08 May 2008 UPDATE: Christian Horizons Appeals Part of HRC Ruling
ARPA Canada [www.arpacanada.ca]
Christian Horizons, an organization that provides homes for the disabled in Ontario, has decided to appeal part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (HRC) ruling against them. Christian Horizons had to face the tribunal because of a complaint from Connie Heintz, a former employee, who had resigned from her job after she was informed that her decision to enter into a homosexual relationship was contrary to the terms of the contract that she had signed. She, along with all employees, had signed a contract which forbids extra-marital affairs, pre-marital sex, homosexual relationships, and endorsing alcohol, among other things.
The HRC ruled that Christian Horizons discriminate against Ms. Heintz through its policies and consequently has to pay her $23,000 (partly for the “the willful and reckless infliction of mental anguish”) as well as wages and benefits that she had not received for the 18 months since she had left. Added to that, the organization was ordered to provide “human rights training” for all of its employees and create new policies against discrimination. With this appeal, Christian Horizons has decided to no longer require its employees to sign the contract. However, it is appealing the other requirements of the HRC ruling.
Although further details and motivation for this appeal are still not known, ARPA Canada is disappointed that Christian Horizons has not appealed the entire ruling. It is important that religious organizations be free to require their employees to maintain standards that are in keeping with their faith. That is why this country values freedom of religion. Turning this into an issue of state-funding is not the point. Whether an organization receives state funding or not, there is no reason why it should have to operate according to the secular humanist values that contradict basic tenets of faith. It would be one thing if a provincial government decided to not fund a religious organization because of the quality of its services. It is entirely something different when a quasi-judicial panel orders a religious organization to deny its religion if it wants to continue to provide public services. Christianity that is kept private is not true religion.
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