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)