Freedom of speech must be upheld

I am addressing the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's letter to the City of Abbotsford as outlined in the Feb. 5 Abbotsford News.

I am addressing the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada’s (ARCC) letter to the City of Abbotsford as outlined in the Feb. 5 edition of the Abbotsford News. The writer of this letter apparently asked the Mayor and council to force the Abbotsford Right-to-Life Society to remove some crosses and a sign that referred to the number of abortions conducted each week in Canada.

The Mayor correctly informed the ARCC that the display was not in contravention of any city bylaw. The Executive Director of ARCC, Joyce Arthur, accused the council of imposing their personal religious views on the population at large. She said that council had a responsibility to remain secular and unbiased and that the display may constitute an act of discrimination against women. She also said that the display was offensive.

So, whose views count? If something one can see is offensive to a person or a group, does this constitute sufficient reason to enforce its removal? For example, if I find the billboard advertisements along the highway distracting to driver safety and, definitely offensive, do I have the right to make city council pull them down?

She is correct about one thing though, and that is, we definitely live in a secular society – which society based on Christian beliefs would force taxpayers to pay for abortions? I would think that even the secular taxpayers would welcome some tax relief and improved access to medical procedures should abortions (like dental work) be user funded. Also, is preventing the aborting of a large majority of female fetuses (some parents would rather have sons than daughters) show discrimination against women?

So far as non-Christian women being offended that a cross in a field represents their aborted fetus, I say, “Get over it”. You made your decision based on your freedom of choice and, hopefully, you still believe that you made the right decision.

An unbiased city council approves or disapproves in accordance to the majority of values within the community – this is what council has clearly done. In a democracy, just because a certain group of people is offended by some word or action by another group of people does not give it the right to force censorship of the contrary opinion – this would amount to discrimination and the suspension of freedom of speech.

Jim Happer