CCRF Announces 2014 White Rose Awards for Religious Freedom
The Canadian Council for Religious Freedom (CCRF) announced today the recipients of its 2014 White Rose Award for Religious Freedom.
The award recognizes individuals and organizations from across Canada who have served the cause of advocating for religious freedom in the previous calendar year.
Recipients are selected on the recommendation of members of the Council, and the awards were given this year in five categories.
THE WHITE ROSE
The unique award is named for the White Rose movement, student advocates for democratic and religious freedom who confronted the Nazi regime in Germany at the time of the Second World War. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime.
Members of the White Rose movement – including Christoph Probst, and siblings Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl – were executed by the Nazi regime because of their non-violent resistance to anti-faith policies.
Categories and recipients of the 2014 White Rose Awards include.
- For Advocacy of Religious Freedom by an Institution – Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom (Calgary AB), for their extraordinary efforts in the publication of their annual Campus Freedom Index
- For Advocacy of Religious Freedom by an Individual – Vincent Samuel, Love Thy Neighbour International (LTNI), for his advocacy on behalf human rights and the promotion of religious freedom worldwide
- For Legal Advocacy on Behalf of Religious Freedom / Freedom in Public Life (Joint Award) – Albertos Polyzogopolos – Lawyer (Ottawa ON), and John Carpay, Lawyer, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Calgary AB).
- For Legislative Advocacy for Religious Freedom Abroad – Hawaiian Rep. Jo Jordan (D), who made international news as the first openly gay lawmaker to vote against redefining marriage to include same sex couples.
- For Integration of Faith and Public Life (Joint Award) – British Columbia’s Minister for Advanced Education, Amrik Virk, MLA, and Trinity Western University (TWU), for the establishment of a law school by Trinity Western University (TWU) which offers training for lawyers within the school’s Christian ethos.
BLACK THORN AWARD-WINNERS RECOGNIZED
Along with the announcement of the awards for advocates of religious freedom, the CCRF also announced its list of the 2014 Black Thorn Awards for Religious Intolerance, a series of semi-parodies recognizing those Canadian organizations and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to religious intolerance in Canada over the last twelve months.
Categories and award winners include:
- Religious Freedom for Those Who Agree With Us Award: For Canada’s Most Anti-Faith Institution or Organization (tie) – Three student unions have the dubious distinction of earning straight F’s from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom: Lakehead University Students’ Union (LUSU), York Federation of Students (YFS); University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS). All these student unions received ‘F’ grades for restricting campus free speech through both their policies as well as their practices.
- Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory Award: For Dumbest Political Decision – The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and its Chair Jessica Brennan, for shutting down the Board’s successful Interfaith Advisory Committee, which had served as a model for creating religiously inclusive schools. The southern Ontario board decided to shift its priorities to new public consultations, such as their new Inuit Advosry Committee. Said Board Chair Brennan to community faith leaders by way of explanation at a fall 2013 meeting, “We don’t need your input”.
- We Hope It’s Just Political Opportunism Award: For the Most Aggravated Opponent of Religious Freedom – Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, for her government’s proposed “Charter of Values”, which bans visible emblems of faith in the Quebec public service, while defending symbols like the crucifix in the National Assembly as “cultural symbols”.
- Memories of 1933 Award: For the Most Absurd Attack on Religious Freedom – Quebec Citizenship Minister Bernard Drainville telling Jewish families in the west-end Montreal borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grace—Côte-des-Neiges to move their cars off the streets during High Holy Days, ending a 30-year local tradition of religious tolerance.
- The ‘Hurt My Feelings and I’ll Sue’ Award: For the Most Trivial Ruling With Widespread Implications –
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for dragging resident Bill Whatcott to the Supreme Court of Canada to stop him putting in local mailboxes religious pamphlets that oppose gay sex. The ruling stated that hurt feelings should be the measure of guilt in cases of alleged hate crimes.
- The ‘What Do You Mean – Render Unto Caesar?’ Award: For Special Recognition of Religious Intolerance by an Individual or Organization – Yukon Education Minister Scott Kent, MLA, who forbade publicly funded Catholic schools in the territory to teach Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.
Contact: Father Geoffrey Korz, Chair – Canadian Council for Religious Freedom – (905) 318-6436