Jan 08 2009

Canadians Take On Religious Extremists

It took waaaaaaaaay too long for this to happen, but finally a Canadian government is taking action against religious fundamentalists who allegedly use their beliefs as a constitutional shield to carry out abuse and criminal acts against members of their own sect.

The law is clear: polygamy is illegal. So is child abuse. If the government lawyers were too timid to take action in Bountiful, then BC Attorney General Wally Oppal deserves kudos for finally taking on these creeps (Globe and Mail). Or he would, if the leaders of their polygamous community hadn’t been allowed to allegedly practice their less-than-mainstream habits for years under his watch.

Just waiting for the “Canadians For Incest” protesters to start picketing my condo.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Canadians Take On Religious Extremists”

  1. dirkon 08 Jan 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Well actually the “law” is not that cut and dry.The government is hoping to get an exemption,i.e polygamy should not be protected by religious freedom.In fact that’s why polygamy has been tolerated to date,again due to the complected nature of the questions and rights raised.
    That said is it really a concern of the state ? After all if consenting adults want to have more than one spouse who’s business is but their own. The government & lawyers know this,and have stated that is part of the difficulty is prosecuting cases like this.As there are plenty of women who will testify they have no problem with their husband having more than one wife.
    One does not have to like or agree with polygamy(indeed I have a hard time myself understanding polygamy) but where no case of child abuse can be proven.Does the state really have the right to jail consenting partners/adults due to their marital arrangements.Does it really matter how people chose to live ? Does the state get to decide what constitutes a family or not ? If the answer is yes does the state then have a right to jail those adults who believe in polygamy,so practice it ?

  2. Ruth Seeleyon 09 Jan 2009 at 2:17 am

    Sorry, Dirk, but if you’d ever met a Mennonite woman who had to run away from home so she could continue to attend high school (her community’s religious beliefs meant her parents insisted age 12 was enough schooling for a mere girl), you might think a little differently on the polygamy issue.

    It’s not consenting adults who are making an informed decision to participate in polygamy: it’s one or two powerful males selecting additional wives – women with few options whose community has done its utmost to brainwash them from a very early age to think polygamy is the norm/acceptable and/or desirable. Very similar to the pressure exerted on girls by their mothers and aunts to allow their genitals to be mutilated so they’ll be considered marriageable in cultures where marriage is pretty much the only option for women. Not on, not on at all.

  3. dirkon 09 Jan 2009 at 4:12 pm

    You miss the point I am not validating(nor condemning) Polygamy. Read what I said,i.e the case is not cut and dry and raises many issues ,issues that go to the core of our idea of democracy,freedom of expression etc.

  4. jnarveyon 09 Jan 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Of course, Dirk. Why would you condemn polygamy? That would entail having some sort of set of values that takes a position on the oppression of women and children.

    Not to be a grammar bitch, but the saying is “cut and dried”.

  5. Ruth Seeleyon 10 Jan 2009 at 9:15 am

    No one’s paying me to edit Dirk’s copy but I’ve spotted at least a dozen typos/word misuses in his first comment, which does make it difficult to understand what he was trying to say. I do think I got it though. That’s why I raised two other ‘issues’ relating to religious and cultural freedoms and practises that also touch on women’s/feminist issues. Hello????

  6. dirkon 11 Jan 2009 at 12:07 am

    John said…”Of course, Dirk. Why would you condemn polygamy? That would entail having some sort of set of values that takes a position on the oppression of women and children”…

    wtf ? why would you say that.I wrote,”indeed I have a hard time myself understanding polygamy”
    But that said if consenting adults(I am talking in general terms here)want to have multiple partners and marry one another I could care less.Indeed who am I to judge.
    This does not imply I have no position on,”the oppression of women and children”.Again why would you say that ?
    If you do not want me to comment here John just say so,it’s your blog.

    As for my initial comments I was responded to John’s statement he wrote and I quote “the law is clear”.

    It is not,anyway forget my comment, I will use the article to make the same point (again a point not an argument and not my opinion)

    …”“This has been a very complex issue,” said B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal. “It’s been with us for well over 20 years. The problem has always been the defence of religion has always been raised.”….

    further more

    …”some legal experts have believed that the charge wouldn’t withstand a Charter of Rights challenge over the issue of freedom of religion.

    …”RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields said he’s not aware any of the wives were under 18″….

    If “the law was clear” Oppal would not have stated

    …””Is the spirit of the law being violated and we think it is. If some court decides otherwise, we will obviously have to live with that,” Mr. Oppal said when asked about the risk of losing court”…

    As for my typos they were minor whoopee,I missed an “i” an “n” and a “this” that three typos not a dozen.Hell there are typos & miss-spellings in the G & M piece

  7. Ruth Seeleyon 11 Jan 2009 at 9:22 am

    Dirk: the point I am making is that this is not the only instance of hiding behind ‘religious beliefs’ to deny women and children their fundamental human rights – and that when you live in an isolated religious community you’re not talking about choices made my consenting adults – you’re talking about choices made by people who from birth have been indoctrinated by the beliefs of their elders.

    If it were adult women flocking to Bountiful to all marry the same man that would be a completely different situation.

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