Around Town: Human Rights win, Numb, Laing Lectures . . .

Bethany Paquette has been awarded damages for injury to her 'dignity and self-respect' by the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has awarded damages to Bethany Paquette for injury to her ‘dignity and self-respect.’

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has awarded $8,500 to a Christian job applicant after finding that a wilderness adventure tour company injured her “dignity and self-respect.” The case gained considerable media attention in the fall of 2014 when Bethany Paquette filed a complaint alleging that Norway-based Amaruk Wilderness Corp. and its co-CEO Christopher Fragassi-Bjornsen had discriminated against her.

“The essence of the Complaint,” according to the Reasons for Decision handed down by the tribunal March 2, “is that, when Ms. Paquette applied for an Assistant Guide Internship in the summer of 2014, Amaruk refused to hire her in part because she had obtained her undergraduate degree from Trinity Western University (“TWU”) thus denying her an employment opportunity, and that the Respondents engaged in harassment of Ms. Paquette on the basis of her religion.”

Amaruk officials rejected Paquette’s job application, and also sent her several offensive emails.

Tribunal Member Norman Trerise stated:
. . . I find that the emails of Amaruk’s staff, including Mr. Fragassi-Bjornsen, particularly those of September 14, 2014, religiously harassed Ms. Paquette. . . .
I find that both Amaruk, through its employee’s actions, and Mr. Fragassi-Bjornsen have discriminated against Ms. Paquette on the ground of religion by harassing her for her presumed religious beliefs and declining to accept her application for an internship, in part because of those beliefs.
For the full 27-page decision go here.
Paquette’s lawyer, Geoffrey Trotter responded in this way:
Today’s decision is a victory for Bethany and for equal treatment for everyone, regardless of their beliefs or background. The tribunal has given a clear ruling that refusing to hire someone on the basis of their religious beliefs or because they attended a religious university is illegal discrimination. In addition, the tribunal found that the “vitriolic” rejection emails sent to Bethany also constituted “egregious” religious harassment.
Damages were awarded to Paquette in the amount of $8,500 for injury to dignity and self-respect, with $661.08  for reimbursement of expenses incurred in this proceeding. No damages were awarded for wage loss.
Fragassi-Bjornsen had not participated in the tribunal hearing since last fall, after he was denied requests to be asked questions in French and to have a security detail. A long, outraged statement dated from that time on the Amaruk website begins this way:
The trampling of our fundamental human rights, and those of other Canadian and European citizens, by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, under various legislation in Canada and abroad, has reached a scope and proportions we have never previously experienced in any other developed country.
The following excerpt from our October 9, 2014 article (by Lloyd Mackey) provides some detail on the content of offending emails:

Bethany and her lawyer, Geoffrey Trotter, have posted the emails from Olaf Amundsen and Amaruk co-CEO Christopher Fragassi-Bjornsen. Among Amundsen’s quotes – and Bethany’s responses:

  • “Unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.” (Bethany’s response: “My beliefs have developed who I am as an individual, but they don’t come into play when I am doing my job.”)
  • “The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life.” (Ironically, the Christian denomination that founded TWU – the Evangelical Free Church – has deep roots in Norwegian and Swedish culture. Bethany wrote to Amundsen that the Norse people chose Christianity.)
  • “In asking students to refrain from same-sex relationships, Trinity Western University, and any person associated with it, has engaged in discrimination.” . . .

Amundsen’s email was followed by one from Fragassi-Bjornsen. Among his quotes:

  • “Trinity Western University believes that two men loving each other is wrong . . . we believe a man ending up with another man is probably the best thing that could happen to him.
  • “But we do not force these views onto other people, and we are completely fine if a guy decided to go the emasculation route by marrying a BC woman.”

Bethany, for her part, says: “They had never even met me and never talked to me in person and they just assumed all these things . . . and found it okay to attack me.”

Following the March 2 decision, Trotter added:

Bethany has been vindicated and has achieved her objective of ensuring that her friends from Trinity Western and other religious communities don’t go through what she has been through.
The Human Rights Tribunal has sent a very clear message to all prospective employers: discrimination is wrong and illegal no matter which minority group is involved, and that as Canadians, we embrace diversity, which includes many different faith communities.
Trotter said Paquette is currently working in the far North running dog sled tours.

Numb in theatres

numbfrontJason Goode’s first full-length feature film, Numb, was a top 5 pick at the Whistler Film Festival in December, and was released across Canada in Landmark Theatres March 2 as part of the Canadian Indie Film Series. It will be running March 4 – 10 in local theatres.

Numb tells the story of a couple in financial distress who discover GPS coordinates that promise to lead to stolen gold; they must partner with a pair of mysterious hitchhikers to enter the remote winter wilderness to recover the coins.

Amy Anderson interviewed Jason Goode, a Regent College alumnus, about making the film; following is a brief portion:

Amy Anderson: What led you to make Numb?

