PDF Transcript for Episode # 22 of Rebellion Dogs Radio - Toronto & The Human Rights Tribunal.
The tale of two AAs, one by our architect and Toronto Intergroup's AA 2.0 now with more rules and less love and tolerance.
Arthur Brooks (pictured) gave a February 2016 Ted Talk that demonstrates why a healthy society is a diverse society.
“It's not good enough just to tolerate people who disagree. It's not good enough. We have to remember that we need people who disagree with us, because there are people who need all of us…”
Now if it's true that our strength is in our differences, which of the two views of AA below, has a future?
Spiritual - not religious: Bill Wilson (letter to Father Ford, May 4, 1957)
“To begin with, the Steps are not enforceable upon anyone—they are only suggestions. A belief in the Steps or in God is not in any way requisite for A.A. membership. Therefore, we have no means of compelling anyone to stay away from A.A. because he does not believe in God or the Twelve Steps. In fact, A.A. has a technique of reducing rebellion among doubting people by deliberately inviting them to disagree with everything we believe in.”
Religious - not spiritual: Toronto Intergroup (GTAI) from tribunal filings February 17, 2016
“ GTAI, submits that … its purpose is to practice the 12 steps and practice a belief in God. In order to be part of GTAI, a group must be prepared to practice the 12 steps and thus the members of the group must have a belief in God.  GTAI also submits that it is a bona fide requirement that groups that wish to be part of this Intergroup must have a belief in the higher power of God.”
Is that the same AA being talked about? Five years ago, Intergroup cast out agnostic constituents, Five years later, it's judgement day. Be clear that no one has been found to be guilty of anything at this juncture. But as we've seen, newspapers and the blogosphers are buzzing over Toronto Intergroup's discrimination hearing and their radical, religious-not-spiritual defense. In Episode # 22 of Rebellion Dogs Radio looks at the players in this drama: Intergroup, AA World Service, the whistle blower and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
"The right to be free from discrimination based on creed reflects core Canadian constitutional values and commitments to a secular, multicultural and democratic society. People who follow a creed, and people who do not, have the right to live in a society that respects pluralism and human rights and the right to follow different creeds.
When we ask people to be tolerant of others, we do not ask them to abandon their personal convictions. We merely ask them to respect the rights, values and ways of being of those who may not share those convictions. The belief that others are entitled to equal respect depends, not on the belief that their values are right, but on the belief that they have a claim to equal respect regardless of whether they are right.” – Supreme Court of Canada. 2002
How did we get here? How will the Human Rights Tribunal assess Intergroup's discriminatory actions? How will they test Intergroup's defence? What's going to come of AA being before a Human Rights hearing? How can peace be restored to local AA and respectability be restored to AA as a whole? Well, we're going to try to cover all of these issues in a single radio hour. You'll be the judge as to how well we do; do we have the issues soberly covered? Oh, and we'll tell you about Symposium on AA History in Arizona and our visit with AfterParty Podcast in LA, too. So listen up and then have your say.
Links for this week's show:
HRTO File Number: 2014-18832-1 Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario February 17, 2016
Wilson, Bill, The A.A. Service Manual Combined with the Twelve Concepts of World Service, New York: A.A. World Services, 2015-2016 p 22
Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, New York: A.A. World Services Inc., 1952-2013, p. 131