Waking up to the news this morning I heard a story about a Toronto church group who spent the evening demonstrating against homosexuality in front of a house owned by a gay couple. Apparently this same group had previously driven a lesbian couple out of the same neighborhood.

A quick glance across local news feeds failed to yield a link to the story (perhaps someone will oblige in the comments), so you’ll have to trust me for now.

I think what made the story interesting was that the couple’s neighbours decided that they weren’t too impressed with this sort of organized harassment so they came out and demonstrated right back at the church group. The neighbours also called the police, but the demonstrators left prior to their arrival.

Now my first inclination was to try to point out the “error of their ways” to this misguided church group. Citing a few choice utterances by their Lord, (“This is My commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you” and “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” came immediately to mind.) however I think that instead I’ll go a little broader.

Fortunately for us we live in a free society, (how free and for how long is a matter of debate of course) and one of the things that makes our society “free” is that we have agreed that everyone has the ability to speak their mind, AKA the right to free speech. We even have the right to lawful assembly and the right to peaceful protest thrown in for good measure.

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What does this mean really? Well it means that EVERYONE has a right to tell everyone else what they think. This includes both White Supremacists  and  the Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Abortion and Pro-Choice, as well as supporters of all political, religious, or  cultural sects. It is not ok for anyone to say “We’re aloud to say what we want, but those who oppose us are not.” (Well it’s ok for them to say it, but it’s not ok to actually follow through and prevent their opponents from speaking.)

So I say good on the church group for at least having a conviction (however misguided I may feel it is) and standing up and letting people know. That is, after all, what we all should do when we see something we don’t think is right or is potentially harmful to our society. Stand up and tell everyone  who will listen. This is how one person can make a difference.

I also want to applaud the neighbours for doing the same. They saw a situation that they could not abide and they came together to stand up and be heard as well.

So there it is. In our society we have agreed that everyone, no matter how misguided or offensive has not only the permission to, but the duty to share their beliefs with the rest of us. What remains for the rest of society to do is protest right back when we cannot tolerate their message.

I wonder how that church would take to a demonstration put on by the residents of their target neighbourhood? It would be great to hear that story when I wake up one day soon.

Well, after some heavy duty humming and hawing I finally bit the bullet and bought a new laptop, the base MacBook Pro.

Small? check.
Expensive? check.
Better than all the lesser priced windows laptops combined? I sure hope so.

I’ve been a Mac guy for years (since University… ie. a really long time) and I have always preferred working on them, but holy geez are they ever more $$$$. But after going through 2 catastrophic failures of windows laptops in the past 4 years…

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But the price! Man! Why can’t top quality and inexpensive ever co-exist?

Oh well, I console myself by knowing that I have an amazing computer, and I can use BootCamp to run Windows 7 (when it comes out) natively for the remaining programs (Quicken/Quick Books) that refuse to be properly available for the Mac.

Time will tell if I made the correct choice. (but I’m sure I did.)

Well, it’s official. Vanessa Long has chaired her final meeting as the CEO of the Newmarket-Aurora Federal Green Party Association. At yesterday’s AGM the membership elected Alison Sanzo as the EDA’s second CEO (I retained my position as membership chair, thanks for the vote of confidence guys!)

Vanessa LongVanessa has been the guiding hand of the EDA executive since the very first meeting at Aurora’s Purple Pig back in the summer of 2005, and she was the first person from the party that I met when she delivered my lawn signs for the 2006 election. Since then I feel privileged, not only to have had the opportunity to work closely with her in the EDA, but to have fostered a lifelong friendship with this amazing woman.

Vanessa has that rare mix of unmitigated optimism and relentless pragmatism that allows her to reach for the stars and then find the ladder she needs to get there. Top that off with a pretty smile and a wickedly dark sense of humour, and, well, I was hooked, (my wife jokingly refers to her as my “girlfriend”.)

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I’m happy to see my friend moving towards her new (modest?) goal of taking over the world as an International Lawyer for the U.N. (the ladder is pretty long for that one!) But I’m equally sad to see her move away from Newmarket, to Toronto to be closer to her work and studies. Although if I really didn’t want her to move, I guess I shouldn’t have listed and sold her house!

We’ll all miss Vanessa’s wit and wisdom at the EDA meetings, and I’ll miss having her close by to bounce ideas off of, or to be able to pop out for a beer at a moment’s notice. However, I also know that the foundation that she laid for us at the EDA will serve us well to reach our new (lofty) goals, and that, even though she is no longer just around the corner that our frendship will remain strong.

So, au revoir Vanessa, je te souhaite tout que tu rêves.

You can follow Vanessa’s path to world domination at Passionate Presence