News From the North

I have written in this space on numerous occasions about the inevitable result of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States (or anywhere, for that matter) and the fact that if marriage is going to be redefined no one will be able to stop that redefinition at men marrying men and women marrying women. Once what has always been (marriage being between one man and one woman) is no more, there is no longer any legitimate way to prevent further redefinition. I have specifically warned about the potential for polygamous marriages seeking legal recognition, or what some have now started calling “polyamory.” Well, just across our border to the north our Canadian cousins are now seeking just that.

My Christian Daily includes a report today entitled “Polyamorists want legal recognition in Canada,” a report that begins with this statement: “A group of polyamorists say they want the same legal status as other relationships, following the group’s first national convention in Canada.” According to the report, “The group defines polyamory as having ‘more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved,'” and “[t]he group say they ‘live all gender combinations’, and are ‘queer-friendly’.”

This is incredibly relevant given that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today on two cases involving homosexual marriage. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The court was due to rule on the constitutionality of a federal law that denies benefits to same-sex married couples and a California state law that bans gay marriage. Those cases, argued in March, could shape the debate over whether gay men and women should have the right to marry.” As just described above, though, the decision will have ramifications beyond just that–if they rule that homosexual marriage is acceptable, they will throw the door wide open for an unlimited number of possible redefinitions of marriage. The Tribune reports that most experts believe it unlikely that the Court will issue “a broad decision proclaiming a fundamental right for gays to marry.” And while I agree that it is unlikely, I am afraid that I have found it difficult at best to predict what SCOTUS will decide on most cases, so I am not at all celebrating right now.

Then-president Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law in 1996 after it passed Congress with overwhelming support. Earlier this year he notably called for DOMA to be overturned because, he said, times have changed since he signed the law, and homosexuals should now have the right to marry. Times have changed in that homosexuality is much more openly portrayed and accepted in American culture, particularly in Hollywood, but at the same time times have not changed in that human beings, in their sin natures, will always seek to ignore, manipulate, redefine and avoid God’s Word, which has not changed, and will not change, and clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.

The justices are expected to meet just minutes from now as I am writing in order to announce their rulings. We need to be in prayer now and continue to be in prayer after the rulings are announced, whatever those rulings may be, because even if the biblical definition of marriage is retained today, it will continue to be under attack tomorrow.

Pass the pasta

You ready for this? In February, Quebec’s Office québécois de la langue française (Quebec Board of the French Language) ordered a Montreal restaurant owner Massimo Lecas to rewrite the menu of his restaurant Buonanotte because it included the word pasta as well as several other Italian words. In fact, the OQLF fined Lecas several thousand dollars for what CTV called “a menu liberally sprinkled with Italian words as section headings and titles for food.” Now, I for one rather expect an Italian restaurant to have a menu that includes Italian words, so what was the big deal? Apparently the OQLF was concerned that the word pasta might be offensive to French speakers (Quebec being Canada’s French-speaking province).

Laissez-moi tranquille!

(According to dictionary.reverso.net that is how you say “give me a break!” in French).

I realize I do not live in Quebec, and perhaps I should not concern myself with their laws, but the suggestion that someone going to an Italian restaurant might be offended by use of Italian words on the menu, even in a French-speaking province, is absurd…especially since, according to CTV, “every item on the menu was described in French.” Are there really people thin-skinned enough to stroll into a restaurant and get offended because they see the word pasta instead of pâtes? I surely hope not.

Now, this idiocy, which has been labeled “pastagate” and has produced an international tollé (uproar), has actually led to the resignation of the head of the OQLF, even though the fines were apparently well within the law as written. Not surprisingly, Quebec’s French Language Minister Diane De Courcy commented, “These episodes had an undesired effect on the businesses, the Office personnel, the public, and Quebec in general.” Ya think? The fact that Quebec even has a French Language Minister would tend to have an undesired effect on business I would think. Particularly given some of the positions the OQLF has taken on the importance of the French language. In 2012, for example, the OQLF made it clear that it was not happy with the increasingly common use of the bilingual, yet legal, greeting from store clerks of “Bonjour, hello.” At that time Louise Marchand, the OQLF head who has just resigned, “said she was upset that only 57 percent of Francophones asked for service in French if a clerk said anything in English, saying ‘It’s important for citizens to take the language issue seriously'” (CTV).

This is an extreme and, frankly, silly example of political correctness gone wrong in a big way, but the reality is that this is the destination of every path that limits speech based solely on the basis of the possibility that it might offend someone. Imagine, if you will, an America where restaurants can only use English; no Italian or Spanish or French allowed. English, by the way, does not even have its own words for many ethnic foods. Forget Taco Bell. It will have to be renamed “An often crisply fried tortilla folded over and filled, as with seasoned chopped meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese Bell.” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? The marketing folks would have a blast recreating the brand with that wording. (And thanks to dictionary.com for that definition of taco).

So here is my recommendation…for my Canadian friends, my American friends…my friends all over the world: if you’re easily offended by the use of another language, get over it–especially when the use of said language is entirely appropriate within the context.

I should add here, though, that I am a firm believer in the importance of a national language. I believe that English should be the “official” language of the United States; I believe all government business should be conducted in English; I believe all public school classes should be taught in English; I believe all U.S. citizens should be able to speak English. But that is an entirely different issue.

Alright, I’m done now. I need to go eat dinner. Hopefully we’re having pasta….