It’s a Good Thing Pastor Wright Doesn’t Live In Canada…

Routinely, Canadian friends will point out to me stuff that happens there in relation to hate crimes, free speech issues, religion and so on. I just recently found out about this case. Now, the headline is absurd. It claims the Priest was ordered to renounce his faith. Well, if you read the article, you find that is not remotely the case at all… although the article’s author, Peter Vere, makes a “noble effort” to prove it really is:

In essence, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal is ordering to the minister to renounce his Christian faith, since his opposition to homosexuality is based upon the Judeo-Christian Bible.

This is not the case. He was ordered to write a letter of apology and pay a fine. But that is not nearly as dramatic of a headline.  The actual story is the Priest wrote a letter to the editor denouncing homosexuality.   An “Activist” was offended and submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal.  They decided the letter was not criminal but did require  he pay $5,000  for “damages and suffering for the “activist”.

These things amaze me.  It probably does not come as a shock that I consider free speech pretty important.  And the speech I want protected most?  The speech that offends and angers me.  I want people I disagree with vehemently o be able to express their ideas without fear of government reprisal.  The idea of the government fining people thousands dollars for damages gives me chills.  I have been greatly offended by things I have read.  I can’t say they damaged me in a way that I deserve $5,000.  If a letter or blog offends you?  Write a response.  Grow up.  Take it like a person.  Don’t run to the government to dole out punishment.

The thing that gets me is how many people want free speech for themselves, but do not want the courtesy to be extended to people they disagree with.  If you oppose gay marriage, I think you should be allowed to say that without fear of the Government knocking on the door.  People are free to dispute your words.  But the idea of forcing dissenting views out of the public arena, just because I don’t like or agree with them is distasteful to me…

While I think the article is absurdly over dramatic, at the same time, I find the idea of a person turning someone into a tribunal, merely because they disagree or are offended by that person’s words as morally appalling as the offensive speech.  It’s only a few steps between “them” being the offender in trouble and “us” becoming the offender in trouble…and tribunals and attempts to stifle “offensive” opinions just make it that much easier to become a police state…



Add yours →

  1. *sigh*

    You said it, man.

    The road to hell, as they say…

  2. The pastor in question was not only instructed to pay a fine and write a letter. He was ordered to “cease publishing in newspapers, by email, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” Keep in mind that the “disparaging remarks” that he previously made were simply a reiteration of historic Christian teaching that homosexuality is a sin. The “Human Rights Commission” therefore issued a gag order that Boissoin’s right to preach a particular Christian doctrine is trumped by society’s right not to hear that Christian doctrine. Regardless of anyone’s stance on gay issues, this ruling ought to sin a chill up everyone’s spines.

    Here’s the text of the AHRC’s decision. The gag order is at the bottom of page 5.

  3. And yet, he was NOT commanded to renounce his faith as the article claimed.

    But I think it is pretty clear that I opposed the commission’s decision. I didn’t defend them, and I declared it a problem. I was also critical of the person who complained to the commission.

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