After the first committee hearing discussing Bill 13 in Ontario, it had become obvious that those who oppose the measure have either not read it, or are starkly homophobic. More than twenty people spoke out against Bill 13 and its counterpart, Bill 14. The bills basically provide protections against bullying for students, and in particular, homosexual youth. Some religious groups and parents are up in arms claiming that the bill will allow the teaching of homosexual sex acts in their schools.
The idea that the bill will promote gay sex or a gay lifestyle in schools is simply preposterous. In fact, when asked by committee members to point out where in the bill this was mentioned, none of the opposition members could. Some even blatantly stated they had not read the bill, and were simply against it because gay-straight alliances (GSA) supported the issue, and in one man’s words, “GSAs promote the gay lifestyle” and the word “gay” is synonymous with “sex.”
It is important to remember that not every religious person supports homophobic ideologies. The Universal Life Church is a non-denominational religious group that supports these protections from bullying. Not only is the Church non-bigoted, but makes sure that any ordained minister are given correct information so as to not be like the parents at the committee meeting who didn’t even know what was in Bill 13.
The Universal Life Church also promotes equality, protection, and understanding for all citizens, regardless of religion, race, or any other factor. With this in mind, the Church allows a person of any religion to get ordained online as a minister for the church, thus giving anyone the same power and ministerial rights that any homophobic clergyperson may have.
Universal Life Church Canada realizes that many children and adolescents are bullied, and they all deserve protection. Given the repeat occurrences of gay bullying that leads to beatings of homosexual youth, which in some cases leads to suicide, it is imperative that protections like Bill 13 be put into place. Religious groups who have spoken out about Bill 13 have made it abundantly clear that they do not believe homosexual youth deserve protection against bullying.
Religious groups do not have to be bigoted. The Universal Life Church believes that all faiths, genders, races, and people of any sexual orientation deserve the same rights and basic human decency as any other. Allowing any member of the public to become a minister by being ordained online is a step that we have taken in the right direction. Extremist members of religions should not be the only ones to have their voices heard. When religious groups make an anti-bullying bill sound like a sex filled affront to their children and beliefs, maybe it’s time to find a more tolerant religious group that doesn’t move forward on blind faith.