The Supreme Court of Canada has denied a request for a re-hearing by a couple Hutterite colonies, which had requested permission, for religious reasons, to not have their photos on their driver’s licenses. The court did not give any reasons for denying the petition from the Alberta colonies, but it rarely grants requests for re-hearings.
The court had ruled in July that the provincial interest in maintaining a database, with personal photos, of all licensed drivers in the province, was essential for Alberta’s security. That perceived need for security was of higher value than the colony’s argument that taking photos violates the Second Commandment against making, or worshipping, graven images.
Comments about the court decision appear in numerous blogs and editorial opinions in Canada, most of which are negative about the Hutterite cause. An article in the Lethbridge Herald, the nearest city to the Wilson Colony which initiated the court suit early in 2006, apparently commented in detail on the final failure of the court appeals process, but the article does not appear on the newspaper’s website. A blog post quotes the attorney for the colony, Greg Senda of Lethbridge, which appeared in the printed version of the Herald article: “Now they’ll have to decide how they can continue to adhere to their faith….They now have to [reach] down deep in their souls and decide what to do.”