When you're a liberal it's really hard to find a target to bully. After all, one of the sine qua non's of liberalism is avoiding offending others almost at all cost. The idea of being considered a racist, sexist, culturally insensitive or homophobic lout by others is the ultimate indignity.
Yet the urge is still there. Bullies by nature, the desire to find a group that can be safely pushed around must be overwhelming. And in our society there are two such groups: Orthodox Jews and the Catholic Church.
Part of what makes these groups acceptable for persecution is their nature. Both have value systems that reject the rigid egalitarian, homophilic and culturally relativistic principles upon which secular liberalism is based. Both groups are composed of white folks of European origin. Both are patriarchal in nature.
Thus when liberals need an easy target, one they know cannot generate much sympathy amongst the "enlightened" of society, they know where to go.
Right now such a conflict is occurring both in the United States and Canada. In the US it's the Obama administrations insistence on Catholic institutions providing coverage for birth control for people its drug plans cover despite such coverage running against the Church's principles. In Canada it's the fight the Ontario government has decided to pick with the Catholic school system in forcing them to arrange "gay-straight alliance" clubs in their schools to prevent bullying of gay students.
In both cases the reason for the fight is political. In the US, President Obama is heading into an election campaign with nothing to show for his last three years. He has not turned the economy around but spent the entire time blaming his failures on the Bush II era. He has ruined America's foreign policy and influence abroad, strengthening its enemies while undermining its friends. Even his crown jewel, Obamacare, has remained unpopular and unaccepted by most of the country.
As a result he has turned to alternative tactics. First he played the class warfare card with an "eat the rich" strategy. When that flamed out he decided to play the gay card by endorsing same-sex marriage in the hope that the Republicans would promptly reply with some redneck homophobic remarks that could be used as albatrosses around their neck for the rest of the campaign.
Up in Ontario, we have a different situation. We too have a leftist government led by a man, Dalton McWimpy, who looks like the kind of kid everyone beat up on the playground. After nine years in power, his inability to control his urge to spend billions of dollars on social engineering have brought the province perilously close to bankruptcy. He commissioned a report that suggested 150 ways to save money and promptly ignored it. Whenever he runs up against evidence of his incompetence he blames the previous Conservative premier. He has appeased the public unions to no end and wasted literally billions of dollars with nothing to show for it. People are getting tired of it.
So how to get around this? Well, like the wussy kids on the playground who is sick of being pushed around by the bigger bullies he has spent time searching for a kid even more helpless than him.
Now in Ontario we have two main school systems funded by the government. When the province became part of Canada both Protestant and Catholic systems were established to serve the vast majority of folks around at the time. Over the centuries the Protestant system dumped religion and became the plain ol' public system while the Catholics remained Catholic. This has been a thorn in the government's side repeatedly over the last few decades as Jewish, Muslim and other ethnic groups demand to know why Catholics get the government to pay for their schools but not ours. Certainly there has been a sizable part of the population who would like to see the government fund only the public system although that would require a change in the Canadian constitution. (!)
Unfortunately for these folks the Church likes the current funding arrangement but the Liberals just might have found the Achilles' heel that lets them bring the issue forward. Unable to run the economy properly they have decided to make Ontario a bully-free obligation and that the worst kind of bullying is the anti-homosexual sort. As a result they have announced a mandatory policy demanding that all schools create a club that encourages homosexual-heterosexual interaction and openness.
While this sounds great for the public system it certainly goes against standard Catholic values. The response of the Church has been to reiterate that they oppose all bullying, including against gay children, but they also do not want a club that accepts homosexuality as normal operating in their schools.
And McWimpy's response? The government pays the bills, the government gets to tell you what to do. And if you hold values that we secular folks don't like, well you'll just have to change them.
Now it's hard to have any sympathy for the Catholic Church, an organization which until relatively recently in history was a major force for oppression and intolerance. There's a certain sense of schadenfreude in watching them get pushed around.
But what's next? Imagine an Orthodox rav getting a call one day from the government and being told "You know those tax benefits houses of worship enjoy? Well we're only going to be extending them to those places that reflect Ontario's values of inclusiveness and equality so dump the mechitzah or watch your tax bill sore!" What could the response be to that?
Remember that for secular liberals religion is all fine and dandy as long as it doesn't have any values they disapprove of. Then we get lines like "People really believe in all that? Seriously?" and "They'll have to change if they want to be accepted".
The assault on Catholics is one that has to be watched closely. Being a bully is addictive and if the Liberals win this fight they're going to want another target to keep attention off how they're driving the province into the ditch. They won't go after certified ethnic groups no matter how egregiously those groups practice religious acts that violate Ontario's "values of inclusiveness and equality" but regular-looking folks with funny little skull caps? Well we just might be fair game.