Kathleen Smith Headshot

Alberta Must End Funding of War on Gays

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When does the right to freedom of religious expression become an act of war?

Whenever Pope Benedict XVI opens his mouth.

In recent months the Pope has done everything he can to dehumanize those in the LGBTQ community and, by his actions, advocate for their death. Benedict has stated that gays are "not fully formed humans". He has stated that gays are "a threat to world peace". He has called gay marriage a "threat to humanity's future". He has publicly blessed Rebecca Kadaga, the Ugandan law maker who managed to push through the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda. Benedict has denounced gay adoption, stating that "no one has a right to a child" and children should grown up in a traditional marriage with a mother and father. And just recently the Catholic church in The United Kingdom declared that equal rights for gay couples are an infringement on the religious rights of Catholics and a form of discrimination against the faithful.

Dear Catholics: your right to religious freedom ends the moment those rights infringe upon the rights of others. The moment your Pope declared war on the LGBTQ community is the moment those rights should have come to an end in Canada and specifically in the Province of Alberta.

There is no arguing that the Roman Catholic Pope is the very portrait of homophobia, and although some would argue that he has a legal right to spread his message of hatred, the question must be asked in Alberta why our government is so willing to fund a school board that supports this hatred, this outright advocation for gay genocide. By what measure is the continued funneling of tax payer dollars to a school board with a curriculum in keeping with a religious organization that pays no tax dollars while spreading hatred world wide acceptable to any of us?

It's time the Government of Alberta addressed this issue. Because while Premier Alison Redford may show up at Pride in Edmonton, while she denounces the social conservatives in the Wildrose Party, while gender reassignment surgery is now covered by Alberta Healthcare, she is not addressing the daily issues faced by the LGBTQ community - the continued rationalization by those on the religious right that attacks on LGBTQ persons are somehow okay with their God, condoned by their church or by that picture of homophobia and gay hatred, Pope Benedict XVI.

Alison, your hypocrisy is showing. And we don't like the colour of it.

Furthermore, this government's refusal to protect gay students and teachers in the recent overhaul of The Alberta Education act is an affront to every person in this province. Their flimsy, myopic statement that education in Alberta "Should contribute to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment" is a bandaid on a cancer and is entirely meaningless in light of the continued war on the LGBTQ community.

It's time this government addressed the public funding of any private or religious school in this province that condones such outright hatred and lies. We as taxpayers should demand a complete overhaul of The Alberta Education Act, demand that our tax dollars no longer go to any school fronted or supported by or based on a theology that does not acknowledge the equality of all Canadians, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender. The Education Act is being used as an instrument to discriminate and therefore is not acceptable and contradicts the Charter of Rights of this country - a Charter that states all Canadians are equal.

Hatred doesn't deserve our tax dollars, regardless of how fine a garment it wears. End the funding of the war on the LGBTQ community.

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