Opinions

Dear Sir

An open letter to Bishop Henry

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Dear Bishop Henry,

As a citizen of Canada, and a firm believer in the freedom of speech and religion, I am deeply disappointed in your comments regarding the homosexual community in Canada, when and how their actions are akin to adultery and other social ills which you have deemed "evil." I have always been of the opinion that Christianity is a faith of equality, love, and respect, not of intolerance and hatred. Your arguments are rooted in antiquated stereotypes of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transexual community, and only serve to perpetuate such stereotypes. However, while you are representing the Roman Catholic diocese and its views, it is clear that your words do not represent the views of all Christians.

Jesus, as I have come to know Him, is a man who preached love and respect, and overcame many obstacles to break down religious and social injustices that existed during His time. But where have these ideals gone in the 2,000-plus years since his passing? To spread a message of intolerance and hatred against an innocent minority, supposedly in His name, is clearly contradictory to His legacy which you have been charged to protect and continue.

You also attempted to paint homosexuals in the same class as adulterers, prostitutes, and pornographers, who undermine the foundations of family. Where did this idea come from? Have you any proof that homosexuals deserve this station that you have condemned them to? The gay and lesbian community today is vastly different from the stereotypes branded them: many same-sex couples have started families and raised children, all of whom are just like any other family. Tom and Harry Canuck are just as capable of starting a family as Joe and Jane Canuck next door, and both couples are just as fallible to the foibles of humanity. To make such bold assumptions that all homosexuals are evil adulterers and smut-peddlers based on circumstantial evidence will not only serve to alienate the GLBT community further, but also to alienate those parts of your flock who are sympathetic to their plight.

As the Catholic Bishop of this city you hold a significant amount of leverage. Your words are what guide your followers, and that is where your significant powers lie. However, like politicians, with great powers come great responsibilities. While you answer to no one except for the Lord, for you to demand the federal government use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' notwithstanding clause against gays and lesbians is attempting to force politicians to answer to you, and to be subservient to religion. The Fathers of Confederation created a secular Canada for a reason, to protect those in the minority from the tyranny of the majority. This allows you to practice your religion, but also protects the rights of minorities to live without fear of persecution. While true democracy is the will of the majority, it also protects the rights of minorities, and that is exactly what Prime Minister Martin is doing. To suggest that an innocent minority should remain oppressed is utterly irresponsible.

While you may believe that homosexuality is wrong, there are many who do not share your views. Humans have been given the power of conscience, to think for ourselves, and to make our own decisions. You are free to articulate Catholic dogma to your flock; while some may choose to follow your words, there are those who disagree, and they have made a conscious decision to do so. Therefore, you cannot (in good faith) speak for every single member of your flock, nor can you speak on behalf of all Christians. Your opinions are still your own, and it is up to the individual to make a decision that you cannot make for them.

The world today is filled with enough intolerance and hatred, and is in desperate need of love amongst all humanity regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other arbitrary cleavages between humans. But this process starts with people like you, Bishop. Your ignorance will not only render you blind, but also the flock who follow you.

Sincerely Yours,

John Leung Chung-Yin

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