Last fall, Mary Wagner, a passionate and possibly over-zealous anti-abortion activist was found guilty of entering Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic on the morning of November 8th, 2011. That morning Wagner approached patients in the waiting room of the Women’s Clinic and refused to leave when asked by staff.
At the time of the offence, Wagner was already on probation for a previous mischief charge, and was already barred from contacting clinic staff, or being within 500 meters of a clinic’s doors.
Without a doubt, the actions of Wagner that morning were inappropriate, and criminal. I support her enthusiasm for the pro-life movement, but I don’t support her trespassing, harassing staff and breaking a court order.
Ironically the only real way to bring change to society is some form of civil-disobedience.
We see civil-disobedience happening all over the world, most prominently in the “Occupy Movement”. Sadly, the trendy hipsters at James Park in Toronto this summer were allowed to trespass, litter, have illegal fires and break many court orders. Local residents were also subjected to the smell of marijuana, loud music; public drinking and a general lack of personal security.
At the same time protesters were chanting Communist poems at James Park Mary Wagern was across the city committing her crime. The only difference for her was she experienced the full force of the law, and then some. Court transcripts reveal a tense exchange, first between the presiding Judge, Justice S.F. Clements and one of Wagner’s supporters in court, and then between the judge and Wagner herself.
After the man was ordered out of the court by the judge, the judge turned to Ms. Wagner and said “Ms. Wagner is smiling. You don’t get it, do you Ms. Wagner?” before proclaiming her ignorance of the law.
She then asked him to explain it.
“If you think that you have some higher moral authority that allows you to break [the] rule of law, that allows you to go to that clinic, to allow you to disregard the rights of other people to use that clinic, to disrespect those people, then you are wrong, and your God is wrong, because no God would tolerate that,” Judge Clements said.
“You are going to go to jail,” the judge concluded and sentenced Wagner to an additional 3 months in jail, Wagner was subsequently released May 21st.
I agree with Mary Wagner’s guilt, but the Judge’s ruling was completely uncalled for and repugnant. Would Judge Clements have told a Muslim defendant that “Allah” was wrong? It’s laughable to think that he would. Bashing Christians is a lot easier. And trendier.
At the height of hypocrisy in society is the singling out of the Catholic faith for its beliefs on same-sex marriage and abortion. The bashing the Church takes in the media is relentless with hardly a negative word spoken about Islam. Muslims comprise of 1.6 billion of the world’s population and dare I point out share the same views on same-sex marriage and abortion as that awful Catholic Mary Wagner.
Why would the Judge take into account Wagner’s belief system anyhow?
Someone who breaks the law needs not have their religious belief system examined or in this case condemned. Forget the comparison to Islam I made earlier, you could just as easily substitute Hinduism or Buddhism.
The Judge got wrapped up in popular politics and allowed his personal beliefs to influence the sentencing.
An appeal is already in motion by Wagner’s lawyer, rightfully so.
Just for fun let’s try and imagine what would have happened if the Judge said “your God is right, the law is wrong”?
Ah well… Just swear on the Bible anyhow.