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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.”
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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

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
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
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.
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.
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
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
If Jack Chick has not harmed anyone, it certainly is not for lack of trying!

Fr. Serge


LOL! True enough!

Of course, one wonders why Jesus never has a human face in any Jack Chick cartoon. Latent Baptist Docetism, perhaps?

[Linked Image]

Gordo
Gordo,

I have not looked at a "Chick Tract" in years. The last time I even saw one was in a public restroom. I promptly snatched it up and trashed it. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr! The emotional memories that particular page you posted dredges up! I don't recall exactly which tract that page is from, but I certainly do remember it. Strangely, even as a kid (and Baptist!) the faceless Jesus really really bothered me. It seems clear to me that Jack Chick is not a docetist though. Rather, the statement he is making by this faceless Jesus is that he believes Jesus is SOOOOOOO angry at the sins of the wicked that he cannot allow his humanity to get in the way of his eternal justice...otherwise...he might be inclined to have...mercy? Now THERE's an original thought! A heresy if there ever was one! A MERCIFUL GOD! Good heavens what is this world coming to?

Nevertheless, I hope even the old slanderer Jack Chick himself, receives unexpected mercy on that day.

Jason
ACTUALLY, Jack Chick does show Jesus with a face.

Several of his tracts display Jesus's li eon Earth and show a very human Jesus face.

The image above, which is from his latest tract which links he Passover to Jesus ressureciton, and is Entitled "Poor Little Lamb", features an image of a faceless Jesus that is suppose to show him as God. The reason for the facelessness is a mystery, but I doubt its DOcetism or a lakc of Humanity.Jack Chick thinks he is displaying a merciful Jesus.

I think it has more to do with it also being the image he uses for God, and that we don't know what God looks like.
Also, Jack Chick uses the same images in dozens of tracts. Often exaclty the same picutre...so, the above may be found in earlier tracts. Minus the words. (Well, Mathew 25:41 woudl still be there...)
I remember about 10 years ago that public opinion regarding equal rights for homosexuals was only slightly more favorable in Canada than it was in the USA. The gay rights activists were demanding all kinds of rights which according to public opinion polls the majority of Canadians were not in favor of. In fact, the Canadian parliament was scheduled to vote on legislature granting gays the right to marry and other anti-discrimenation laws and nobody thought they would pass. There just simply were not enought parliamentarians who were willing to vote favorably on the gay rights agenda. The gay rights agenda was very divisive and it was assumed unlikely to pass in Parliament. Certainly the Conservative Party was opposed to the legislature and even the Liberals were divided on these social issues.

About two week before parliament was to vote on the legislature a USA preacher by the name of 'Phelps' arrived on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and began protesting. His followers had signs that said things like "God hates fags", "Gays burn in Hell", "God gives fags AIDS because he hates them", and many other nice things. The 20 or so Phelps protesters came to Parliament Hill every day until the federal government was to vote on the gay rights agenda legislature.

Canadians were so outraged with what they saw every night on their newscasts that it was no surprise that the Federal government voted sweeping legislation through Parliament granting the gay activists everything they had wanted - most notably the right to marry. Most pundits agreed that the Reverend Phelps and his followers exposed Canadians to the hatred that many Christians (particularly in the USA) have towards homosexuals. In Canada there is no tolerance for the open hatred of it's citizens.

I.F.
We need a crying emoticon.

Jason
Quote
Most pundits agreed that the Reverend Phelps and his followers exposed Canadians to the hatred that many Christians (particularly in the USA) have towards homosexuals.

I think you mean Rev. Fred W. Phelps, Sr. of the Westboro Baptist Church. I know of of no one, (repeat: no one) that agrees with him. The "20 or so Phelps protesters" are probably the only followers he has. He started protesting at US soldier's funerals and a motorcycle club was formed to follow Phelps and his crew to keep them away from any military funerals. Phelps exposes only his own hatred and no one elses. He speaks only for himself and no other American that I know of.

(By the way, check out 'wikiepedia' for an interesting read on this . . . individual.)
I believe Phelps represents the views of most evangelical christians in the United States. He is just more rude and crude in his presentation. Im sure he would say he hates the sin and loves the sinner.
I first heard of Phelps when he and his church disrupted Matthew Shephards funeral. No one seemed to have any objections to their antics until they started disrupting military funerals.
Quote
No one seemed to have any objections to their antics until they started disrupting military funerals.

Dwight, you shouldn't make sweeping statements like that.

I know some of these "Evangelical Christians" and they hate him worse than anyone simply because he's usually associated with them. If you didn't hear about Phelps until he disrupted the Matthew Shepard funeral, you've missed a lot of the good parts.

The 'Patriot Guard Riders' were formed in August of 2005 and Fred has been creating havoc long before that. That was only when the major media discovered him and found he could make good copy for their newspapers. Before that, he usually only made regional news.
Originally Posted by Jean Francois
The 20 or so Phelps protesters came to Parliament Hill every day until the federal government was to vote on the gay rights agenda legislature.


I seem to recall that most of his "church members" are his family members...
I've seen Phelps protestors coming to the Midwest Catholic Conference here in Wichita couple years ago. FREAKS!!!
On the bright side, if the errant weren't protesting us, we would be doing something dreadfully wrong.
I found once a Chick tract that was directed against Marian devotion. There was a scene in heaven where the BVM was standing before the awesome judgement seat making clear to the Lord that she never told people to worship her...

So there was the Mother of God standing before God, knowing what was going on on earth, and talking to God about it...

Oh the irony.
Hopefully her intercession saved those seeking her intercession who shouldn't have been.
Two years ago, I was in Topeka for Christmas and ended up at going to the First Presbyterian Church on Christmas Day. On our way there, we drove past a church with protestors. Upon arrival, we noticed more. These people were protesting churches with which they disagreed. On. Christmas. Day. They should be ashamed to call themselves Christians!

Originally Posted by Nan
Two years ago, I was in Topeka for Christmas and ended up at going to the First Presbyterian Church on Christmas Day. On our way there, we drove past a church with protestors. Upon arrival, we noticed more. These people were protesting churches with which they disagreed. On. Christmas. Day. They should be ashamed to call themselves Christians!



The Phelps organization was scheduled to protest on a Sunday outside St. Patrick/St. Anthony RC church in Hartford, a couple of years back, which has an active ministry to people with HIV/AIDS as well as a gay/lesbian ministry. There was a huge brouhaha about it in the papers and for some reason they never showed up.

It's funny that they chose a RC church, when most of the Congregational churches around here openly bill themselves as open and affirming and most provide for same sex union blessings.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22813570/

Phelps is at it again. And this time the mainstream media is echoing him. You cant get more mainstream protestant than Faux News.
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