Jason Goode: Any time you try to get a feature film made, you have to ask yourself, “am I willing to spend the next four years on this?” I first received the draft for Numb about five years ago. It was about a couple who had just gone through financial catastrophe and were struggling through that together. At the time, my wife Christie and I had just gone through a similar financial ordeal, so I really resonated with the couple in the film. I could see the temptation to venture out into the wilderness in search of something that might solve all your problems.

As I look back, all of my films reflect the dance of intimacy between people who are thrust together in a situation in which they wouldn’t normally interact. Those kinds of situations are always fascinating to me. It’s fun to play with those expectations, those characters and their interactions.

For the full interview go here.

Laing Lectures

Iain McGilchrist will deliver the Laing Lectures at Regent College March 9 - 10.

Iain McGilchrist will deliver the Laing Lectures at Regent College March 9 – 10.

Every year, Regent College hosts the Laing Lectures; this year the featured speaker will be Iain McGilchrist, psychiatrist and renowned author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

Following is a description of the three-lecture God, the Brain and Paradox series, which will take place March 9 – 10:

Over the past few centuries, argues Iain McGilchrist, Western culture has favoured a rational, fact-driven approach to analyzing the world, at the expense of a big-picture analysis that incorporates metaphor, paradox, and experiential knowledge. What are the implications of this imbalance for our contemporary culture? How does it affect our understanding of faith, truth and creativity?

All lectures will be held at Regent College Chapel: Where Shall I Go for Truth (March 9, 7:30 pm); What Brains Can and Can’t Teach Us About God (March 10, 11:30 am); and The Power of No (March 10, 7:30 pm).

Laing lecturers have been a distinguished lot over the years: Neil Postman (2000), Charles Taylor (2001), Peter Berger (2002), Margaret Visser (2004), Miroslav Volf (2006), Nicholas Wolterstorff (2007), Walter Brueggemann (2008), Susan Wise Bauer (2010), Albert Borgmann (2011), Rex Murphy (2012), Dr. Ellen T. Charry (2013), and Ross Douthat (2014). Next year Marilynne Robinson will be here.

Catholic-Evangelical Conversation

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Jeff Greenman and Jeff Salkeld led an encouraging conversation at Coastal Church.

The Catholic-Evangelical Conversation took place March 1 at Coastal Church, as part of the Vancouver Consultation. I was there to hear Dr Jeff Greenman of Regent College, Dr Ray Bakke of Bakke Associates, and Dr Brett Salkeld of the Archdiocese of Regina relate warmly and respectfully as they discussed a number of areas of cooperation and continuing distance between the two streams of Christianity.

I will address the event next week, when the video recording of the event is available. In the meantime, suffice it to say that the event was very successful – not least because I ended the evening chatting with a couple of senior Catholic priests (and Salkeld) across the street at Tim Horton’s.

March 2, 2016

Multiply 2016 – March 2, 2016 - March 3, 2016 at All Day

March 3, 2016

Preaching Out of the Rest of God – March 3, 2016 at 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Fear Drives Out Love: Living with Anxiety as a Christian – March 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Keeping Your Children on God's Side with Natasha Crain – March 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 4, 2016

Academic Symposium 2016 – March 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
World Day of Prayer – March 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Apologetics Canada Conference 2016 – March 4, 2016 - March 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Contemplative Practice and Ecological Responsibility – March 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Choral Tapestry - Our Heritage of Song – March 4, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

March 5, 2016

Lenten Retreat: The Name of God is Mercy – March 5, 2016 at 8:45 am - 4:00 pm
Aging Matters Part I: Soulful Wellness for Maturing People – March 5, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
MVA Seminar Series: Laudato Si – March 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Today's Modern Women of Faith Conference – March 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Brighter: A Night of Music and Talent – March 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Good Noise VIP Young Artist Concert – March 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Abendmusik: Lenten Vespers – March 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Mirror Dance: Caught Up in the Keeping – March 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 6, 2016

Abendmusik: Lenten Vespers – March 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 7, 2016

Preaching in a Post-Christian Culture: The Power of Imagination to Transform Lives with Dr. Mick Nelson – March 7, 2016 at 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Unmasking the Truth: Beauty Beyond the Pain – March 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A More Christlike God: A Theology Cafe with Brad Jersak: A More Christlike God - A More Beautiful Gospel – March 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 8, 2016

SAMC Graduate Art Exhibition: Retracing Social Practice - Opening Reception – March 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Gary Thomas: A Lifelong Love – March 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Steve Kaldestad – March 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 9, 2016

The Laing Lectures 2016: Iain McGilchrist – God, the Brain and Paradox – March 9, 2016 - March 10, 2016 at All Day
Art & Spirit: Bramwell Tovey – March 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Laing Lecture 1: Iain McGilchrist – Where Shall I Go for Truth? – March 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 10, 2016

