APOLOGIA is a column in which I address issues having to do with faith, science, and ethics, and in which I try to use careful reasoning and evidence to seek what's true. Undoubtedly I will end up disagreeing with at least a few people. And probably I will make a mistake here and there. My hope is that I will show respect to those with whom I disagree, that I (and others) will learn from my mistakes, and that we'll get closer to what's true, good, and beautiful. - Hendrik van der Breggen
June 24, 2017
C16 and Forcing Your Religion
Hendrik van der Breggen The Carillon, August 17, 2017
C16 and Forcing Your
Remember rock band R.E.M.'s song Losing my
religion? In view of the passing of Bill C16 (a.k.a. the transgender rights bill), I think a new song should be sung. I title it “Forcing your religion.”
take U of Toronto psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's criticisms of C16 seriously
(which I do, because I think they're strong logically and evidentially), then
C16 will likely require Canadians to use a person's preferred pronouns.
have to say “she” instead of “he”; or “he” instead of “she”; or maybe “e” or
“ey” or “hu” or “peh” or “per” or “sie” or “ve” or “xe” or “ze” or “zhe”—whatever
is preferred as a label for however one self-identifies one's sex/ gender.
in discussions leading up to the passing of C16, Senator Grant Mitchell said
the following in defence of C16:
also the argument that transgender identity is too subjective a concept to be
enshrined in law because it is defined as an individual’s deeply felt internal
experience of gender. Yet we, of course, accept outright that no one can
discriminate on the basis of religion, and that too is clearly a very deeply
subjective and personal feeling.”
Here is Senator
Mitchell's argument (in favour of C16) restated: Freedom to identify as
transgender is like freedom of religion, so just as I am free to determine and
live according to my religious identity, so too transgender persons are free to
identify and portray themselves as such to the world.
think about this. Here is an insightful reply.
to the above argument at a later senate hearing, Dr. Bruce Pardy, professor of
law at Queen's University, states this: “Those are the equivalents.”
Professor Pardy quickly adds, “here's the one thing that people who claim
freedom of religion do not have: they do not have the right to demand that
other people agree.”
words, in a free society religious people have the freedom to believe (and live
as if) religion X is true, but they don't have the right to require others to
say they agree X is true too. Similarly, transgender people have the freedom to
believe (and portray) themselves as other than their biological sex, but they
don't have the right to require others to say they agree with what they
however, such agreement is implied by the preferred pronouns C16 requires.
proponents of preferred pronouns, by using the force of law to require others
to use preferred pronouns when they disagree with those pronouns, you are in
effect pushing your religion onto those others.
Oh, sorry, I meant to say Zheesh.
I've said too much; I haven't said enough.” – R.E.M.
Hendrik van der Breggen,
PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Providence University College,
Otterburne, Manitoba. The views expressed here do not always reflect the views
of Providence. For further thought: