Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Atheism in Decline: New World (Dis)Order

That most entertaining of English magazines, The Spectator, in its September 18, 2004 issue, carried an article by Oxford theologian Alister McGrath entitled “The Incoming Sea of Faith.” Essentially a teaser for two books that the prolific McGrath has produced entitled The Twilight of Atheism, and Dawkin’s God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life, the article goes over the familiar ground that atheism’s zealous convictions about wars being caused by religion and the eventual demise of religions at the hands of enlightenment have been proven wrong and that the appeal of atheism as a public philosophy “came to an undistinguished end in 1989 with the collapse of the Berlin Wall”. State atheism came to be loathed and failed.

He points out the lamentable track record of 20th Century atheistic regimes and notes that atheism has both run out of intellectual steam and severely tarnished its moral credentials. Moreover, atheist philosophers, and in his article McGrath makes special mention of Richard Dawkins, who has tried to establish himself as atheism’s leading propagandist, have been slow to recognise and reluctant to engage postmodernism.

Citing an observation by Nietzsche at the end of the 19th Century that there is something about human nature which makes it capable of being inspired by what it believes to be right to do both wonderful and appalling things, McGrath notes that “…it might be some deeply troubling flaw in human nature itself” that is responsible for human wrongdoing rather than merely the externalities of race, gender, sex or class as the typically utopian alternatives usually suggest. McGrath says that this uncomfortable thought “demands careful reflection”. He is right to make this point as failure to have any concept of evil and/or the root causes of coercion is a fatal weakness in all the alternatives to a properly Christian conception of things.

What postmodernism is suspicious of, according to McGrath, is “totalising worldviews” or, those theories that claim to “offer a global view of reality”. Secondly, post-modernity “regards purely materialist approaches to reality as inadequate”. So far so good.

McGrath notes that Christian apologists have a problem on their hands because this new interest in spirituality “has no necessary connection with organized religion of any kind, let alone Christianity. How can the “Churches” [note the plural] connect with such aspirations?” he asks. How indeed? McGrath suggests that the post-modern interest in “spirituality” is more troubling for atheism than for Christianity because “for the Christian, the problem is how to relate or convert an interest in spirituality to the Church [note the singular] or to Jesus Christ”.

According to McGrath “at least this is in the right direction”. For the atheist, on the other hand, “…. [this resurgent spirituality] represents a quasi-superstitious reintroduction of spiritual ideas, leading post-modernity backwards into religious beliefs that atheism thought it had exorcised”.

Then McGrath’s analysis takes a curious turn – a turn of great significance. Citing the resurgence of Pentecostalism “now attracting half a billion global followers” and the Alpha course “whose adherents are now said to number some 60 million worldwide” McGrath asks: “What, I wonder, are the implications of such developments for the future of atheism in the West?” Here McGrath fails to note a critical problem within Christianity itself; one that will play havoc with both the engagements with atheism and the new, often vapid, spiritualities.

Like the late English writer Lesslie Newbigin, McGrath notes the need to connect with this new cultural phenomenon of post-modernity. Unlike Newbigin, McGrath seems all too satisfied with the divisions within Christianity that, as Newbigin brilliantly noted, “represent the very thing in their division that they seek to overcome in their witness”.

How, asked Newbigin, in his brilliant book Foolishness to the Greeks, can denominational Christianity speak with authority to postmodernism when in itself it is so divided and constantly dividing? Newbigin, citing the American sociologist of religion, Thomas Luckman, said that “denominationalism is the secularized aspect that religion takes in a culture dominated by the Enlightenment”. I am unaware that McGrath sees this problem within Protestantism.

With both writers, however, McGrath and Newbigin, there was a complete and striking failure to comprehend that there is a body within Christianity that does, in fact, claim precisely to speak for the whole! As Protestants, neither McGrath nor Newbigin wish to engage the really big thing that stares them both in the face and might well be the thing that provides the biggest antagonist to both secularistic atheism and vague spiritualism not to mention that other big factor in the world - - Islam.

McGrath calls Islam “the most significant, dynamic and interesting critic of Western Christianity”. He is wrong on several counts. First, “Western Christianity” is not one thing. It is a variety of things only one of which claims to be a visible Church. The Alpha Course and Pentecostalism, for all their popularity, could never engage what we might call “post-modern Christianity” with its massive fragmentations and individualism because they have no deep conception of history, authority or dogma.

