Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"If you could see her through my eyes . . . 

. . . she wouldn't look Jewish at all" -- Joel Grey in Cabaret.
I just wanted to remind everybody else that once upon a time, anti-semitism was pretty common. I myself was reminded of it when I read the gratuitously bigoted language in this Canadian Press story.
So here is a test.
See if you can figure out which word I have replaced in this news story:
Cotler might amend Jewish bill
. . . [Justice Minister Cotler said] it's beyond his legal reach to protect provincial marriage commissioners or religious organizations who turn away Jewish couples . . . "That's right," Cotler said, when asked if his hands are tied by jurisdictional limits. Ottawa has the authority to define marriage, but provinces have the power to solemnize weddings. A range of conflicts has already emerged. Human rights challenges are underway in cases where religious groups refused to rent halls for Jewish celebrations. Marriage commissioners in several provinces, including Manitoba and B.C., have stepped down after receiving provincial orders to perform Jewish weddings against their beliefs. A couple in Prince Edward Island shut down their bed-breakfast rather than rent a room to a Jewish couple. "These are very significant issues," says Conservative justice critic Vic Toews, a vocal opponent of the bill. "We are opening up a Pandora's box, and this minister has steadfastly refused (to concede) that there are any problems." . . . The bill is expected to pass the Commons in a vote as early as next week . . . If it becomes law, Canada would be just the third country in the world after the Netherlands and Belgium to legalize Jewish marriage. Toews and other critics say crucial details must be worked out before the bill is enshrined in law. He says Cotler must "deal with each of the provinces in terms of enacting corresponding legislation that will protect religious organizations and those who object to Jewish marriage for reasons of conscience." Derek Rogusky, spokesman for Focus on the Family Canada, says those who oppose Jewish weddings are uneasy. "Faith-based groups are not all that confident if their rights are going to be left up to the courts," said the senior vice-president of the conservative family values group. Equality protections tend to trump religious freedoms in legal fights over Jewish rights, he said. The divisive debate continues to expose deep rifts among political parties and Canadians in general. Nearly three dozen Liberals are against changing the definition of marriage to allow Jewish weddings. Former Liberal Pat O'Brien's decision this week to bolt the party because of his concerns about the bill pushed the minority government to consider amendments. Cotler says any changes must be consistent with the need to balance equality rights and religious freedom. Still, he supports the bill as it is and suggested there will be little more than tinkering with language to calm fears over its impact.

Sorta jumps out at you, doesn't it?

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