All tolerance, all the time: Ontario judges rule not recognizing gay marriage violates Charter, British National Party councillor denounced for refusing to back “no room for racism” motion, and N.Y. passes women’s health bill requiring Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives to employees. Meanwhile, the NAACP says half of Congress fails civil rights report card—“failure” including siding with the NAACP most of the time but not overwhelmingly often.
The Ontario case may be partly a matter of Canadians being Canadians. Provincials are sticklers
for what’s proper and don’t have much perspective. Still, lack of perspective seems to be the way things are going—consider the civil rights, human rights and feminist movements generally, not to mention “zero tolerance” policies and the hysteria about “racial profiling.” In the BNP situation I think the councillor should have added some perspective to the situation by proposing amending the motion to cover other bad attitudes, disrespect for property, irreligion, lasciviousness, lack of patriotism, laziness, what have you so, and so challenged the Burnley council to put itself on record that there’s no room for any of those things in the town.
We’ve mentioned the New York legislation before, but it’s worth more comment. “Tolerance” originally had something to do with freedom of conscience, and that’s still the propaganda. From that standpoint the bill is a clear outrage, and the countervailing considerations are extraordinarily weak. The thought seems to be that contraception is health care, that it is appropriate for insurance, and that it’s an issue of woman’s equality. All those points are quite doubtful. Interfering with the natural functioning of the body isn’t health care. Insurance usually has to with spreading the risk of loss, which doesn’t seem to have much to do with a voluntary and wholly foreseeable payment of a couple hundred dollars a year. And contraceptives are needed only if there’s a man in the picture who’s intimately involved with the woman and very likely shares not only her body but her finances. It’s not at all clear that in effect taking a hundred dollars a year from the man, and perhaps from some third employee who doesn’t use contraceptives, and giving it to the woman helps put everyone on the same footing. Such, however, is progress.