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The polygamy trials have started in B.C. On Tuesday April 18, Winston Blackmore and James Oler were arraigned in court in Cranbrook, on charges of polygamy.
The prosecution will argue that there is no doubt about Blackmore and Oler’s actions. Blackmore has boasted about having 27 wives, some as young as 15, and 147 children. Almost the entire student body at the school in the community of Bountiful, near the U.S. border in southern B.C., consists of Blackmore’s children and grandchildren.
The defence will claim that polygamy was a legitimate expression of their religious faith. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution specifically identifies religion as the first of its “fundamental freedoms” for all citizens: “Everyone has… freedom of conscience and religion…”
That will be the crux of the case – does freedom of religion take precedence over the laws of the land?
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: Bountiful, polygamy, freedom, religion, criminal, law