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Canadian Catholic magazine faces legal attack for criticizing homosexuals

Toronto, Jan 14, 2008 / 01:52 pm (CNA).- A Catholic magazine in Canada faces severe legal attack and possible censorship after a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleged it made derogatory comments about homosexuals.

In February 2007 Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that Catholic Insight had targeted homosexuals as a powerful menace and innately evil, claiming it used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.”

Catholic Insight responded to these charges in its January 2008 issue, saying the complaint consists of “three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context.” Catholic Insight continued, saying, “these isolated quotes are not meaningful without the contexts of the articles themselves from which they were culled; in fact, most of them are even out of context from the sentences from which they were taken.”

“C.I. regards all of these charges as unfounded and made with the intent to harass. It intends to defend itself vigorously should the CHRC proceed. The magazine has continually emphasized that, with the respect to homosexual activity, it follows the guidance of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has made clear that persons with same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity and that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

The magazine also reiterated its support for Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, noting its long-time coverage of the political manifestations of the issue. “From its beginning in 1993, the magazine has traced and exposed homosexual activists for their attacks against Christians defending the traditional order in law and society and their use of derogatory language against all who stand in their way,” the magazine said.

The human rights complaints process in Canada currently funds the legal costs of complainants, but defendants must pay for expenses out of pocket. Rules of evidence for criminal court proceedings are also not followed in human rights hearings.

Catholic Insight said that the complainant Wells had also sought to shut down other websites, and had targeted Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party. The magazine reported Gray’s claims that in his conversations with the CHRC, an official of the agency had admitted to him that the Human Rights Act is about censorship.

Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said he never imagined the human rights commissions would be used to undermine freedom of speech. He said that acting as censors was “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions.”

In a Catholic Insight editorial, the magazine said, “Today, Catholic Insight magazine has also become a victim of the new anti-religion. We, too, have been denounced to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa for speaking out against the activists who agitated for adding so-called sexual orientation to the Hate Crimes Act in 2003 and the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in 2005. The politically correct activists brook no opposition.”

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I've heard about this law in Canada. I don't know enough if it is truly being used as a vehicle for anti-religious discrimination, or if it is being used to combat hate-speech. Is there anyone from Canada or who is otherwise knowledgeable about this who can comment?

-- John

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Having lived in Canada for nearly 30 years, I'm happy to tell anyone that the same law was used to prevent the dissemination of Jack Chick's outrageous anti-Catholic "literature". The law against propagating hate for people does have teeth.

Fr. Serge

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I am sorry, but no law should be made that limits free speech.

The Catholic Magazine and Jack Chick both have the inaleinable human right to free soeech, and this includes the dispersal of their ideas.


This is where I stand.

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In the case of Chick, his stuff is slanderous and libelous, so although he should have a right of free speech, he should not be able to repeat falsehoods over and over again. We are not talking about doctinal differences, but false stories about the Catholics & the Catholic Church.

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Canada is not the USA, and has a different Constitution and different laws. Among other things, Canada gives the government a stronger power to restrict what is determined to be hate "literature" and the like. There is no point in telling Canada what laws she ought to have, especially for those of us who are not in any sense Canadians. The Canadians surely have the right to determine these matters for themselves.

If Chick's rantings and ravings are not hate "literature", then the term has no meaning. Those who live in the USA are free to purchase the complete set of his garbage and make up their own minds!

Each system - and I have lived under both - has its advantages and disadvantages. Neither Constitution is given by God, so like every human product, the Constitutions are capable of error. But I find Canada a civilized and enjoyable country.

Fr. Serge

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With regards, though, if the Government has such a right, it also has the right to restrict Catholic teaching on Homosexuality.

In both cases, I'd say it is simpler, easier, and more just tp allow a madman like Jack Chick to tell his tales, than tp suppess unpopular views.

After all, Chick has not physiclaly harmed anyone, nor has Catholic Insight.

It is thus not really in the interest of the Canadians themselves.

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Did you see the lead article on WND about the staph and homosexual transmission of it? I wonder if that will be squelched in Canada too...

WND Study links staph cases to homosexual behavior
'Society hasn't learned from the AIDS pandemic'
Posted: January 15, 2008 8:30 p.m. Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com

Eerily reminiscent of reports a quarter century ago of the rapidly spreading AIDS epidemic, a new variety of staphylococcus bacteria, highly resistant to antibiotics, is now spreading among homosexual males in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, according to a new report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59714

Lord of the Powers be with us, for in times of distress we have no other help but You.
Lord of the Powers, forigve us our sins, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

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Canada is enjoyable, I am certain, so long as you are not too voiciferous in your opposition to abortion in the info you disseminate.

The test case I am dying to see is a Muslim who criticizes homosexuality, and a homosexual activist who criticizes Islam.

One wonders, will they both go to jail or face fines? Or just cancel each other out?

Interesting times.

-Simple

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Canada is not the USA, and has a different Constitution and different laws. Among other things, Canada gives the government a stronger power to restrict what is determined to be hate "literature" and the like. There is no point in telling Canada what laws she ought to have, especially for those of us who are not in any sense Canadians. The Canadians surely have the right to determine these matters for themselves.

If Chick's rantings and ravings are not hate "literature", then the term has no meaning. Those who live in the USA are free to purchase the complete set of his garbage and make up their own minds!

