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Gay Columnist Writes - "Wrong To Fire Someone Who Says Being Gay Is A Sin"

Openly Gay Columnist Adam Zivo (picture below) writes

"Liberal democracies, and pluralistic societies more generally, must balance competing rights and interests, such as LGBTQ rights and religious liberty " oped below

In January, Ryerson University erupted into yet another scandal when Jonathan Bradley, a journalism student, lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), in response to alleged discrimination against his strict Catholic beliefs. Bradley’s complaint was aimed at the Eyeopener, an independent student newspaper that fired him from a volunteer position over tweets that called homosexuality a sin.

This week, the case was settled in his favour — as it should have been. Though Bradley’s tweets were offensive to many, they were a legitimate expression of his religious beliefs. While religious liberty is sometimes abused to victimize LGBTQ people, it is nonetheless a crucial right — an individual’s religion, or absence of, is as intrinsic to a person’s being as one’s sexual orientation or gender expression.

Bradley’s conflict with the Eyeopener began in March 2020, when he published an article in the Post Millennial characterizing the diversity and inclusion offices at Canadian universities as hotbeds of radicalism.

The Eyeopener subsequently asked Bradley not to attend an upcoming volunteer pub night, believing that his presence would make others feel unsafe. Bradley was also barred from writing about diversity and inclusion for the Eyeopener, and was told that he would be unwelcome at future pub nights if he continued to write about the topic in other forums.

In June 2020, a fellow student tweeted that Bradley was a bigot and shared old tweets of his, written in 2017, in which, in the context of a debate on religious belief, he stated that the Bible considered homosexuality and “transvestitism” a sin. Once aware of these tweets, the Eyeopener fired him.

When Bradley filed his complaint with the HRTO months later, it fomented a hurricane of drama. He was denounced by other students, as well as several Ryerson professors. In March 2021, both the chair and undergraduate director of the Ryerson School of Journalism resigned .

This week, after almost a year of adjudication at the HRTO, a settlement was reached. According to Bradley , the Eyeopener issued a letter of regret, which has not yet been made public. (more in reply)

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by Anonymousreply 24November 1, 2021 3:48 PM

The HRTO settlement seems reasonable — Bradley was, after all, simply expressing a commonplace interpretation of his religion. Catholicism considers LGBTQ people to be sinful, and while this may not be a pleasant thing for many to hear, myself included, you can’t expect people to lie about their religion or bar them from publicly discussing it.

What matters is what people do with those beliefs. Do they weaponize them to undermine other peoples’ liberties and safety? If yes, that’s inappropriate, but Bradley was not doing that — the simple expression of religious belief is not a call to violence or oppression. If it were, we would have to sanction many of Canada’s priests, imams and rabbis.

Bradley reached out to me over the summer and we had coffee one afternoon. As a gay atheist, I disagree with his beliefs — it can be weird to sit with someone whose religiosity dictates that your existence is a sin — but he showed no inclination to impose his religion on others, and our conversation was constructive and mutually respectful.

Historically speaking, LGBTQ activism has often overcome religious opposition by advocating for peaceful co-existence and mutual non-interference — let everyone be as they are, and let tensions recede behind a shared public commitment to humanism and pluralism.

This approach has been fairly effective, because the devout are more inclined to accept LGBTQ people if they feel that their personal beliefs can be left alone. For example, a focus on pluralism and mutual respect allowed Utah, a highly conservative and religious state, to pass robust pro-LGBTQ legislation in 2015, including protections against employment discrimination.

Unfortunately, many anti-LGBTQ activists argue that coexistence is impossible and that LGBTQ people necessarily pose an existential threat to religion. With sad irony, Bradley’s critics have unwittingly been a gift to them (and that’s before factoring in the terrible optics of losing a human rights case). (more in reply)

by Anonymousreply 1October 21, 2021 1:22 AM

It is understandable that LGBTQ people are sensitive about religious criticism, but when they penalize relatively innocuous expressions of belief, as happened in Bradley’s case, they validate their opponents and undermine the long-term stability of their own rights.

Bradley’s critics should calm down, toughen up and find more constructive ways to engage. Most of the world is religious, and much of it is unfriendly to LGBTQ people, so learning how to diplomatically navigate these kinds of conversations is crucial.

Some might say that they’re unable to do this because, in their view, mere proximity to people like Bradley makes them feel “unsafe.” This is ludicrous. Previous generations of LGBTQ Canadians showed resilience and confidence in the face of physical violence and widespread scorn (as do many LGBTQ activists in the developing world today).

