Sunday, 10 October 2010

Freedom of Speech

In a previous blog ‘Pearls before Swine’ I stated that the Lawyers representing the students at Carleton University will defend their cases under 'freedom of speech' act. You will recall that these university students were charged and arrested for attempting to display graphic anti-abortion posters on the Ottawa campus. At some level I can understand the students' zeal for protecting the unborn. That is indeed commendable. What is less commendable is the means and method used to support their action.

For these students freedom of speech trumps any regard for others such as women who have suffered through the physical and emotional pain of an abortion. It defiantly trumps the unknown emotional impact such a display may have on a child. More importantly these students dismissed any legitimate abortions which may be performed under special medical and ethical conditions.

While Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy it is not absolute. Freedom of Speech is not something to be taken for granted. Canadians respect that the right to Freedom of Speech was earned on distant battlefields. All Canadians share a responsibility to ensure that these freedoms are used responsibly. Understanding freedom of expression requires not only understanding its place in the Canadian constitution, but also, understanding it within the context of society and society's competing values. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter states that "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." Freedom of Speech must be free of any hateful language and respect the diversity of Canadian culture. Freedom of Speech and Wisdom are inseparable and must be used inclusively. Wisdom tells us "Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. (Ephesians 4:29). Words filled with wisdom are full of compassion and produce a harvest of good deeds; and are free from prejudice and hypocrisy. (James 3:17)

Words and images have power. Therefore we must see our words with a reasonable degree of prudence about the consequences that our use of those words may have. Freedom of Speech is abused when it leads to actions with real consequences, such as endangering or impairing human life.

The origin of all trouble

Within this


Is a

Single word

Spoken in haste.

Shinto. Moritake Arakida. One hundred Poems About the World.

UPDATE: The  Catholic Register  report March 16, 2011

EDMONTON - The Alberta bishops will not participate in this year’s March for Life because organizers could not guarantee that placards displaying dead foetuses would not be present at the event.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, liaison bishop with march organizers, said the presence of images of aborted babies at the march is not consistent with the message the bishops want to portray about the dignity of human life. The graphic images “have started to become a predominant image in the march,” Smith said. Given that the Alberta bishops have been in the forefront of organizing the march, people could naturally assume that they have “given our blessing” to those images, he said.

Let the Alberta Bishops lead the way to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. And make childrearing safe, economically supported, and surrounded by a loving community that celebrates the mystery and miracle of life and that honors and rewards the parent or parents who have undertaken the difficult and beautiful task of raising children. The answer to abortion will never be found in taking a negative (graphic pictures) or a militant and reactive approach. It cannot be legislated. It can only come through a conversion of the heart.

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