In 2016 the Canadian government proposed a bill in parliament, which added gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act. This bill is known as Bill C-16.
The Library of Parliament summarised the bill as follows:
“The bill is intended to protect individuals from discrimination within the sphere of federal jurisdiction and from being the targets of hate propaganda, as a consequence of their gender identity or their gender expression. The bill adds “gender identity or expression” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the list of characteristics of identifiable groups protected from hate propaganda in the Criminal Code. It also adds that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on a person’s gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance for a court to consider when imposing a criminal sentence”
The bill became law on the 19th of June 2017.
All fine and well.
Enter Jordan Peterson, hated and beloved in equal measure.
He is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormal, social and personality psychology, as well as the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.
After beginning to experiment with YouTube in 2013, by uploading his university lectures, he became “YouTube famous” after speaking out against Bill C16.
His argument came from the point of view, that the Bill was essentially dictating how people must speak, as opposed to forbidding certain speech. He argued that by refusing to use an individuals preferred pronouns I.e he/him, she/her, you ran the risk of being charged for hate speech.
By taking this stance, he immediately made himself several enemies, especially within the LGBT and Media circles and he was quickly branded as a member of the “alt right”.
In our society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold, what might be called, “conservative” points of view. With society becoming ever more politically correct and identity politics controlling the direction of organisations and businesses, people’s lives have literally been turned upside down by uttering a word or a phrase that has been deemed to be offensive or hateful.
We see more and more people in society being arrested for hate speech comments on social media and public figures have lost their careers due to holding or expressing controversial opinions on certain topics.
Peterson took a stand against the enormous back lash that he received when he first took a stand against Bill C 16, and effectively has become a celebrity as a result of his stand. He has since then gone on tour across the globe, giving lectures on self improvement and taking interviews by various individuals and media groups. Many of these interviews have been attempts to portray him as some kind of hateful monster, because he holds opinions that have been deemed to be politically incorrect. Such as something as simple as men and women are different from each other and as a result make different life decisions.
Many people who have taken similar opinions or who have made jokes about politically incorrect topics, have lost their jobs, been exiled from society and branded with labels such as “racist” “sexist” “bigot”. These people are forced to endlessly apologise, which ultimately will never be good enough to be forgiven.
Peterson has been able to take a stand against this enormous pressure and has not only financially benefited from it, but has changed, by their own admission, thousands of peoples lives.
People who have been in very dark places within their lives, have heard Peterson’s lectures and thoughts and it has literally turned their life around. They have been able to rekindle relationships with family and friends, which were broken. They have been able to pull themselves away from the brink of a self destructive life cycle or ultimately suicide.
It appears that society has been crying out for someone with a set of values and lessons for some time and Peterson is changing how people are thinking about their lives.
This life choice took enormous risk.
To potentially throw away everything he had in his life, just to simply voice something that he believed in? That is bold. This took strength and courage in great quantity.
A Christian example of this is when The Messiah came to Earth.
At that time Israel was under occupation by the Roman Empire. Israel had been expecting someone to rise up among them, to deliver them from captivity, so that they could return to the glory that they once had under David and Solomon.
The Jews knew that it had been spoken that someone would be born to lead them. A new king.
- Genesis 49:10
- Micah 5:2
- Isaiah 11:1
Are all examples of prophecies that someone from the line of Judah and David, would be born to lead the people of Israel, as their King.
But when Jesus began his ministry around 30 years old, preaching that the kingdom of God was at hand, and that the son of God was here to lead the people of Israel, many people were not interested in taking him seriously. The son of a carpenter claiming that he was someone special? Who did this guy think he was? They didn’t see him to be this fierce warrior in which they hoped for.
However, Jesus’s actions could not be ignored. He made the lame walk, allowed the blind to see and raised the dead back to life.
This angered the Jews who were in the “establishment”. The Scribes and the Pharisees sought many times to try and make Jesus say or do something, which would give them justification to arrest him and have him killed for blasphemy.
Matthew 12: 9-13
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” – so that they might accused him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls in to a put on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
We currently live in a world, where a word or phrase that is uttered in the wrong company, can mean your arrest and prosecution. It can mean your life destroyed as you know it and ensure your exile from society.
Jesus was not only knowingly risking this fate, but was ensuring that he would be put to death for his words and actions.
He knew that the leadership of Israel saw him as a threat. He knew that every act of love, kindness and miracles, proving him as the son of God would do nothing but place him in danger, but he continued to do so, with the knowledge that he would be betrayed by one of his own followers and eventually crucified.
When Jesus is put on the cross, after his trial and mocking, he has the strength to ask his father to forgive the men who put him to death and mocked him, for everything that he stood for:
Luke 23: 34-35
“And Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others: let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, the chosen one!”
Jesus dies on the cross, committing himself to his father:
“Father, in to your hands I commit my spirit”
He did this to forgive us all. Including the people who outright rejected and mocked him for his controversial and religiously/politically incorrect statements.
He did it because he loved us and had the courage to die for each and every one of us, so that we might be saved from the sin which plagues our lives each and every day.
So it is, that we too should find in our hearts the courage to act, when we see and hear wrongdoing. To speak out against it, in whatever form we can.