MIX
20 min

Individual freedom: we must move forward, not backward

Recent news has stirred passionate revolt inside of me: Catholic
students asked to support laws that criminalize abortion
.

Teachers at a publically funded Catholic school are asking
students to sign a petition that wants to reopen the abortion debate.
Some argue that this is a manipulation
tactic worthy of the word vile. That’s not enough for me. It’s a violation of
our fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Shall I state the obvious? Persons under
the age of 18 are not legally permitted to vote because most governments deem
that individuals under 18 do not have the necessary ability to independently
decide how to vote. The key word is: independently.

A person in authority, such as a teacher,
should not abuse his power to persuade his students into acts of lobbying,
whatever they may be.

This same school bans gay-straight
alliances initiated by students on the premise of being neutral to lobbying,
proving two things: a) hypocrisy, for they encourage lobbying that is in line
with their mentality.

And b) a lack of understanding of the word lobbying, which is necessarily
associated with trying to influence official bodies, such as government. A
gay-straight alliance aims to encourage understanding and diversity within a
school and is by nature not attempting to influence official bodies but rather
open the minds of those attending the school — students and teachers alike.

Furthermore, a woman from the Right to Life
Association, a lobby group intent on changing the right to choose in Canada,
has made passionate speeches to minors. Her speeches are drowned by words such
as “good,” “pray,” “heaven” and “Holy Father.” With them, she wants to shake
the laws in a country where Religion and Politics are separate.

I capitalize these words to make a point:
we know from history that whenever politics and religion have ruled hand in
hand, individual freedoms have been crushed, and religious pressure in the form
of Guilt, Shame and Sin have interfered with the freedom to live as you please, so
long as you do not harm others.

It is clear to me that this woman is
suffering from having had an abortion – a decision that most certainly turned
her into an activist. I am sorry for her and hope she can heal with dignity and
honour.

Yet, what she proposes here is to bring others
down with her: she made the wrong decision, so now no woman has the right to
decide for herself?

Is she proposing to perpetuate suffering?
What would she say to a woman who has been raped – I’m sorry, that’s really
bad luck, but you must keep the baby, that’s what I want, that’s what God
wants, that’s the law?

Democratically elected governments have a responsibility to all of their citizens. Indeed, in his inauguration speech, Stephen Harper stressed that
he was the prime minister of all
Canadians
.

Government has a responsibility to think
and act in a way that increases the quality of life of its citizens, a concept
closely related to individual freedom.

Government should not mix law and religion. The
two must be separate.

We just celebrated the 30th anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17. Everyone agrees it should be moved forward to enhance Canadians' freedoms and rights.

Having said that, will government really
reinitiate debate on abortion based on “prayer,” “goodness” and the “Holy
Father”? A responsible and strategic government would probably want to keep its
distance from organized religion, and for
good reason
.

All Canadians have the right to live as they
wish so long as their doing so does not impair the freedom of others. A
woman can choose to have a baby or not. A woman can choose to love a man or a
woman. A man can choose to be a man or a woman. I will be labelled radical
because I will be true to the philosophy of individual freedom, taken to its absolute, and say, A person may choose the
time of his or her death.

While I may personally disagree with some
of the life choices listed above, I cannot force others to take my stance: they
live as they wish; it is not for me to decide. I can argue, cry, scream, laugh
or try to persuade, but I cannot force
my personal beliefs onto others.

Democratic governments elected by free citizens must adopt this philosophy – we
would no longer be sidetracked by components of a whole, such as gay marriage or
adoption or abortion – instead, we would carry forward with a unifying thread/philosophy.

If we agree, as a society, that we value individual freedom, then it becomes
clear that abortion is not open to debate but is a fundamental right and
individual freedom
.

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