C.S. Lewis’ well known apologetic of half a century ago, Mere Christianity, ought really to have been called “Many Christianities” given what we now see arrayed around the world under the banner of Christianity. These fragmented and ever fragmenting communities do in fact represent, as Newbigin so powerfully pointed out, the very division and individualism that post-modernity has set up as its definition of human being and the human condition - - a vision that the Christian faith ought to stand in stark opposition to.

The most significant challenger to Islam, atheism and protestant denominationalism is, and will likely remain, the Roman Catholic Church for it alone claims to have an understanding of the root causes of each and claims to speak with an authority that encompasses the world. Whether one agrees with this authority or not is an open question but that there is such a distinctive claim alone within Roman Catholicism should not be ignored by those, such as McGrath and Newbigin, who have written so wisely on other matters.

This does not mean that there are not grounds for co-operation between the four major players of the new world disorder, far from it, just that any attempt to discuss the four as if they are only three (Christianity, Islam and Atheism) is going to fail. McGrath and others need to see the fourth player (or fifth if we include post-modernism as a “player” which I am not sure is really valid) for what it is and for what it claims to be. There is a twilight of atheism visible after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it was not denominational Christianity that led to the collapse of that wall.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 47
Iain T. Benson ©

Friday, October 22, 2004

Homophobia, Heterosexism, Intolerance and Religion

So, a friend of the Pope’s earmarked to be the Secretary for the European Commission said that he considered homosexual conduct a sin. For this he is said to be a “homophobe” and all sorts of trendy politicians in Europe - - green and not so green, are flocking to denounce him and try to ensure that he not be on the future Commission.

The man in question, Mr. Rocco Buttiglione, apparently was careful to state, when he gave that interview, that his beliefs about homosexual conduct need not determine his policies in relation to homosexual conduct as a crime. No matter, he has been termed a “homophobe” and even, on today’s French Culture radio broadcast, a “sexist” because of another outrageous view he has put about - - namely that women should have the freedom to stay at home with their children if they wish! Imagine.

During the marriage challenge cases in Canada over the last few years it was commonplace for the lawyers hired on behalf of same-sex marriage activists to refer to opposing viewpoints as either “homophobic” or “heterosexist.” As the lawyers on the other side of these cases we had to try and understand what this language meant.

In an affidavit prepared for the Interfaith Coalition for Marriage, a group I and other lawyers represented as co-counsel in several provinces, Professor Dan Cere of McGill University gave a bit of history about these terms. A history many people would find interesting. The whole affidavit is available on the website of Dr. Cere’s organization at McGill (see below) but I would like to record, here, the relevant paragraphs on the terms “homophobia” and “heterosexism” from paras. 24 – 35 of Dr. Cere’s affidavit.

III. WHY THE LANGUAGE OF ‘HETEROSEXISM’ AND ‘HOMOPHOBIA’ IS
PROBLEMATIC FOR CIVIL SOCIETY INCLUDING RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS

24. The word ‘homophobia’ first appeared in print in 1969 in Homosexual, a national newsweekly in the United States. It was coined by American psychologist George Weinberg. Weinberg used homophobia to label heterosexuals' dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals as well as homosexuals' self-loathing. In his 1972 study, Society and the Healthy Homosexual, Weinberg developed the concept of ‘homophobia’ at some length. He argued that homophobia was an entrenched feature of American as well as Western culture. He claimed that in world views infected by homophobia “homosexuality itself is considered a problem.” A characteristic feature of homophobic world-views is an “unwarranted distress over homosexuality.” (Weinberg 1972, 4). Given this very loose construction of “homophobia” and the question-begging nature of what is meant by “unwarranted”, it is likely that if by “unwarranted” Weinberg means, “concerned about the implications of homosexual and lesbian conduct” then most major religious traditions would have to be considered “homophobic.” This kind of rhetoric is hardly helpful in terms of the kind of distinctions necessary within civil society. It stigmatizes religious communities and seeks to destroy the credibility of religious thought which has been, and remains, a fundamentally important source in building the concepts that guide and govern society. This relationship between religion and religious principles and contemporary liberal societies has been widely recognized by many contemporary political philosophers (including Jean Bethke Elshtain, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor).

