OHRT makes the right decision in backing Christian school
Christians in Canada aren’t winning to many battles in the public square. There continues to be a push to keep belief private and away from the political arena. This is why Justin Trudeau will not accept any Liberal candidates running for office that do not accept abortion, euthanasia and the legalization of marijuana. Faith must be kept at home and not inform a person’s politcal views.
However, a recent court decision by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has gone in favour of Christians. An Ontario same-sex couple went to Human Rights Tribunal because their son was refused admission to an Evangelical Christian school. The school doesn’t support same-sex marriage. The parents wanted the child to enrol in the pre-school program offered by the private school. The name of the school and the family identity have been kept confidential to protect those involved.
The parents accused the school of “discrimination based on sex, creed, family status and marital status, but the tribunal ultimately ruled that the school had a legal right to limit who attends the school, based on s(ection) 18 of the Human Rights Code.”
However, the ruling says that “The school has a well-defined and specific set of creedal beliefs, mission statement and mandate. The respondent’s evidence was clear that the school requires all parents to share these values if they are considering the school for their family.” So, why would parents want to send their child to a Chrisitian school if they reject those values and beliefs? Or were the parents testing the school to push the boundaries?
Readers may wish to read the entire article by Gabrielle Giroday from the Law Times titled “School can refuse admission of child of same-sex couple.” Quotes for this post come from Giroday’s reporting.
The decision is based on section 18 of the Ontario Human Rights Code which states that rights “are not infringed where membership or participation in a religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institution or organization that is primarily engaged in serving the interests of persons identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination is restricted to persons who are similarly identified.” So, in refusing to admit the son of a same-sex couple is not discrimination but just upholding the values, beliefs and interests of a particular group, in this case the school.
The ruling concluded: “In essence, this case is about whether the respondent can rely on section 18 of the Code as a defence to what would otherwise be discrimination under the Code. The respondent’s position is that it is a ‘special interest organization’ and that it did not infringe the right to equal treatment of services.” Forcing the school to take anyone that applies is to undermine the very principles on which the institution rests and is defined. This is common sense were we not in a climate saturated and blinded by political correctness. OHRT simply recognized the school’s right to screen pupils who are enroled. OHRT made the right decision for both parties involved.
Polizogopoulos is the same lawyer representing the Hamilton father, Steve Tourloukis who took the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to court in an effort to defend his parental rights. Tourloukis wanted to be informed about class topics that contradict his Greek-Orthodox faith. Lessons on such things as same-sex marriage, gender fluidity, abortion and homosexuality. With the information, he would then decide whether to keep his children home. The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund continues to raise funds to help pay for the legal cost of the case. A victory for Tourloukis would be a win for parental rights in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Polizogopoulos isn’t afraid to battle for Christian rights in the public square in Canada. The nation needs more lawyers like him.
Polizogopoulos argues that “If you’re a die-hard Liberal or die-hard Conservative, the New Democratic Party should be able to say, ‘Well, you don’t get to work for us because you don’t subscribe to our political views.’ We’ve got to recognize that like-minded individuals getting together for a common purpose or associating results in walls being built and people being excluded, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s discrimination.” So, true! And this right, maintains Polizogopoulos is what section 18 of the HRC is meant to protect.
This is the same argument that should have been used by Catholic boards in Ontario as gay/straight alliances, gender fluidity and a radical sex curriculum was legislatively introduced in 2012 with Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act. Section 93 of Canada’s Constitution and section 29 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms protect denominational school rights. However, the boards decided to side with the government (that’s where the money is) and the local Church has remained largely silent and uninvolved. Instead, there has been an effort to stop parents and pastors from fighting the radical sex curriculum. The OHRT’s ruling proves that something can be done to defend the faith, but we must be involved, aware and be prepared to take action.