That’s not what persecution means »« MS procedure claims its first(?) victim

Religion meets the courts

I would make a shitty judge. Don’t get me wrong – I look turbo-hot in robes. The problem I’d have is rendering a judgment that fits the law, rather than what I know to be right. After all, a skilled enough lawyer can make a case that a company that dumps toxic waste on baby seals has not broken the law, and my judgment must adhere to that principle.

The courts here in BC seem to be doing a better job:

Dissident conservative Anglicans in Vancouver and Abbotsford have no right to hold on to four church properties valued at more than $20 million, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Monday. As a result of the decision, more than 1,200 Anglicans who oppose same-sex blessings and reject the authority of Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham are expected to have to vacate their church buildings soon.

Dismissing the main argument of a costly appeal by the conservative Anglican congregations, Justice Mary Newbury wrote that the dissidents “cannot in my respectful decision remove themselves from their diocesan structures and retain the right to use properties that are held for purposes of Anglican ministry in Canada.”

I read the decision (a fun exercise in legal thinking that I recommend everyone do from time to time), and the main point of the argument seems to be that while the congregation does hold the buildings in a trust, they do not have the right to divorce themselves from official church doctrine. The trust is held based on the assumption that the congregation is defending the official articles of faith – claiming to be “true believers” doesn’t grant them license to violate the official doctrine of the church.

Of course, this is a complete and total waste of time from my perspective. The whole undertaking is based on the belief that an invisible super-being cares who puts what in which orifice. I’ll simplify it for you, conservative Anglicans: nobody cares. There is no super-being, and the only people who are outraged by homosexuality are you. My advice: if it bothers you so much, don’t do it. But please don’t clog up the appeals courts with your superstitious nonsense – some of us are trying to build a society.

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Comments

  1. says

    There are broader ramifications here, and I highly doubt that the appeal will be made on the basis of ‘true believer’ membership.

    That said, if the appeal is made on entirely secular grounds, the idiots conservative Anglicans have no legs to stand on:

    Essentially there is a giant club (named the Anglican Church) that owns a bunch of buildings, and the club lends it out to folk who agree that they will follow the rules of the club.

    If one violates the rules of the club (even if you’ve used the building, collectively, for 100+ years), you get kicked out of the building. This is part of the agreement of the lending of the building.

    This strikes me as an open-and-shut case.

  2. says

    I am not a lawyer, but the crux (pun fully intended) of the case seems to rest on the nature of the trust. The parishoners hold the trust, but that is contingent upon the relationship between the congregation and the ACC. If the congregation doesn’t wish to leave the ACC but instead wish for more autonomy than the ACC’s doctrines allow, I can understand how there might be more to the case.

    Of course when you look at it from an atheist perspective the whole thing is a giant, meaningless clusterfuck.

  3. Brian Lynchehaun says

    It really doesn’t seem to make a difference to me.

    Let’s say it was the Chess Club of Canada, rather than the Church of Canada.

    The CCoC institutes a new rule as to how certain pieces move. The membership in this branch says “we don’t want that”, but it’s part of the by-laws that failure to maintain the ‘standard’ of the CCoC means you leave the club.

    Perhaps I’m naive and over-simplifying things, but it really seems to be a case of ‘x owns the buildings, and y gets to use the building so long as they follow the rules of x. If y violates the rules: buh-bye, as agreed to by y when they started using the building’.

    The specifics of the club rules, so long as they don’t require people to violate the Charter, don’t seem relevant to me. I’m open to the idea that case law says otherwise though.

  4. says

    Yeah, but if the Charter adherence requirements aren’t made explicit in the wording of the trust, then you run into problems. If, for example, you (as the head of the CCC) entered into a trust with me as a chapter leader, but the by-laws don’t say anything expressly banning 3D Chess, I can make the case that we are still playing “chess”, just not as you understand it.

    I agree that the case doesn’t seem that tricky to prosecute, and I’ll be shocked if it gets overturned at the Supreme Court.

  5. Brian Lynchehaun says

    Sorry, my charter comment was misleading: I meant that the only change that you wouldn’t have to adopt is one that required you to violate the charter.

    As the head of the CCC, I could declare “we no longer play chess. Chess is out, it’s Tennis from now on!” and you would be obligated (as per our agreement) to change to playing tennis, or quit the organisation and building.

    If it’s *my* club, with *my* rules, and you’re in *my* building, and you’re here because you agreed to all of that… I don’t see how one gets around that.

  6. says

    Yeah when you put it that way, it does seem that straightforward, and your interpretation echoes the judge’s. She also called the ACC’s defense of homosexuality “anemic”, which made me grin.

  7. grassrute says

    I didn’t see the day coming that I’d agree with Brian. It’s a rather cut and dry case. In other denominations where the church building is built at the initiative of the congregants, and owned by them, it may be a little more difficult.

