Deaton’s com­ments draw more crit­i­cism

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

As ar­ti­cles which have ap­peared in this news­pa­per will at­test, I am not a fan of the Bishop of Char­lot­te­town nor the Ro­man Catholic hi­er­ar­chy in gen­eral.

So, it would take the near-hys­te­ria of Richard Deaton’s seem­ingly end­less stream of ad hominems to draw me out of the wood­work.

I take it that Mr. Deaton reads what fol­lows as:

“2. Ev­ery­one has the fol­low­ing fun­da­men­tal free­doms:

(b) free­dom of thought, belief, opin­ion and ex­pres­sion, in­clud­ing free­dom of the press and other media of com­mu­ni­ca­tion...EX­CEPT the Bishop of Char­lot­te­town” (plus, I would guess, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, the Dalai Lama, a chief Rabbi or two, the odd Imam, and, well, Tom Cruise; and how about we add any­one who es­pouses a point of view which is eth­i­cal in na­ture, e.g. Paul Wat­son, for ex­am­ple, or maybe even John Stu­art Mill-oh yes, thank­fully, he’s dead).

Nei­ther the 1867 Con­sti­tu­tion, nor the Char­ter speaks of sep­a­ra­tion of church and state (in­deed, the 1867 Con­sti­tu­tion ac­tu­ally pro­tects two re­li­gious groups). We do not have the non-es­tab­lish­ment clause that the Amer­i­cans have in their First Amend­ment. And even non-es­tab­lish­ment has prob­a­bly been ex­tended be­yond its orig­i­nal lim­its. Two con­sid­er­a­tions. First, the re­cent Ir­ish ex­pe­ri­ence has pretty much demon­strated the ir­rel­e­vance of epis­co­pal pro­nounce­ments, (as Mr. Deaton points out). So what, pray tell, is the harm. Most peo­ple are not lis­ten­ing. (And for pur­poses of Char­ter in­ter­pre­ta­tion, it is cer­tainly not the equiv­a­lent of shout­ing “fire” in a crowded theatre).

Sec­ond, like many con­tem­po­rary groups, the so-called “In­qui­si­tion” was cer­tain that it had a lock on spir­i­tual and moral truth. How­ever, un­like those groups, the “In­qui­si­tion” did not care what peo­ple thought. No siree. You could think any­thing you liked, as long as you didn’t say it. Which puts me in mind of...right, Richard Deaton.

David M. Bul­ger, M.A., LL.B., LL.M.


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