander_Chico

            Chico provides links so you don’t have to:

            OK, you’ve got a point there.

            Legalizing gay marriage still has nothing to do with suppression of free speech, though.

          • herddog505

            Commander_ChicoLegalizing gay marriage still has nothing to do with suppression of free speech

            That’s like claiming that arson has nothing to do with running a protection racket.

            Sure, IN PRINCIPLE they are two separate things. IN FACT, however, as we’ve seen in the Steyn case, in the Chik-fil-A kerfluffle, and in other incidents that have been discussed above, SOME gay marriage advocates are not opposed to suppressing their opponents’ free speech in the name of “tolerance” or “fighting hate crimes” or “human rights” or whatever lipstick they put on that totalitarian pig.

          • Commander_Chico

            It’s basically this: I want a certain freedom, and in fighting for my freedom, I want to suppress your right to speak against my freedom.

            Inconsistent, yes, human behavior, yes. but not a cause-effect relationship.

          • Chico, can you find out what, if anything, in either Scottish law (or the UK in general) declares people to have the freedoms of speech and religion? I do not know of anything. Does Scotland (or the UK in general) have an equivalent to the USA’s First Amendment? If no such equivalent exists in the UK, then how can you be certain that Archbishop Tartaglia is in no danger of being prosecuted for speaking against same-sex marriage? I am open to the possibility that the Archbishop is exaggerating, but I want someone to explain why he is.

          • Commander_Chico

            Free speech is recognized under common law, it’s part of UK law since the Magna Carta in some form.

            I have no certainty that Archbishop Tartaglia is in no danger of being prosecuted; I also have no certainty that I am in no danger of being prosecuted in the USA, the way things are going here. But there is no present danger of “religious persecution” in Scotland. Red herring argument against gay marriage.

        • jim_m

          Anyone who followed the story of Stein and MacLeans and the Ezra Levant case will realize that the whole of the HRC system in Canada is nothing but a tool to silence freedom of thought and religion. Those two cases were the only ones ever to have been dismissed by the HRC once they had reached hearing. The only reason the cases were dismissed was the overwhelming amount of publicity they generated, all negative for the HRC. The HRC’s were clearly on the road to conviction but were forced to change course when they saw the ground swell of public opinion against them.

          The HRC’s could not put you in jail but they could ruin you financially. You would have to spend thousands of dollars defending yourself and the plaintiffs were represented for free by the government.

          Even the MP who created the law creating these commissions says that they have been perverted and need to be shut down.

    • There is a reason why the title of my post is a question. Something about Scottish Law makes Archbishop Tartaglia feel threatened should he openly speak against same-sex marriage. So, what is it? Is the Archbishop overreacting? I don’t know if Scotland in particular (or the UK in general) has anything like the USA’s First Amendment.

      • jim_m

        Free speech laws in the UK are quite different. For instance truth is not an absolute defense in slander/libel so you could be found guilty for telling the truth about someone. They definitely do not enjoy the same protection of rights that we do.

  • Guest

    I can’t really speak to the Scottish situation, but in America …

    If you’re in San Francisco and you oppose same-sex marriage, you can expect a lot of criticism.

    And, for the record, this:

    Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone might find himself at the receiving end of leftist criticism if he does what he says he will do.

    is not religious persecution. It’s people criticizing a religious figure, which is perfectly acceptable.

    • herddog505

      Criticism is fine; it’s a free country. What is worrisome, especially in the wake of the Chik-fil-A mess, is that various people think that government action – censorship – is not only an appropriate way to deal with “offensive” speech, but the first resort.

      • Guest

        Did you read about the bakery in Colorado, BTW?

        I won’t go into the legal issues, as I don’t feel like looking up whether a wedding cake constitutes expressive activity protected by the freedom of speech prong of the First Amendment. (Although if someone things the religious-freedom clause controls, they would argue the speech clause is just … ahem … icing on the cake).

        I’m a bit more bemused by the reactions of partisans. The bakery owner stated pretty clearly that he has no problem baking birthday cakes and other goodies for his gay clientele. He just draws the line at wedding cakes.

        So there’s no evidence that he out-and-out discriminates against all gay customers. There’s also no evidence that he’s conspired with other bakers in his community to deny all wedding cakes to same-sex marriages, or to exclude from business all bakers and other vendors who accommodate same-sex weddings.

        Those kinds of behaviors, both blanket discrimination and systemic discrimination, would justify boycotts, protests, and so forth in my opinion. But this and the Elane Photography case feel less like a struggle against discrimination and more like an episode of Bridezillas.

        • herddog505

          Perhaps because I’ve never experienced real discrimination in my life I lack perspective, but I think that my reaction to being told by a business, “No, I won’t serve you because of X” would be bewilderment (“You don’t want my money? Seriously?”) followed quickly by anger (Oh, OK. Well, f*ck you, then!”).

          HAS a business the obligation to serve all comers? If a baker MUST provide wedding cakes to gay customers, MUST a Jewish merchant serve uniformed neo-nazis? MUST a black shop owner sell to klansmen?

          • Guest

            I’d go one step further and research potential legal causes of action. I don’t think I’d actually bring suit, assuming the matter is so picayune as a wedding cake, but I would at least want the psychological satisfaction.

            As for a business’s obligation, it’s complex. I think that from an ethical standpoint, a businessman who holds forth his establishment as “open to all” should, in fact, serve all clients as long as their money is green, the clients behave, and the clients are not mimes.

