POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL

"Canada had lost sight of religious freedom as human right," Baird says

John Baird makes me think of a man suffering from rabies, foaming at the mouth and shouting absurdities.

His words are nothing less than the kind of crazed and incoherent shouts we would expect from a person suffering from late-stage rabies.

No country on earth better respects the principles of freedom of religion than does Canada, full stop.

And certainly not the United States where the venom of religious intolerance enters public debate and even policy on a regular basis.

I, for one, deeply resent being preached at in this fashion by a man who holds a senior cabinet post: a torrent of deliberate dishonesty, bent only for his own political advantage.

He not only fails utterly to serve religious freedom, or any other human or democratic value, he clearly serves the opposite purpose, hoping to inject America's poisonous religious and ideological debate into Canada's traditionally peaceful politics and policy.

This is just disgusting.

Freedom of religion, everywhere and always, implies freedom from religion.

You cannot have a free society where government serves and promotes religious interests of any kind.

It is up to religious people in the privacy of their homes and religious institutions to make religion part of their lives.

Good God, the very people sharing John Baird's delusional thinking are the people who hate things like Islamic republics.

This government is now showing the most dangerous signs yet of destroying the very fabric of Canada with such crazed and severely divisive rhetoric.
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"Almost without fail, the lack of religious freedom, except in a few isolated circumstances, can be attributed to religion. Nobody hates and persecutes likely the truly religious, and, they usually go after others who are truly religious."

The West suffered through centuries of persecution, burning people alive or torturing them with horrible machines, over such trivial matters as the nature of the wine and bread at mass.

Tens of thousands of proud aboriginals in Peru and Mexico and other places were tortured into accepting Christianity, being summarily executed if they did not.

Old women, perhaps suffering from mental illness, were burned at the stake as witches.

There is a huge list, spanning centuries, of abuses by the religious when they were in positions of secular power.

It is so very recently that the West has achieved the precious situation we have of genuine religious freedom.

And people like Baird work relentlessly to set the clock back, hoping in doing so to make a political gain for their party.

Israel styles itself a democracy, but it is a very strange form of democracy we see there.

Do readers know that is against the law in Israel to preach and try converting people to Christianity?

Do readers know that non-Jewish spouses are treated in an entirely unfair way there?

Do readers know that important personal documents in Israel are printed with your religious identity?

That many privileges and public services in Israel depend upon your religious identity?

Is that Baird's idea of religious freedom?

Is that why he gives public money to a fundamentalist group and now spouts utter nonsense?
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"Problem for atheists: If God doesn't exist, where did the first life come from? Where did good and evil come from? Why is it that life hasn't been found on any other planets?

"If we're all just a fluke of chance, you'd think that there would be many other 'flukes' in the universe."

There is a perfect example of the kind of rubbish bulldozed to the surface, contaminating public policy matters, by Baird's unacceptable words.

What this pathetically uninformed comment-writer does not understand is that we are at the very dawn of space exploration, comparable perhaps to the first tests of ocean-worthy ships before even travelling to North and South America to discover them teaming with life.

And despite that, scientists at NASA are now convinced some forms of life do exist on Mars, the only planet we have begun to explore. The proof will come within a decade or two.

And, please, our solar system is only one pitifully insignificant collection of matter in the cosmos. Our own galaxy contains hundreds of billions of suns, and so far we know that there are more than a billion other galaxies.

Only genuine fools would say what this comment-writer says in light of any knowledge about the current situation of science.

As to problems for people's ways of thinking: the biggest one in all of history is whence evil if there is a god who is good?

It's never been answered - Milton tried and failed and only survives because of his poetic genius.

It is easy to observe in the world, if you bother looking, that evil not only exists, it thrives and prospers almost everywhere. Good people regularly suffer, and monsters enjoy untold influence and wealth and power.

But the important point is this: what does your religious muttering have to do with public policy? Or what should it have to do with public policy?

The answer is obvious: nothing.

And just so Baird's insane rhetoric.
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"Why didn't they just give Amnesty International the $5 million and request that it be directed to cases involving religious persecution??"

Good question.

But, of course, Baird has no genuine interest in such matters, and his words only disguise far less worthy purposes.

My great fear here is that they are working towards a government construct that could one day serve to criminalize or penalize those who, for example, speak against the human rights abuses of Israel.

It would be easy to frame that kind of genuinely repressive law in a pseudo-religious context.

And with that, Messrs. Baird and Harper would be taking us back to the 16th century in terms of freedoms.
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Please see, postings two and three here:

http://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.ca/

The irony of the reality of Baird's private life versus the kind of repressive forces he supports - for campaign funds, of course - is genuinely painful.
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'He said that Canada now will "stand with the Jewish state."'

That phrase is ominous indeed, suggesting again the sense of my comment, previously, concerning the genuine ultimate aims of this backward idea for a government agency.

By definition, "the Jewish state" is not a place for religious freedom, any more than would be an Islamic republic or a Christian democracy.

You cannot, by law, even preach Christianity in Israel.

And there is a host of other things you cannot do or say in Israel, all of them concerning religious identity.

The very fact that Israel wants to be recognized as "the Jewish state" is frought with danger, because Israel has about 19% of its (formal) population, Palestinians who refused to run from the 1948 terrors of Irgun and Lehi and Stern Gang.

Israel didn't - and doesn't - want them but it is more or less stuck for now. Many Israelis speak in public for their expulsion.

I use the word "formal" because in Israel there are effectively two levels of citizenship: those with an Israel passport and those who are part of what is legally deemed the superior Jewish nation. All rights and treatments under law are affected by this terrible distinction.

To endorse that kind of human rights abuse so forcefully as does Baird is frightening to Canadians who regarded theirs as one of the worldís freest and most just societies.

And the same man is trying to create an engine of government that is wholly inappropriate in a free society, and which is potentially far more dangerous than it sounds at first pass.

And the same man gave a million dollars in public funds to a fundamentalist religious group.

Does anyone in his or her right mind trust John Baird?