Laing Lecture 2: Iain McGilchrist – What Brains Can and Can't Teach Us About God – March 10, 2016 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Laing Lecture 3: Iain McGilchrist – The Power of No – March 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 11, 2016

The Young Messiah – March 11, 2016 at All Day
Fan the Flame Cross-Canada Tour – March 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Tanner James – March 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Brentwood Concert Series: Musica Intima – March 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Red Light/Green Light Film Screening – March 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 12, 2016

Grace & Gene Fox: 7 Keys to Staying Well Married – March 12, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Journey Home: Seminar on Same-Sex Attraction – March 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 13, 2016

Jazz Vespers: James Danderfer Special with Karin Plato – March 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:15 pm

March 14, 2016

Understanding & Caring for Parents – March 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

March 15, 2016

The Inklings Institute: Ron Dart: C.S. Lewis and Bede Griffiths – Chief Companions on the Faith Journey – March 15, 2016 at All Day
Leon Bridges in Concert – March 15, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

March 16, 2016

Art & Spirit: Megaphone Magazine – March 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Allison Au – March 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 17, 2016

Erica Grimm: Salt Water Skin Boats – March 17, 2016 at All Day
Numb – March 17, 2016 at All Day
Structuring Your Church and Network for Mission: Webinar Featuring Alan Roxburgh – March 17, 2016 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Death and the Dark Side: A Debate on Assisted Suicide in Canada – March 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Gender Cafe: Human Trafficking – March 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

March 18, 2016

Make Vancouver Home: But How Do We Afford to Live Here? – March 18, 2016 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Sacred Space – March 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 19, 2016

Building Dynamic Prayer Friendships: Evangelism Training for Prayerful Ministry – March 19, 2016 at 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Intentional Christian Community Workshop with David Janzen – March 19, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gene Murphy and Friends – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Bach Choir: Bach's St. Matthew Passion – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 20, 2016

In Concert: Farooq Al-Sajee, Oud – March 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Laura Crema Trio with Bill Coon – March 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:15 pm

March 21, 2016

Dr. Ashley John Moyse: Book Launch & Public Lecture – March 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Streams of Justice: Faith & Justice Roundtable – Pushed Off the Land – March 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 22, 2016

Youth Kosta – March 22, 2016 - March 24, 2016 at All Day
Faith & Reason Lecture Series event: "Strange Bedfellows: Are Individual Freedoms and Group Rights Reconcilable?" – March 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

March 23, 2016

Art & Spirit: Vikram Vij – March 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Geneva Lectures: Dr. Martin deWit - A Christian Spirituality for Hopeful Earthkeeping – March 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Daniel Reynolds - Prodigal Son Suite – March 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 24, 2016

Peacemeal – March 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Good Friday Blues – March 24, 2016 - March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

March 25, 2016

Good Friday Service Featuring Rutter's Requiem – March 25, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Gospel Good Friday with Warren Dean Flandez – March 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Way of the Cross – March 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Peacemeal – March 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
In His Presence: Good Friday Worship and Celebration – March 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Poetry for Passion Week and Easter – March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: The Love That Moves the Universe - Bach, Handel & Schafer – March 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

March 26, 2016

Building Dynamic Prayer Friendships: 10 Week Intensive Training (Saturdays) – March 26, 2016 at 9:30 am - 11:00 am
Easter Egg Hunt – March 26, 2016 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Easter Sing-Along Messiah with Eric Homminick – March 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
From Darkness to Light: Holy Saturday Easter Vigil with communion – March 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm

March 29, 2016

Kairos Course (Tuesday evenings, two Saturdays) – March 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 30, 2016

Maria Gaudin: Life Among the Deadwood - Opening reception – March 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Adele Wilding – March 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

March 31, 2016

EFC Webinar: Worse than we thought: Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide – March 31, 2016 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Festival of Hope: Pastors and Leaders Dinner – March 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Dr. Dennis Venema: Why I Accept Evolution (And Why You Probably Should As Well) – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Love, Mercy & Forgiveness: Pope Francis & the Future of the Catholic Church – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tenth Avenue North, with Hawk Nelson – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Festival of Hope Launch – March 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

April 1, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 – April 1, 2016 at All Day
Vancouver Retrouvaille: A Lifeline for Marriages – April 1, 2016 - April 3, 2016 at All Day
Dr. Barry Pointon: The Human-Haunted Cosmos – April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Journey Home Community: Annual Celebration Event – April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Coalmont – April 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Paul Taylor: Mount St. Helens – A Message for Today – April 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

April 2, 2016

Church Library Association of BC Conference 2016 – April 2, 2016 at All Day
Gather – April 2, 2016 at 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Paul Taylor: How Old is the Earth? – April 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Paul Taylor: No Compromise – April 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Panic Squad: A Live Comedy Event – April 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
North Shore Chorus: Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle – April 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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