In contrast, the performative self-infantilization embraced by many contemporary Canadian LGBTQ youth (and their allies) is embarrassing. When did huge swathes of my community become so delicate? When did they lose the strength to shrug off minor slights for the sake of larger goals?

It is also disappointing to see this fragility coming from journalism students, who must learn how to engage with people of different viewpoints, even uncomfortable ones. How do you report on the world while coddled in a bubble? If someone like Bradley makes these students feel unsafe, it’s hard to imagine how any of them would end up as foreign correspondents in less progressive countries.

Liberal democracies, and pluralistic societies more generally, must balance competing rights and interests, such as LGBTQ rights and religious liberty . That can be uncomfortable, but discomfort is part of the process. Avoiding discomfort by sanctioning personal religious beliefs only fuels culture war rhetoric, which benefits no one.

by Anonymousreply 2October 21, 2021 1:23 AM

[quote]Catholicism considers LGBTQ people to be sinful,

No, it doesn't. It is the act, not the person, that is considered a sin. He's a dumbass.

by Anonymousreply 3October 21, 2021 1:26 AM

Bradley has major gayface

by Anonymousreply 4October 21, 2021 1:27 AM

It depends. If it's some factory worker with outdated religious beliefs then no, don't fire the person, unless he or she is harassing gay people in the workplace. That sort of person has no influence in society. On the other hand, someone who has a prominent position - university professor, teacher, doctor, then yes, fire them.

by Anonymousreply 5October 21, 2021 1:43 AM

If you can't fire someone for stating things like this about gay people than you can't fire someone for making racist comments.

If you think any differently then you obviously consider gay people to be second class citizens.

by Anonymousreply 6October 21, 2021 1:49 AM

[quote] If you think any differently then you obviously consider gay people to be second class citizens.

But the author of this op-ed is GAY!

by Anonymousreply 7October 21, 2021 1:52 AM

There are good bigots and bad bigots, as I understand Trump, the Supremes, etc.

by Anonymousreply 8October 21, 2021 2:02 AM

R8, The Supremes! The Supremes? Haven’t we been good to you?

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by Anonymousreply 9October 21, 2021 2:10 AM

[quote]But the author of this op-ed is GAY!

And?

by Anonymousreply 10October 21, 2021 2:19 AM

I wonder what the newspaper and faculty's reaction would have been had the journalism student been Muslim and, say, made remarks about a woman's place in society in light of his religious beliefs?

by Anonymousreply 11October 21, 2021 2:21 AM

R6) Right on the money

by Anonymousreply 12October 21, 2021 2:21 AM

[quote]an individual’s religion, or absence of, is as intrinsic to a person’s being as one’s sexual orientation...

The former is a choice, the latter is not. The Op-ed is an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 13October 21, 2021 2:27 AM

really?

by Anonymousreply 14October 21, 2021 10:13 PM

This guy really is a moron.

by Anonymousreply 15October 21, 2021 10:15 PM

Did Andrew Sullivan milky loads write this?

by Anonymousreply 16October 21, 2021 10:16 PM

We need to get rid of religious liberty in terms of the law. People can still pretend their god exists in their own home. But, like trans people and furries, etc., they have no right to make normal sane people believe in their fantasy.

by Anonymousreply 17October 22, 2021 3:47 AM

R17, you are a bigoted fascist, a threat to liberty

by Anonymousreply 18October 22, 2021 3:50 AM

another white fag white fag-ing

by Anonymousreply 19October 22, 2021 3:54 AM

R17, the religious nuts you make fun of probably share your views on trans people

by Anonymousreply 20October 25, 2021 1:25 AM

I'm so glad I walked away from Catholicism way back when. You know, around the time it was discovered the church was covering up abuse of kids - that shot their credibility to shit.

by Anonymousreply 21October 25, 2021 1:38 AM

-anyone else?

by Anonymousreply 22November 1, 2021 3:30 PM

Adam Zivo is hot.

But people should not express "being gay is a sin" in the workplace.

by Anonymousreply 23November 1, 2021 3:35 PM

The I feel unsafe stuff is bullshit.

The manifestation of personal beliefs as punitive outcomes at workplaces is not right. Otherwise, I'm not terribly fussed about people who think I am sinful. As a result I think they're stupid. Moving on...

by Anonymousreply 24November 1, 2021 3:48 PM
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