25. The meaning of the term homophobia was also extended to include “internalized homophobia”—“the conscious or subconscious adoption and acceptance of negative feelings and attitudes about homosexuals or homosexuality by homosexual men and lesbians.” Internalized homophobia is evidenced in a variety of ways including denial or discomfort with being a homosexual, low self-esteem, and depression. The concept of “internalized homophobia” is often employed to suggest a direct causal link between the levels of psychological or emotional pain or distress among homosexual and lesbians and the ‘culture of homophobia’ maintained by heterosexuals.

26. A variety of strategies for measuring homophobia have been devised. Hudson and Ricketts have developed the “Index of Homophobia” in order to identity variations between “high grade homophobics” and “low grade homophobics.” (Hudson and Ricketts 1980). However, there is considerable debate about the reliability and validity of these instruments. Some researchers argue that heterosexuals' ‘anti-homosexual’ attitudes cannot reasonably be considered to be a phobia in the clinical sense. The limited data available suggest that many heterosexuals who may express hostility toward homosexual and lesbian behavior do not manifest the typical physiological reactions to homosexuality that are associated with phobias. (Shields, S. A., & Harriman, R. E. 1984)

27. A third component in the evolving discourse on homophobia was the development of the concept of “heterosexism.” Patricia Beattie Jung and Ralph E. Smith describe heterosexism as a system of reasoned prejudice that maintains that heterosexuality “is the measure by which all other sexual orientations are judged” (Beattie Jung and Smith 1993, 13-14). Heterosexism expresses itself in “heteronormativity” which attributes some form of superiority or privilege to “heterosexuality.” William Countryman defines heterosexism as a view that perceives heterosexuality to be a “key to our social morality.” (Countryman 2000, 171). According to Margrit Eichler, “The heterosexist bias is treating the heterosexual family as ‘natural’, thereby denying family status to lesbian and gay families.” (Family Shifts, 9).

28. Heterosexist ideologies, according to this view, are a form of social bias. The “pervasiveness of heterosexism and homophobia in our culture” is considered to be a “given.” (Susan Ehrlich, par.11). For social constructionists, these global biases deeply structure our definition of marriage. On this view, heterosexism supports the belief that heterosexuality or heterosexual bonding do have some kind of unique or special place in human life and, therefore, can make a case for recognition in public policy and law. Heterosexism expresses itself in the exclusion of homosexual persons and bonds from key public policies and procedures. This exclusion of same-sex bonds from the institution of marriage is, by definition, ‘heterosexist” (i.e. according to this definition of heterosexism).

29. James T. Sears ‘retrospective’ on the 25-year evolution of these concepts celebrates the success of this project. He points out that the concepts of homophobia and heterosexism have been well integrated into social science literature. Their impact have been felt both on policy makers as well as the judiciary: Sears concludes that “homophobia has evolved from a psychologist’s construct to a marcher’s chant.” (Sears 1997, 15-16)

30. However, the discourse on homophobia and heterosexism has many problematic features. First, this is still relatively new. There is a problem with consistency in the use of the terms as technical constructs. The term homophobia can be employed in the restricted sense of irrational hatred or fear of homosexual persons. It can also be used in the more global sense of the cultural and political privileging of heterosexuality. Even its proponents point to the fact that this is still largely unchartered terrain that needs more research and debate (Sears and Williams). These diverse constructs (homophobia, heterosexism, heteronormativity) have not been subject to the vigorous academic debate necessary to fully assess the claims and implications of this discourse. Furthermore the academic discourse is closely tied to an advocacy position. Much of the current social science discourse on these terms is generated by those who are active in the fight for homosexual and lesbian rights.


31. Secondly, the inner logic of this discourse compels us to conclude that all discourse about the essentially heterosexual nature of human life and the critical role of heterosexual bonding is morally tainted. The terms homophobia and heterosexism have been directly linked to racism and anti-Semitism (Blumenfield 1997 131-40). This explicit linkage implies those who speak to the central role of heterosexuality and heterosexual bonding in human life are essentially no different from 19th advocates of slavery, 20th century Nazi apologists for anti-Semitism, or contemporary proponents of white supremacy. The mere attempt to argue for the critical significance of heterosexuality and heterosexual bonding is, by definition, morally suspect.

32. The question of human sexuality and marriage is fundamental to religious traditions such as Catholicism. Given the broad sweep of these newly constructed “isms” how can religious traditions such as Catholicism evade being stereotyped as “homophobic” or “heterosexist”? If “internalized homophobia” is taken seriously, how can these traditions avoid being held directly responsibly and liable for the emotional pain and depression of homosexuals in their communities? These loosely constructed stereotypes are highly controversial. They have the effect of systematically stigmatizing religious traditions and fracturing civil discourse.

33. Third, the discourse on homophobia typically tends to overlook the crucial moral distinction between the person and the act. The Catholic Church rejects any “unjust discrimination” against homosexuals (Catechism of the Catholic Church art. 2358). However, non-discrimination does not imply that the particular actions, claims, or policy demands of homosexuals always need to be recognized and affirmed. In the same way, non-discrimination against persons of different racial, religious, or ethnic communities does not necessitate public affirmation of the particular beliefs, policies, or practices that their communities may embrace.

34. In particular, a non-discriminatory stance towards homosexuals does not mean that society has to treat homosexual bonding in the same way as it treats heterosexual bonding. The institution of marriage does not privilege heterosexuals in themselves. It does privilege a particular form of heterosexual bonding. In fact, society and religions do not treat all forms of heterosexual bonding in the same way—they do not recognize incestuous relationships, adult-child relationships, polygamy, prostitution or short-term sexual liaisons as included in the category of marriage. Many forms of heterosexual bonding and heterosexual conduct fall outside of both legal and religious definitions of marriage. (Family, Marriage, and “De Facto” Unions, 2000).

35. Current constructions of the discourse on homophobia and heterosexism tend to be circular in their logic: a) homophobia/heterosexism is wrong since it privileges heterosexuals and heterosexual practices and denigrates homosexuals and homosexual practices; b) marriage privileges heterosexual bonding; therefore, c) the exclusion of homosexual bonds from marriage is wrong. Thus, according to Patricia Beattie Jung and Ralph E. Smith, reconfiguring marriage is key to “dismantling heterosexism” (Jung & Smith, 1993, ch.6). This kind of circular logic arbitrarily cuts off any serious debate about the substantive differences between homosexual and heterosexual bonding and stigmatizes any affirmation of the critical place of heterosexual bonding in the human social ecology as inherently heterosexist.

There you have it. An analysis of why the language of “homophobia” and “heterosexism” was designed to push an agenda and cloud analysis and why it eventually and necessarily attacks traditional religious conceptions.

The full affidavit, well worth reading and circulating widely, is found on Dr. Cere’s Institute’s website at: http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/affidavit.pdf

One wonders whether the current hysteria, freely throwing about the term “homophobe” pushed to a fever pitch by the almost always one-sided media, will continue to a conclusion that sees Mr. Buttiglione ousted from the job for which he has been nominated.

Perhaps another conclusion is possible: people will realize, as one commentator said this morning on French radio, that this is just another example of “political correctness” gone mad. Whatever the conclusion, the international power of the same-sex lobby is now clear for all to see and its ability to coalesce power across traditionally opposed political lines is an astonishing thing to witness. The term “homophobia” has now become international.

The commentator on French radio this morning said another interesting thing: she referred to the “affaire Buttiglione” as a new “war against religion.” She is right of course. If Buttiglione simply stated the common and virtually universal religious position that homosexual conduct is wrong (or, in the older language, “sinful”) and if that statement amounts to homophobia and is inconsistent with the new principles of human rights, as those opposed to Buttiglione argue, then religions themselves must be, by the logic of the argument, also viewed as opponents of the new human rights.

That is the really big issue lurking not far below the surface but almost nobody is noticing it. Those of us who have become sceptical about “the new human rights” as an ideological and increasingly anti-religious movement, know what the new human rights will do with these “class enemies” don’t we?

To the wall with them all! This is the real danger of the new sexual fundamentalists. They have no place left for respecting those with whom they disagree. Buttiglione can state that he can “hate the sin and love the sinner” but the new zealots cannot do this. Having no distinction between their sense of themselves and what they wish to act upon, they cannot accept an “act” “person” distinction when others espouse it. They demand acceptance without any distinctions. They are, at the deepest level, intolerant.

Neo-bolshevism looks pretty much the same whether marching under “class” or “same-sex” banners don’t you think? Time alone will tell whether it goes the same way and how many “class enemies” will be sacrificed along the way.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 46
Iain T. Benson ©

Waiting for the Storm

Yesterday the weather report told us to expect high winds over most of France. Today the air is heavy with expectation and very warm. The children play about in an excited manner and the barometer in the hall reads tempête.