            From a legal standpoint … it’s more hazy. I think that you can draw bright lines for such things as public accommodations and for situations where a business is the only business of its sort in town and refuses service, or where businesses conspire together to refuse service to members of a particular group.

            Traditionally, the public-accommodations laws are passed either under states’ innate police powers or their power to regulate intrastate commerce, or under the federal government’s ability to regulate interstate commerce. They cover discrimination based on race, sex, gender, disability, family status … and more recently sexual orientation. Some jurisdictions, as you intuit, throw in political orientation among the private-discrimination no-nos.

            But two trends bother me:

            Small matters. The last few years have brought on legal actions that are, quite frankly, almost laughable. The eHarmony lawsuit. The wedding photographer. A wedding cake. It’s one thing to press boycotts and lawsuits when you’re talking about, say, a landlord who won’t rent a house, or a bus service that makes people of a certain race ride in back. “He denied me a home!” is a far cry from “I can’t get a date!”

            Impingement on other rights. I am generally hostile to carving out religious exemptions from generally applicable laws. But the current trend in applying discrimination law starts to impinge on religious freedom and freedom of speech. Require a bakery owner to serve customers who happen to be gay? Fine. Price of doing business, and what people do with a sheet cake after they buy it from him is not really his business. But tell him he must sculpt a cake for a marriage he does not believe in? That’s cutting too close to his First Amendment rights for my comfort.

          • herddog505

            I agree with much of what you write, and I think that it’s deplorable for a nominally “public” business (i.e. not a members-only establishment) to tell people to stay out based on race, color, creed, gender, etc.

            On the other hand, I find it equally deplorable for government to tell a businessman how he ought to conduct his business or, more basically, how a property-owner ought to use his property. Further, any time one starts carving out exceptions – “This is OK but that is not” – then it seems to me that the situation is ripe for abuse. This is just what we’re seeing in Chicago and Boston: one can open a mosque where “death to homosexuals!” is preached, but a restaurant owned by a man who contributes his money to pro-traditional marriage groups is not to be countenanced for a moment.

            Anyway, what have you got against mimes??? It’s not like they make a lot of noise…

          • Guest

            Anyway, what have you got against mimes??? It’s not like they make a lot of noise..

            They need to learn the words, as Lord Vetinari put it.

            On the other hand, I find it equally deplorable for government to tell a businessman how he ought to conduct his business or, more basically, how a property-owner ought to use his property.

            As in all things, there is a balance. As far as telling property owners how to use their property, I prefer democratically enacted statutes over the alternative, which would be a mishmash of rules created by court rulings on cases involving nuisance and trespass.

            As far as businesses … for me the question is to ask what public good is being served by a particular law. If you’re talking about, say, federal regulation of chickenfeed, you can draw a direct line from healthy materials in chickenfeed to a federal interest in maintaining the overall health of chickens slaughtered for human consumption.

            Nondiscrimination law is similar. I can see, for example, a federal law barring racial discrimination, especially if you have a situation where state law mandates discrimination (a situation occurred under Jim Crow) or a situation in which businesses conspire together to deny services to members of a particular ethnic group.

            But some of the more recent cases, as I said, leave me bemused at best, worried at worst.

          • Guest

            As Lord Vetinari put it, they need to learn the words.

          • Guest

            I’d react a little differently. A little yelling, a little cussing, and a little research into legal precedent. I don’t think I’d actually sue, but knowing that I could do so sometimes makes me feel a little better … and depending on the person’s manner, I might want to make them sweat a little bit.

            As to whether a business has to “serve all comers,” the question is actually fairly complex. As a matter of morals and ethics (NOT law), I would argue that a public business should serve all customers as long as those customers are polite and peaceable, and are not mimes.

            From a legal standpoint … it’s a bit more complex. Generally, whether a particular business may refuse service to a particular customer turns on state and/or federal law regarding public accommodations. Typically, public accommodations are prohibited from discriminating based on race, sex, national origin, disability, or family status. Some states add religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, and transgendered status to the mix.

            Aside from some fundamentalist libertarians, there’s rather broad public support for most of these prohibitions.

            But I think we’re running into a couple of problems:

            1) Dale Carpenter, writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, referred to the “trivialization” of antidiscrimination law. He was specifically speaking about the lawsuit alleging eHarmony discriminated against gays by not offering a same-sex dating service. I rather agree with him. It’s one thing to slam a business (or group of businesses) for refusing to accept members of a particular ethnic group or race as customers, particularly when you are talking about lodging, food, or transportation. It’s quite another to sue over dating services and wedding paraphernalia.

            2) We’re reaching a point where the discrimination law is starting to interfere with other rights, and I fail to see a compelling argument to override those rights. It’s one thing to require that the only hotelier in town provide lodging to all regardless of race. It’s quite another to require that, say, a photographer produce photos (by definition expressive activity) of an event with which he or she vehemently disagrees.

        • I think if I were running a retail business like that bakery and a prospective client wanted me to provide services for a same-sex wedding in the current political environment, I would ask them to give me a moment, and then I’d call around to my competitors until one came up with what I thought sounded like a good ballpark number, and then I’d bring the prospect that competitor’s info with the message, “they’re really looking forward to helping you with this.”

          And then of course I would be publicly damned for homophobia anyway, but I wouldn’t give a shit.

          • herddog505

            Depending on the competitor and his personal views, you might get more than that!

      • Guest

        That is worrisome, and I find it repugnant.

        By the way, did you read about the bakery in Colorado?

    • I didn’t say that Archbishop Cordileone would face religious persecution, now did I?

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