Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Conservative Distractions


Distraction is the name of the game. Our troops went in to Haiti, knocked over a government, installed a crazed dictator and destabilized a society to the point where it is estimated that 4000 political murders have taken place and 35000 women and children have been raped in that country. In Afghanistan, the government and the military have admitted that the "reconstruction" aspects of the mission will have to wait until after the "security" situation has stabilized. We're not doing any reconstruction, just killing and getting killed, and even the NDP aren't willing to discuss the elephant in the room - the billions of barrels of oil just sitting there to the north of the country, waiting for a pipeline; waiting for a country "secure" enough to run a pipeline through.

So our government tries to distract us. The Conservatives have decided that they're going to try to pass a "Defence of Religions Act" in order to make sure that the gay marriages can't be thrust upon people who believe that homosexuality is morally wrong. This seems to be reasonable, except that we already have a thing called the Charter of Rights that ensures that no one can force you to be gay.

The purpose of this act, apparently, is to "protect" the free speech of those who criticize homosexuals. Again, this sort of free speech is already protected unless, of course, you're advocating violence against homosexuals, or repeatedly quoting that bit of religious text that says homosexuals should be put to death. Then you're guilty of all sorts of crimes, same as you would be advocating death or violence to any other group. No need for a law here, and we certainly don't want to protect those who commit hate crimes.

The Act is also supposed to protect public servants - not just religious ministers - from having to perform or involve themselves in the technical parts of gay marriages. This would allow, for instance, a Justice of the Peace to refuse to perform the marriage. Maybe, once we actually see the text of the act, it will permit public servants to refuse to process the marriage certificate based on their own religious beliefs. That would be unacceptable. Science teachers have to check their religions at the door. Doctors are expected to handle patients using birth control. Pharmacists are expected to dispense prescription drugs. All of these servants are expected to do their jobs regardless of their religion and civil servants are no different.

But this Act is a distraction, and maybe a bit of pandering to the social Conservative base. It's supposed to distract you from the fact that we are now openly sending our soldiers abroad to prosecute foreign wars, to seize foreign resources and impose our will upon foreign peoples. Every paragraph, every speech, every letter written on the subject of gay marriages is one less moment devoted to noticing the villainy that our government is promoting abroad.


Democracy Now on the Lancet Study in Haiti
CIDA in Afghanistan (note the priorities)

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