The news last night carried a report about the first Muslim schoolgirls sent home because they refused to remove their veils before entering the school so as to comply with the French law that came into effect at the beginning of this school year.

The Regulations require that the school officials first try and talk with the students and their families - - explaining the need for “neutrality” (as the French see it) and then, if the students and their families still refuse to get rid of their ostensible religious symbols, the students are excluded from school until they comply. It seems so simple: too simple.

The scene outside the school showed the two girls, one appeared to be in tears, accompanied by clearly angry relatives being sent away from the school. There were angry people making statements for the cameras- - one, a man (her father?) brandished one of the girls report cards and yelled that the student had a moyen of 17.5 (out of 20) which, is a very high academic average in France. He seemed to think, somehow, that her scholastic ability could compensate for her desire to manifest her religious beliefs.

Unrest has begun. Like the storm we are expecting later today, things still seem quiet. Serious storms, however, can begin with small beginnings and the unrest over “the veil” and the French claim that stripping all religious symbolism from schools is neutral might ignite what ends up being a veritable firestorm.

It is still a little early to tell how big will be the blow but here, and in French schools, the winds have started.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 45
Iain T. Benson ©

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Presidential Debates: "Feelings" vs Logic

The other evening in Montreal, my friend Russ (an American) and I watched the second of the US Presidential Debates. If there was any doubt about which was the candidate to avoid, this debate made the matter clear for me. I would no more vote for John Kerry than mate with a goat. Here is why.

If there is one thing that the contemporary age has done that deserves our deepest contempt it is this - - to try and accord “respect” to someone else’s “feelings.”

Years ago on the trendy left coast Island my family and I then inhabited, my wife shocked an assembly of mothers by telling one of our small-fry, who had come to her crying about some playground unfairness and complaining about somebody “hurting my feelings”, by saying “I don’t care about your feelings alone ……what happened?”

My wife, being well educated (in Scotland) was taught how to think about such things as “feelings” and they did not count beside such things as “facts.” Unfortunately, in the contemporary argot, “feelings” are, all too often, a stand-in for thought and so we can distance ourselves from substantive propositions by raising the flag of feelings up our personal identity flag posts. My wife and I have refused to be co-opted into this horrific form of unreality speak. It is not so, unfortunately, in the culture - - in our Western cultures as a whole. That is where Kerry comes in.

Twice during the debate, Senator Kerry was asked questions that came from what could be called a “pro-life” perspective (those who fear such language might substitute the meaningless language of “choice” and say such people were “anti-choice” if it makes them feel better). On both occasions Kerry responded with what his “handlers” had well scripted him to do: he said “First, let me say how much I respect the FEELINGS of the questioner…” then he went on to offer some ridiculous non-answer to the point being made.

My concern is not with the non-answer as such (though that is also a bad thing) but with the supposed “respect for feelings.” How can someone respect the “feelings” of a person who believes that an unborn human being should be accorded the sanctity of life and then use law and politics to kill the innocent? What has such a disagreement to do with “feelings” at all? Kerry and those who discuss like this have not got past the playground “wah, wah, wah “ of human disagreements.

To focus on “feelings” and ignore the debate itself is what Kerry and his kind are doing. I’d rather they hurt my feelings on such matters but dealt with the arguments. Nowadays it is the failure to deal with the arguments that poses the greatest threat to the most important subjects of the day (whether it be abortion or the nature of marriage). Is someone who uses the “feelings” arguments to avoid the real arguments a person we should trust with the most powerful political office in the world? If you say you “respect my feelings” then murder my mother, I can call you a liar and a bad man. On this reading Kerry is a bad man.

If you say you “respect my feelings” and then dash the heads of my children against rocks, you have both a strange conception of feelings and children. Kerry is such a person. In all his Frankensteinian (he can’t blame his looks but, my goodness, the man only lacks neck bolts to make him the perfect nightmare) smoothness, Kerry is a chilling representative of the false logic of the day.

None of this, it should be noted, means that I like the alternative either - - I hold no brief for “W” but I must say, that on the questions he did not stoop to “respecting feelings” whilst trashing the logic of argument. It is a tough choice the Americans face but for my money I would never vote for a Feelingstein like Kerry.

Now where is that goat?