Each system - and I have lived under both - has its advantages and disadvantages. Neither Constitution is given by God, so like every human product, the Constitutions are capable of error. But I find Canada a civilized and enjoyable country.

Fr. Serge



Well said, Father.

In your experience, is Canada just in its application of these laws? Or, is it using it to squelch discussion? What I mean is this: Are people in Canada forbidden from criticizing and condemning the homosexual lifestyle? Or, can they still do so but only in civil language? I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Thank you for your response.

-- John


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Here is their website, and an article on the matter:

http://catholicinsight.com/online/features/article_772.shtml

Quote
Catholic Insight under 'human rights' attack
By Staff
Issue: January 2008

Catholic Insight has joined a range of Canadian publications, groups and individuals who have become targets of human rights-based legal attacks recently.

In February 2007, Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Centre of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, alleging that C.I. has targeted homosexuals as being a powerful menace, made negative generalizations about them, portrayed them as preying upon children, blamed them for problems in society and the world, portrayed them as dangerous or violent by nature, conveyed the idea that they are devoid of any redeeming qualities and are innately evil, used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt,” trivialized or celebrated past persecution or tragedy involving them and called for action to be taken against them.

Wells’s complaint consists of three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context. C.I. counters that these isolated quotes are not meaningful without the contexts of the articles themselves from which they were culled; in fact, most of them are even out of context from the sentences from which they were taken.

C.I. regards all of these charges as unfounded and made with the intent to harass. It intends to defend itself vigorously should the CHRC proceed. The magazine has continually emphasized that, with the respect to homosexual activity, it follows the guidance of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has made clear that persons with same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity and that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

At the same time, however, the magazine notes the Catechism declares homosexual acts are ones of grave depravity and intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law, close the sexual act to the gift of life, do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity and cannot be approved under any circumstances.

From its beginning in 1993, the magazine has traced and exposed homosexual activists for their attacks against Christians defending the traditional order in law and society and their use of derogatory language against all who stand in their way. Many of C.I.’s articles have quoted homosexual activists, such as the former Burnaby, B.C. MP Svend Robinson, who was known to denounce opponents as “bigots,” “homophobes” and “hatemongers.” The magazine has never replied in kind, but rather has adhered to the maxim, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

Wells’s complaint is not his first. In 2006, he sought the shutdown of three websites associated with Craig Chandler in Calgary – freetospeak.ca, freedomradionetwork.ca and concernedchristians.ca. He also currently has a three-pronged action in progress against leader Ron Gray and his Christian Heritage Party. He alleges a CHP reposting of an article on pedophilia being more common among homosexuals, as well as several commentaries Gray wrote, were motivated by hate and the defaming of homosexual persons. Gray says in the course of conversing with the CHRC, a highly placed official of that agency admitted to him that the Human Rights Act is about censorship.

A number of other human rights actions have been launched against individuals or groups, including Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary and the Knights of Columbus in Vancouver. Maclean’s magazine and its editor-in-chief, Kenneth Whyte, face a human rights complaint launched by the Canadian Islamic Congress over an October 23, 2006 article by Mark Steyn entitled, “The Future Belongs to Islam.” Whyte vows he will let the magazine go bankrupt before allowing the CIC equal space to respond to the article, while Tom Flanagan, Stephen Harper’s former campaign manager, is urging all who write or speak in the public domain to rally to Steyn’s defence.

Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, acknowledges he never imagined human rights commissions would ultimately be used against freedom of speech. To be acting as censors, he said, was “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions.”

Under the human rights complaints process as it exists, a complainant’s legal costs are covered, while a defendant must pay for expenses out of his own pocket. As well, rules of evidence in place for criminal court proceedings are not followed in human rights hearings.

Catholic Insight will keep readers informed of developments as they unfold in this matter.


Free speech is certainly not an absolute right, even in the US. (Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, for example.) But these kinds of laws seem excessive when they are written or interpreted as freedom from criticism for certain groups. It would be interesting to read a summary of the statute.

God bless,

Gordo

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So far as I remember, Canadians were certainly free to discuss questions of sexual morality provided they did so with civility.

I put that in the past tense because I have not lived in Canada for more than 20 years, and it is possible (though I've heard nothing) that restrictions on that topic have become tighter since Canada legalized same-sex marriages. But I simply don't know.

If Jack Chick has not harmed anyone, it certainly is not for lack of trying!

Fr. Serge

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Canada has passed some tough new laws, similar to many in Europe and other places. I think these charges fall under those newer laws rather than the ones there 20 years ago.

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
So far as I remember, Canadians were certainly free to discuss questions of sexual morality provided they did so with civility.


I don't have a dog in this fight, I am not Canadian and not discussing sexual morality in Canada... (Though out of my blog's 13 readers 1 is in Canada...)

BUT, Venerable Father, you certainly might see where the key qualification "provided they did so with civility" seems to be just vague enough to almost demand a little abuse...

Simpleton that I am, what I often think is OK, routinely, I come to find out, really ticks some people off.

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Most of us from time to time think this or that which will annoy someone else. That is not necessarily evidence of bigotry of any kind (I don't care for hard-boiled eggs, and over the years I'm amazed at the number of people who take umbrage at me because of it. I've never asked the poultry their feelings in the matter).

To remark (correctly, by the way) that the work schedule and work habits in the American southern states were drastically altered by the invention of the air conditioner is by no rational stretch of the imagination anything other than a simple and easily demonstrated statement of fact.

Fr. Serge

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