Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kevin Bourassa, your rhetoric is NOT helping

From the Ottawa Citizen,

Churches that oppose same-sex marriage legislation have good reason to fear for their charitable status, a leading gay-rights advocate is warning.

"If you are at the public trough, if you are collecting taxpayers' money, you should be following taxpayers' laws. And that means adhering to the Charter," says Kevin Bourassa, who in 2001 married Joe Varnell in one of Canada's first gay weddings, and is behind www.equalmarriage.ca.


Kevin Bourassa wants to go after the charitable status of churches that oppose SSM. As a secular issue, I do believe in the free exercise of religion and free speech. As a theological issue, I don’t think religious rights were high on Jesus’ agenda, even though many Christians spend an inordinate amount of time talking about them.

Is Bourassa wanting to punish folks whom he deems as enemy? Is he simply being a sore winner?

I wonder if Bourassa’s rhetoric will jump up and bite him in the butt. The gay community has many friends in the churches, even the conservative churches. Such statements by prominent gay activists will only galvanize religious extremists who are already feeling battle weary after Tuesday’s Commons vote, drawing many others to their cause, and will terrify the smaller, struggling churches that are trying to do God’s work in the world.

If gay rights are being attacked, then the gay community has a right to fight back. If this is an example of shooting the enemy when he’s wounded, then it’s NOT helping.

Bourassa needs to take his win, celebrate it, and remember that the best way to treat a bully is to ignore him.

4 comments:

Mike said...

Kevin I agree that this kind of talk isn't helpful but I need to give you a little background:

1. The Ottawa Citizen is VERY Conservative paper (and yes, I meant that big 'C').

2. This story appeared on the front page of the Sunday paper over 3 weeks ago. So it's not a case of Kevin Bourassa being a 'sore winner'. These statements were made at least 3 weeks to a month before the vote, probably longer.

3. What you have is the ONLY attribution to Mr. Bourassa in the whole story. No context is given. it doesn't say WHEN he made these comments, it doesn't say WHERE he made them, it doesn't say to WHOM the comments were made. For all we know, he made these comments 3 years ago in a fit of frustration after a court hearing. I was not able to find this story in any other news source (on the internet or broadcast) at the time

4. This claim is in the first two paragraphs of the story. The entire rest of the story, speading to A2 and covering a quartre page on the front and a fifth of a page on A2, talks about how this was a legally impossibility (at least in the way Bourassa was implying), unless the churches knowingly violated the rules of charitable status (which apply to ALL charities, not just churches) of Revenue Canada. They could do this by promoting or politically backing a particular candidate of party.

So I'm not sure why you have only noticed this now, but I'm kind of suspicious. A little Bit Left had a post today about some churches in London Ontario threatening to side with particular candiates (namely Pat O'Brien) and spread the word in church sermons - in direct violation of Revenue Canada rules for Charitable status. This is starting to sound like a self-fufilling prophesy.

I'll keep my eye on this weekends Citizen (I live in Ottawa and I'm a subscriber) to see if it comes up again. I understand why you would be upset by this, but I think you should be a little skeptical. this sounds like a fear and uncertaintly campaign.

Kevin said...

Mike,

Thanks for the clarification and the comments. Very helpful. I should have looked more closely at the date of the article. I can't remember where I found it, but it was passed off as a more recent, post-Commons vote, piece.

As the kids in my church say, My bad.

But let me say this, if some churches are jumping into the partisan fray, then they DESERVE to have their charitable status yanked. It doesn't matter if its NDP, Lib, CPC, Marxist-Leninist, or whomever. Jesus shunned partisan politics and lived a gracious, love-based ethic that exposed the weaknesses of ALL political perspectives.

kgp

Mike said...

Kevin,

I whole-heartedly agree. And not to worry, I was a bit upset whenI first read it too, siting on my couch having my morning coffee that Sunday.

On a side note, let me say I have immense respect for you. Dare I say had I had a minister like you when I was a teenager, I may not have left Christianity. I really enjoy your brand of ministry. I would still go to your Church today, despite being an atheist. You are truly one of the greats. Thank you for all your posts.

Kevin said...

Mike,

Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

kgp