CENTREBLOG: Volume 44
Iain T. Benson ©

Friday, October 15, 2004

The New Corporate Ethics

News this past week has been about the Royal Bank’s introduction of a rainbow symbol on employee’s desks. This symbol, understood by contemporaries as a gay favourable symbol, should be, so it has been intimated, placed on the desks of employees as a sign of “we love you” to gay and lesbians who have a sense that they may not, in fact, be loved.

The Royal Bank, courageously backing one of the most powerful and vivid forces of the day, has gone some way to back-pedal, since this little campaign of “diversity” and “tolerance” has caused a fair bit of unrest in the last few weeks.

The entire thing is just so pathetic. Corporations, desperate to have something to define themselves by, have done their best to lick their collective fingers, stick them in the air, and try and find out the way in which the winds of the times are blowing. Voila! “Same- sex causes” say the wind, and the corporations answer, “we are here…only say the word and we shall be popular”.

There is something genuinely tragic about the new corporate images. For there has never been a time in which the sheer bulk and aptitude of contemporary business has been so detached from anything like a rigorous cultural moral stance.

“Full drift ahead” could be the rallying cry of these large and lifeless projects. Years ago, we at the Centre spent a number of hours and days with those in a few of the large banks that have, as their role, the task of finding places in which to invest the money they set aside for charities. It was an exercise in futility. Our exercise, their futility.

It was not surprising that they wanted things that were both “safe” and “ non-political” like “breast cancer marches” and we discovered that they would shy away from things that could be perceived as “political.”

For the new captains of industry, in their massive and collective ignorance, do not know the difference between the moral and the political and reduce everything to the language of “the popular.”

When was the last time that you heard of a major corporation funding something controversial? Right. You have not. They want the popular course, they have no vision, so they look to the age as a mirror of their own blankness.

They are afraid of controversy because it is in swimming (or drifting) with the contemporary tides that they make their profits.

As that wonderful critic of this approach, that anti-corporatist, G.K. Chesterton, once put it: only dead things go with the tide, live things swim against it.

Let us see when a major corporation has the insight, wisdom and courage to take a principled stance against the popular currents of the day when such currents look to be leading us all into the dark.

For the most part, they are simply the pathetic cheerleaders of the flavours of the day. Being neither hot nor cold they are really only to be vomited.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 43
Iain T. Benson ©

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New Judges "They. Are. Zealots."

The headline in Canada’s largest distribution paper was bold, clear and weird. “They. Are. Women.” (Toronto Star, Tuesday, October 5, 2004). I hadn’t realized that this fact was in dispute. What else could they have been? Vegetables? Aliens? Stuffed puppets?

What is the point exactly? Did the Star once run a comparable headline for the appointments of Justices Sopinka, Iacobucci Major, Binnie or Gonthier pointing out the important and stunning fact that “They. Are. Men.”? It did not.

Why did it not do so? Because the appointment of male judges was on account of their abilities not their sex. That seems harsh but makes sense when you think that the coverage highlights the women’s sex more than their legal experience - - with one exception, that being Louise Charron, described as “a masterful Crown Attorney who married an Ottawa cop.” The others have rather little practical experience as lawyers - - not what one expects of the highest court.

The new female justices are part, we are told, of one of the most female represented high courts in the world. We are supposed to think this is great. I don’t. Frankly, I think it is pathetic that the sex of a person is the thing that gets everyone excited about these appointments.

I want judges who are excellent judges and bring impartiality, not political zeal, to the bench. I want judges who can assist in protecting citizens from the “juggernaut” of over-zealous rights not (as did Rosalie Abella) extol it. To have a judge describe rights and justice as a “juggernaut” and that as a great vision is, frankly, worrying.

Combine this high-school cheerleader view of law with others and the “razzle dazzle siss boom bah” kind of approach to rights theory would be just embarrassing if it were not so dangerous.

I hope that when the judges decided (as they have done some time ago) that the Preamble statement “Whereas Canada is founded on the Supremacy of God….” was really a dead letter, they also took a look at the phrase that came next - - “…the rule of Law”.

If we jettison the rule of law which includes a proper understanding of the necessarily limited role of the law in relation to the legislature, we shall not have “the rule of law” but the “rule BY law” and that threatens another principle in our hallowed Charter - - “a free and democratic society”.

So I hope that the new Justices will be good judges first and zealous legal engineers not at all. Legal engineering is for the lawmakers, not the law interpreters and that, in its best and strictest sense, is what good judging is all about.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 42
Iain T. Benson ©