The crux of Landolt's complaint appears to be that because the courts have been persuaded that it is in fact valid to recognize discrimination against GLBT people, they have thereby constricted her rights as a religious person.
The guarantees for religious freedom have, in fact, most often been used to restrict or narrow religious freedom rather than expand it, especially when it has come in conflict with the “equality” rights of homosexuals. The latter’s rights were written into the Charter by the courts and, in contrast to religious rights, have increased and been strengthened step by step by the courts, so much so that, for the most part, homosexual rights now trump religious rights.
Her conclusion that treating discrimination against GLBT people as being just as wrong as discriminating against someone because of their gender, religion or ethnicity somehow impinges upon her religious freedoms is distinctly misguided. Nobody has told Ms. Landolt that she has to renounce her belief that being GLBT is somehow sinful. She is perfectly free to believe that, and few in the world would really care. Of course, for Landolt, and others, it's not good enough for them to believe that GLBT people are sinful, they want to punish by social and legal sanction as well.
It is significant that actual proof of discrimination against homosexuals has never been introduced at any time in evidence in any court in Canada.
Ummm...incorrect, Gwen. Remember the case of Vriend v. Alberta? There is a clear case of government discrimination in a matter, based on an intentional omission in law.
Of course, Landolt completely misinterprets the Vriend decision, and twists it around to being a matter of "judicial activism", as the Alberta legislature had clearly not voted to provide protection to homosexuals in the province of Alberta:
On the basis of this broad definition of equality, the Supreme Court of Canada in Vriend ordered the Alberta government to include sexual orientation in that province’s human rights legislation, even though that legislature had previously voted against such an inclusion. It is noteworthy that the purpose of the Charter was supposed to be to protect individuals from government legislation and policies that discriminated against them; it was not to provide new rights to individuals to be written into legislation. The Vriend decision, therefore, was a twist in judicial activism which strengthened judicial power.
Of course, what Landolt has completely failed to admit and accept is that the legislation in Alberta was at odds with the Constitution. It was not a matter of "judicial activism" at all, rather a recognition that the jurisprudence around S15 of the Charter had already established that S15 was not an "exclusive" list; further other jurisdictions in Canada had already extended legal protections against discrimination to GLBT people.
Further, the Vriend case is quite clearly a matter of government legislation that discriminated against homosexuals. The entire Vriend case centers around the fact that the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission refused to hear the Vriend complaint on the basis that it revolved around the fact that Delwin Vriend was fired for being gay.
Let's be absolutely clear here - the Vriend decision was in fact very much about a provable case of discrimination of precisely the kind that Gwen Landolt is claiming the Charter was intended to protect people from.
Of course, Gwen's happy little fantasy world holds that we all have to bow down on Sundays and worship:
The chipping away of religious freedom began almost immediately after S.15 of the Charter came into effect in 1985 in the R v Big M Drug Mart Ltd. [vii]. In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the Lord’s Day Act, which required the closing of businesses on Sunday, infringed on religious freedom because religious freedom meant not only freedom of worship, practice, and teaching, but also included freedom from coercion, e.g., that the government could not coerce individuals to affirm specific religious belief, such as, in this case, coercing non-believers to observe the Christian Sabbath. That is, the Court held that non-religious individuals have a right to be free from religious observance.
She is correct in one point here - freedom of religion also implies freedom from religion. Of course, what shreds of rationality are gradually torn away as she progresses down her fantasy path about just how evil it is that legislation that implies a particular religious tradition becomes problematic when you grant freedom of religion to those who aren't followers of Christian tradition:
This interpretation departed considerably from the long established interpretation of freedom of religion, which, heretofore, had meant that one was free to practice one’s religion without interference from the state. In short, the court emphasized the individual conscience and the rights of non-Christians at the expense of the religious rights of communities of believers. It is obvious that Sunday shop closing legislation simply respected the Sabbath observed by the majority of people in society, and protected both shop owners and retail workers from being compelled to work on their day of rest.
The problem with Landolt's argument is that her reasoning is deeply flawed. What Landolt has missed is that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies equally to all Canadians, regardless of their faith; and further fundamental individual freedoms such as freedom of religion mean that a law whose fundamental premise is based on a particular religious tradition (and the "Lord's Day Act" was clearly such a law) is on very weak ground. Further, the Charter and the Constitution quite clearly do not recognize any single faith tradition as being primary in Canada.
We then find Landolt repeating the usual whines about cases like Brockie and others which I have already addressed in some detail. Amusingly, I'd like to know what's so offensive about printing letterhead for a gay organization that it caused Mr. Brockie to find his "religious sensibilities" offended. Of course, I wonder what would happen if the tables were turned, and a printer refused to print something with overtly christian symbols plastered all over it?
Oh yes, she tries valiantly to rescue the Boissoin case from the toilet:
Stephen Boissoin, a Baptist Minister in Alberta, published a letter opposing homosexuality in a local newspaper, The Red Deer Advocate. This letter was an expression of Mr. Boissoin’s deeply held beliefs on the issue, and ran under the subheading “Homosexual Agenda Wicked”.
Boissoin's letter was no "religious" letter. Give me a break. That letter was filled with enough distortions, outright lies and falsehoods to make any self respecting Christian blush with embarrassment with the myriad ways it breaches fundamental tenets of the ethics of that faith.
As if Boissoin's letter would have provoked any kind of rational discussion, Landolt points to this tidbit on the matter from a Gay publication:
Significantly, according to the homosexual newspaper, Xtra West (December 6, 2007), the complaint against Pastor Boissoin was opposed by the homosexual lobby group, EGALE, which issued a press release on the case stating “that debate was the best method for dealing with homophobia (sic)” and that “sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
Debate is fine. Boissoin was not opening the door to any kind of debate. Period. His language alone made it clear that he wasn't seeking debate, but was making a call to arms against GLBT people. Landolt conveniently ignores the fact that while the furor was boiling around Red Deer in the weeks after Boissoin's letter was published, a gay youth was severely beaten. While the connection is difficult to prove, the temporal coincidence cannot be ignored.
What Landolt and others need to recognize is that matters of faith are just fine - nobody has a problem with the fact that some faiths consider GLBT people "sinful". That doesn't give anybody the right to marginalize, discriminate against, or abuse someone else simply because "their faith tells them that the Other is an evil sinner". Period. It's amusing how "religious freedom" seems to imply for these people that includes discriminating against GLBT people in both law and life.
Like Ezra's tirades against Human Rights tribunals, Landolt's claims are rooted in a sense of entitlement. Her rights supercede the rights of others. Landolt is perfectly free to believe what she wishes. She is not, however, free to simply impose her religious beliefs on every body else. When she, and others like Charles McVety get it through their heads that individual freedoms are just that - individual - then they might just start to realize that they are free to their beliefs, but that freedom does not extend to imposing their beliefs and values upon others.