Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OMG: Clergy Who Support the Rights of Sex Workers

Dear TNTer's,

You gotta love a world where holy folk are supporting the rights of sex industry workers and clients.  The following statement (pasted below) was released at a media conference at St. Matthias Anglican Church in Victoria, BC on June 27, 2014.

XO Annie

A little background...

34 ordained ministers and counting have signed the document. Most are Anglican clergy from Vancouver Island. The signatories are divided more or less half and half between men and women. It includes:
            two hospital chaplains;
            two professors from the University of Victoria;
            two Anglican nuns (one of them being the Reverend Mother of the Sisters of St. John the Divine, in Toronto);
            at least one priest of First Nations background;
            retired clergy;
            one of Canada's leading experts on people who describe themselves as "Spritual But Not Religious" or "SBNRs" (Dr. Siobhan Chandler);
            a divinity student; and, of course,
            parish clergy.

This cross-section of religious leaders does not presume to speak for their places of employment or assignment, and this statement is not a statement of any particular religious institution. That said, these individuals, by signing this statement, wish to make it clear that they are opposed to the proposed legislation on ethical and religious grounds. Their opposition arises out of religious convictions about the dignity of each human being, and a special concern for the oppressed and marginalized of our society.

The Rev. Bruce Bryant-Scott is available for interviews by contacting him at 250-889-8917 or by e-mail at bbryantscott@bc.anglican.ca .

    The Reverend Bruce Bryant-Scott
    St. Matthias Anglican Church
    600 Richmond Avenue
    Victoria, BC V8S 3Y7
    Office: 250-598-2833
    Cell: 250-889-8917

STATEMENT:
 
We, ordained ministers and laity of various faith groups and denominations, wish to  express our concerns regarding Bill C;36 “Protection of Communities and Exploited  Persons Act” now before the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada.  

We wish to make it clear that we continue to uphold marriage as an ideal and as the  normative place for sexual relations. We have great concerns about the commodification of  sex in our economy, and the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and men who are  sex workers.  

That said, we cannot support Bill C;36, for the following reasons.  

First, we believe that it infringes upon the human rights of sex workers to health, safety,  and life.  It disregards the issues raised by the Supreme Court of Canada when it struck  down the provisions of the Criminal Code that target sex workers. It simply re;inscribes the  old provisions in different language, and will result in immediate legal challenges.  This  does not further the welfare of sex workers, but continues their marginalization.    

Second, the proposed Bill C;36 will drive sex workers and their clients further  underground, putting sex workers at even greater threat of violence.  

Third, there was almost no consultation with sex workers or their advocates prior to the  drafting of this bill; the viewpoints shared in the online consultation by these parties were  not duly considered. The provisions of this bill run counter to a considerable body of sex  work research conducted in Canada and other jurisdictions. The provisions of the bill are  not based on evidence, but unproven assumptions.

Fourth, there is no meaningful provision to deal with the underlying economic and social  conditions that result in many people engaging in sex work.  This bill continues to  criminalize poverty, especially amongst indigenous peoples, youth coming from  government care, women with disabilities, and lower income single mothers, who are all  disproportionately represented among sex workers.  

This is a moral issue. While we can debate the pros and cons of sex work in our Canadian  society, and bring our religious beliefs to bear upon both sides of this question, we are all  agreed that this proposed legislation does nothing to advance the welfare of sex workers  and in fact, it increases the potential for dangerous situations. This is immoral.  

We urge the Justice Minister Peter MacKay, the Members of the House of Commons on the  Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and the Parliament to withdraw this  proposed bill. We believe broader, meaningful consultation is required for any future  legislation, not only so that it will be an act which will stand up in a court of law, but so that  it serves the fundamental needs of this vulnerable population.


Signatories!


The Rev. Dr. John Barton, Retired Priest
             Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Canon Dr. Martin Brokenleg, OSBCn, Retired Priest
             Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Bruce Bryant;Scott, Rector,  
Parish of St. Matthias, Victoria  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Reverend Lynn Cawthra, Deacon,  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Dr. Siobhan Chandler,  
             Camosun College, Victoria

Rev. David Chillman, Rector
Parish of St Philip;by;the;Sea Anglican Church, Lantzville  
Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Sister Elizabeth Ann Eckert, SSJD, Reverend Mother
The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, Toronto ON  
Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Canon Karen K Fast, Priest Associate,  
Parish of St. John the Divine Church, Victoria  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. William Ferrey, Rector,  
Parish of St. Columba, Tofino,   
Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Nancy Ford, Deacon to the City
Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada


The Rev. Deborah van der Goes, Honorary Assistant,
Parish of St. Philip, Cedar,   
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Ven. Dennis Hayden, Priest in Charge
Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria  
Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada  

The Rev. Susan Hayward;Brown, Priest  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Michael Hemmings, Priest 
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Ms. Gillian Hoyer, Postulant for Ordination 
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Rev. Shelagh Huston, Deacon,  
Cowichan;Malaspina Region  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Rev. R. (Rob) T. Hutchison CD, Priest
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

Sister Brenda Jenner, SSJD
            The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, Victoria BC

The Reverend A. Donald Lee, AHC,  Honorary Assistant  

Parish of Holy Trinity, Sooke  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. S. Edward Lewis, Retired Priest
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Alastair McCollum  Rector,  
Parish of St John the Divine, Victoria  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Dr. Murdith McLean  
            Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Victoria

Dr. Martha McGinnis;Archibald, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor
             Linguistics Department, University of Victoria

The Rev. Betty J. McLeod Miller, Deacon
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Mary Louise Meadow, Retired Priest
             Diocese of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Arthur Menu, Hospital Chaplain,  
             Vancouver Island Health Authority

The Rev. David W. Opheim, Incumbent & Director

All Saints Church;Community Centre  
             Diocese of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada
  
The Rev. Eric Partridge, Deacon in Charge
Parish of St. Mary Magdalene, Mayne Island  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Ven. Gordon W.A. Payne, Retired Priest
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Clara Plamondon

St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, Duncan  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Deborah Rivet, Rector
The Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan  
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Peter Shurvin, Honorary Assistant,
 Parish of St. Barnabas, Victoria,  
 Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada  
            Hospital Chaplain, Vancouver Island Health Authority

The Rev. Dr. Linda A. St.Clair, Retired Priest
             Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Michael Wearne, Retired Priest
             Diocese of British Columbia, Anglican Church of Canada





No comments:

Post a Comment