LETTERS: Accusation of discrimination ‘hypocritical’

Editor:

Subsequent to the initial Peace Arch News story regarding the White Rock Pride Society’s attempt to rent Star of the Sea Hall and the flurry of letters to the editor that followed, Mr. Klassen and his society are once again in the news.

According to the latest article, Mr. Klassen and the White Rock Pride Society have now seen fit to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal, alleging discrimination by Star of the Sea Parish on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Roman Catholic Church has never wavered in its beliefs and teachings on the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman, homosexuality, or the call for all people to live chaste lives, regardless of sexual orientation and it clearly and publicly stands up for these beliefs. These core values and beliefs stem directly from the teachings of sacred scripture and are rooted in New Testament principles upon which church doctrines and traditions were formed. They are also the core values of most other Christian denominations.

Whilst adhering to these tenets of faith, the Church also teaches that those who do not prescribe to Catholic beliefs must be, “ … treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should avoided.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2357 – 2359]

The church insists that all potential renters of its facilities abide by the following conditions, clearly stated in the rental contract: The renter acknowledges that the premises may in no event be used for any purpose which is unlawful or contrary to the practices, or teaching on matters of faith and morals, of the Roman Catholic Church as interpreted by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Those who have resided in our small community for any length of time understand that the Star of the Sea Community Centre (church hall) belongs to the parish. As such, it falls under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. This begs the question: Why would the White Rock Pride Society intentionally seek to rent the premises of a church they know does not support their lifestyle choices, other than for the sole purpose of creating public dissent and challenging an organized religion’s right to govern what they do with their own property?

The White Rock Pride Society’s attempt to circumvent the church’s rental policy under the guise of discrimination is hypocritical, and by attempting to try their case in the court of public opinion, they are guilty of discrimination against the church for adherence to its religious beliefs, which, in addition to the Pride Society’s rights, are enshrined in this country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ultimately, whether Mr. Klassen agrees with the rental decision, the property belongs to the church, is governed by church regulations, and as such, the church withholds its right to ensure that all prospective renters abide by its policies.

Mr. Klassen, kindly accept the fact that not every decision that goes against your organization is discriminatory. Other people and organizations have rights as well.

D. Maingot, White Rock

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