Canada’s Collective Rights Must Be Applied With Collective Sanity
Canada, we like to believe, is among the freest societies on Earth. It would offend many of us greatly to think that, for example, we are a bunch of whinny-babies who go snivelling off to mama — or the societal equivalents, a human-rights court, or the court of public opinion — whenever we hear or read something that bruises our feelings.
Facebook, God knows (I invoke His name intending no offence, overt or implied, to secular humanists, agnostics, atheists, Unitarians, communists, or believers who take His or Its name to be Allah, Yahweh, Atman, Odin, Zeus, Wicca, Manitou, the Tao or the Force) is an incubator for ideas of every kind, some outrageous and offensive, if not repulsive. On Twitter, otherwise respectable Canadians, including members of Parliament, curse like sailors and trash-talk each other in the basest of terms.
So how can it be that, in 2012, a 19-year-old high-school student from Nova Scotia was suspended from school, for wearing a “Life is wasted without Jesus” T-shirt, on grounds this was offensive? And how can it be that on the opposite coast Wally Oppal, whose life has recently been given over to heading the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in Vancouver, has been called out for taking a bit part in a movie, produced by a friend, because some don’t like the storyline?
Google the young man, his name is William Swinimer. He appears just as you would expect him to: Clean-cut, fresh-faced, the kind of teenager every mother dreams she’ll have. He may as well have the words future solid citizen tattooed on his forehead. As young Swinimer himself pointed out last week: Kids at his school can sport Satanic motifs, a hip part of popular culture, without apparent difficulty. The Twilight books, which glorify vampirism? No doubt that’s OK. But an overt expression of Christianity? Tut, tut.