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Predictions -- Drilling down

Angry, I concur with your predictions. Particularly the one about revoking tax exempt status for churches.

I'm quite confident the Liberals will be quick to punish dissent from the multi-culti norms they have decreed, and a nice tax windfall will be icing on the cake.

It will be interesting to see how the disinterested public reacts when they start seeing tottery old bishops hauled out of cathedrals in handcuffs and doing the perp walk in orange jumpsuits because they refuse to allow gay couples to marry in their church.

Everything here assumes a Liberal government, of course.

First, no one will be arrested for refusing to marry gays. It will be more complicated than that.

I stand by my prediction that religious bodies, especially conservative Christian ones, and especially the Catholic Church, will be targeted by gay rights activists laying complaints based on bill C-38 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I also think the churches will fight back rigourously, in court and from the pulpit.

In terms of the court cases, I think the courts will generally rule in favour of the churches. But it will only take one or two successes (or ambigous rulings) to fire up the gay rights activists and pull the politicians into the fray. Once they are in, the churches will fire back in the rhetoric war, and figures like Bishop Henry in Saskatchewan will be recognized by Canadians all over.

But no one is going to jail over this...yet.

But churches will defy judgments that demand that their properties be made available for gay marriages. Then some politician will make the mistake of bringing up the tax-exempt status of churches.

At this point, and all this is speculation, there will be movement in the Roman Catholic Church in particular to call the government's bluff. They will refuse to abide by court or tribunal rulings, and demand that their tax exempt status be revoked.

The government will either cave or pull the trigger. If they are in a majority situation, they'll cave -- there is no need to fight this battle. A minority government, desperate for support from the NDP, might put forward legislation to modify the tax code.

Canadians are far less religious than Americans, so there's a fair chance such legislation will go through. It won't revoke tax exempt status, but will firm up the rules about when that status should be revoked (essentially, the churches should shut up). The Catholic Church will, through men like Bishop Henry, continue to push.

It won't be a politician, but a bureaucrat, following the new law, who will revoke the status. The government will try to hide behind that bureaucrat's decision.

This is where things go off the rails. While the tax judgment is being appealed, the Church ramps up the public relations attack. At the same time, some fool in the tax department is going to send a sheriff to chain the doors of a church (not likely) or a church hall (more likely) or some secular property (most likely). They might go through a few resigning sheriffs before they find one willing.

With invited media representatives in tow, a priest or bishop selected by the Church will go to the sealed property, chain cutter in hand, and very publicly snap the chain, thus breaking the law. Faced with someone defying a tax action, the government will have no choice but to arrest him.

There's your perp walk.

Every headline will blare "Anti-gay priest arrested!" or "Canadian priests being arrested for not marrying gays!" Of course, this is not true, strictly speaking, but no one will care. The Papal Nuncio will hold a press conference. The Holy See will issue a statement. Demonstrations and counterdemonstrations will occur in major Canadian cities.

The public will be split.

As a side prediction, and this one is free, some political analyst will make an ass of himself or herself by stating during a news program round table discussion that police should not be used to protect Church property during demonstrations because that violates the separation of Church and State.

The attention will be worldwide, as various countries look at this as a reason why the gay marriage thing is a bad idea. Canada will be compared to mainland China by the conservative American media.

If this nightmare scenario doesn't force the government to back down, a few more publicity stunts stage-managed by the Church will.

One the government backs down on this, the sense will be that there is blood in the water, and expect even more pressure to be applied.

My prediction ends here. Too many variables, too many ways I could be wrong already, too many possible endings.

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Angry in the Great White North by Steve Janke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. Based on a work at
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