    Although I can sympathize with Crommunist saying this is a complete waste of time, this is a property dispute. A court must adjudicate the case whether it’s a church or a chess club.

    I think the fact that this went to court says something about both sides in this case. Rather than go to court, they should have listened to the word:

    1 Corinthians 6

    1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?

    7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? NIV

    If you continue reading through verse 9, you will discover that the ACC is condoning what the scripture condemns. (which has nothing to do with the judgement of course) They might as well be a chess club.

    Crommunist, you say you’d make a shitty judge. Congrats, that means you are fully qualified to adjudicate for the Human Rights Tribuanls in Canada.

  8. says

    Okay, this should be fun.

    Don’t go to the courts, go to “the Lord’s people”. Out of curiosity, who do you think are “the Lord’s people”?

    By the way grassrute, the scripture also condemns working on the Sabbath. Have you ever raked leaves on a Saturday? It also condemns shellfish. And suggests that disobedient children be murdered. And says that women shouldn’t be allowed to teach or have authority over men – could you please tell my boss (and the Human Resources department) that she’s not allowed to tell me what to do anymore?

    Your criticism of the HRTs would perhaps be more convincing if you didn’t think that not being allowed to discriminate against gay people is “Christian persecution”.

  9. says

    Grassrute, lovey, darling…

    Riddle me this:

    1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?

    Putting aside any possible nonsense about “they are not the lords people because they aren’t of my sect”, who should they listen to?

    The people in charge of the ACC are “the Lord’s people”, no?

    The people in charge of the local church are “the Lord’s people”, no?

    So when “the Lord’s people” disagree with “the Lord’s people”, who adjudicates? Bearing in mind that all the possible deities out there are strangely quiet on contemporary legal matters…

  10. grassrute says

    Crommunist: “Don’t go to the courts, go to “the Lord’s people”. Out of curiosity, who do you think are ‘the Lord’s people’”?

    Brian: Putting aside any possible nonsense about “they are not the lords people because they aren’t of my sect”, who should they listen to?

    My point isn’t to enlighten you as to who the Lord’s people are. My point is that the Lord’s people ought to settle disputes amongst themselves. In the event of a severe dispute like this case, the Lord’s people ought to be willing to “be wronged” rather than go to court. There are three reasons for this:

    1) If the Lord’s people can determine the difference between right and wrong, which they claim they can, they should be able to settle their own disputes

    2) To bring this dispute into the public light in this manner causes the church to be scorned as they appear divided amongst themselves. The spectator having this perception, may disqualify this group as being able to bring any sort of peace into the world.

    3) The love for God, His church and His people should dwarf, any love for material wealth e.g. church buildings

    All this being said, neither the ACC nor the dissenters are behaving in a way that is characteristic of the Lord’s people.

    Crommunist: “By the way grassrute, the scripture also condemns working on the Sabbath. Have you ever raked leaves on a Saturday? It also condemns shellfish. And suggests that disobedient children be murdered. And says that women shouldn’t be allowed to teach or have authority over men – could you please tell my boss (and the Human Resources department) that she’s not allowed to tell me what to do anymore?”

    Must I now get into apologetics? In a previous post I made clear I would investigate some of your concerns in the coming months. Your above comment is typical of one who doesn’t understand, or more accurately doesn’t want to understand scripture. You would need to understand the difference between the 10 commandments, the laws that follow and the ceremonial laws. You would also need to understand the application of these laws in the theocratic state of Israel at that time, and the application in the church today. I don’t want to tie up your blog with that now, but will offer this text:

    Acts 15:10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

    Furthermore, the command regarding women not having authority over a man is in reference to Church life. This in no way restricts a woman from having authority in politics, the work force or anywhere else. In the church, however, the men are called to teach and serve as elders. You may have trouble with this, but this is just one more way in which you can identify who the Lord’s people really are. They will have a child like faith that manifests itself in obedience to the word.

    Communist: “Your criticism of the HRTs would perhaps be more convincing if you didn’t think that not being allowed to discriminate against gay people is “’Christian persecution’”.

    I am opposed to discriminating against gay people. You have difficulty distinguishing between discrimination and not being willing to promote certain types of behaviour, or even speaking against it publicly. In the case of Stephen Boissoin, thankfully a qualified judge in a real court has overturned the decision of a shitty (judge) adjudicator on the Tribunal.

  11. says

    Well you brought up the fact that the ACC was promoting something that the scripture condemns – a non-starter argument with me as you’ve seen many times before. I put no stock in the scripture whatsoever, since it can be (and has been) used to justify pretty much anything by those who claimed to understand it.

    this is just one more way in which you can identify who the Lord’s people really are. They will have a child like faith that manifests itself in obedience to the word.

    Ah yes, the Lord’s people are those who rely on faith instead of thought. I’ve long thought so, and I’m glad that you agree.

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