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Canadian Supreme Court Rules Biblical Speech Opposing Homosexual Behavior is a ‘Hate Crime’

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Ottawa, Ontario – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Biblical speech opposing homosexual behavior, including in written form, is essentially a hate crime.

On Wednesday, the court upheld the conviction of activist William Whatcott, who found himself in hot water after distributing flyers regarding the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality throughout the Saskatoon and Regina neighborhoods in 2001 and 2002. The 7-judge panel consisted of Justices Beverly McLachlin, Louis LeBel, Marie Deschamps, Morris Fish, Rosalie Abellia, Marshall Rothstein and Thomas Cromwell.

“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” one flyer that was found to be in violation stated, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Another flyer, entitled Keep Homosexuality Out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools, was written in response to the recommendation of the Saskatoon School Board that homosexuality be included in school curriculum. The Supreme Court declared the document to be unlawful because it called the homosexual acts that would be taught to children “filthy,” and contended that children are more interested in playing Ken and Barbie than “learning how wonderful it is for two men to sodomize each other.” The justices ruled that because the use of the word “sodomy” only referred to “two men” and not also the sex acts of heterosexuals, it was a direct target against a specific group of people.


Two other flyers that expressed outrage at the male solicitation of sex with boys in a local publication were not found to be in violation of the statute, in part because Whatcott’s citation of Luke 17:2 was not clear on whether it only referred to homosexuals. The verse, which he had handwritten on the handouts, quotes from Jesus Christ.

“If you cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone was tied around your neck and you were cast into the sea,” it read.

The court insinuated that the Scripture could have been an issue like the other references if used in a way to pertain solely to homosexual persons.

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Whatcott had distributed the flyers over a decade ago to raise awareness of his concerns about both the homosexual parades in Canada, as well as the vulnerability of children in a culture that promotes homosexuality. However, when Canada’s Human Rights Commission found out about the matter, they took him to court, citing him with a hate crime.

The Supreme Court noted in its opinion, among other concerns, that Whatcott’s use of the Bible to target homosexuals was a problem.

“[Whatcott's] expression portrays the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to the negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred,” the panel ruled on Wednesday.

It pointed back to the lower court ruling, which asserted, “While the courts cannot be drawn into the business of attempting to authoritatively interpret sacred texts such as the Bible, those texts will typically have characteristics which cannot be ignored if they are to be properly assessed in relation to … the [Hate Crimes] Code.”

The judges did note, however, that “it would only be unusual circumstances and context that could transform a simple reading or publication of a religion’s holy text into what could objectively be viewed as hate speech.”

Commentator Andrew Coyne noted that the wording of Canada’s hate crimes law is problematic because it leaves much discretion in the hands of law enforcement.

“The code itself outlaws material that ‘exposes or tends to expose to hatred’ any person or group, on the usual list of prohibited grounds. It is not necessary, that is, to show the material in question actually exposes anyone to hatred — only that it might,” he advised. “The Court then upholds the ban on the grounds that the hatred to which individuals might or might not be exposed might in turn lead others to believe things that might cause them to act in certain unspecified but clearly prejudicial ways: it ‘has the potential to incite or inspire discriminatory treatment,’ or ‘risks’ doing so, or is ‘likely’ to, or at any rate ‘can.’”

Whatcott has now been ordered to pay $7,500 to two homosexuals who took offense at his flyers, as well as to pay the legal fees of the Human Rights Commission — which could cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The ruling and the reasoning [of the court] is terrible,” he told reporters. “They actually used the concept that truth is not a defense.”

“It’s worse than I expected,” Whatcott added. “What it means is that my life is over as I know it.”

A much different ruling came out of the Alberta Court of Appeals last October, as Pastor Stephen Boissoin was likewise facing hate crimes charges for submitting an op-ed to a local newspaper that outlined his beliefs about homosexual behavior. In releasing its opinion, the court said that Boissoin had a right to express his beliefs on matters such as homosexuality as long as they were focused on a behavior and not a specific person.

“Matters of morality, including the perceived morality of certain types of sexual behavior, are topics for discussion in the public forum. Frequently, expression on these topics arises from deep seated religious conviction, and is not always temperate,” the panel advised. “Boissoin and others have the freedom to think, whether stemming from their religious convictions or not, that  homosexuality is sinful and morally wrong. In my view, it follows that they have the right to express that thought to others.”

However, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Wednesday that oftentimes, it is impossible to say that one loves the sinner and hates the sin. It asserted that the hatred of the act was inseparable from hating the person or person group.

“I agree that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour can be differentiated for certain purposes,” the court outlined. “However, in instances where hate speech is directed toward behaviour in an effort to mask the true target, the vulnerable group, this distinction should not serve to avoid [the hate-crime clause of the Code].”

While speech opposing homosexuality remains legal in the United States, some note that the nation is heading in the same direction as Canada, as discrimination laws are being enforced by state Human Rights Commissions across the country.

A number of incidents have made headlines in recent years where American businesses have been punished for their refusal to accommodate the homosexual lifestyle, such as the story of a photographer in New Mexico that was forced to pay $700 in fines for declining to shoot a same-sex commitment service, to the Vermont bed and breakfast owners who settled a lawsuit with two lesbians who were told by an employee that they could not hold their commitment service on the property. A Kentucky t-shirt screening company was also recently punished for declining to complete a work order involving t-shirts that were to be worn at a local homosexual pride parade.

http://christiannews.net/2013/02/28/canadian-supreme-court-rules-biblical-speech-opposing-homosexual-behavior-is-a-hate-crime/

by on May. 13, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Replies (41-50):
wirehangers
by on May. 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM
1 mom liked this

Hmmm........christiannews.net.They won't be biased or leave out important facts,lol.Yawn,moving on.travel

Momniscient
by Ruby Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM
They have every right to express their opinion. Their choice just may now come with a consequence.

Quoting Lorik1969:

If the OP's article is correct, they no longer have the right to express their opinion. I also think it's wrong to label someone because they have a different opinion on a "politically correct" topic. I think you can challenge their opinion, but labeling them as "haters" is just as wrong.




Quoting chloedee:

Everyone has a right to express their opinion. They don't have a right to a positive reception.






Quoting Lorik1969:

While I agree with much of the policies of the left, it's true that opposing them makes you racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. The left embodies "political correctness". In a free country you should be able to speak your opinion without it being labeled "hate".








Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting daisykat:

We're doomed. Now if you have a viewpoint that opposes the philosophy of the liberal left, you can be imprisoned or fined, you have to keep your mouth shut. Whether or not you agree with this man's opinions, we should ALL be alarmed about the chipping away of freedom of speech. I realize this is Canada, not the US, but it's very much in the realm of possibility it could happen here.









I think I'm going to just hole up in a cabin on a mountaintop somewhere and ignore society. Shit like this makes me insane.

What is that, exactly?




Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM
This source is biased?


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting loverbug75:

The two men he offend are business owners who harrased and tryed to get people to boycott their business. Basically trying to shut them down and run them out of town. Funny that this article doesn't me ruin any of that. It was a hate crime.

Well, that is interesting.

Can you provide a link?

It may have been in conjunction with other issues, other things this man has done, that lead the Justices to rule as they did.

Very interesting.


chloedee
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM
http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/02/27/anti-gay-crusader-cant-distribute-flyers-top-court

This article states that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Biblical principles and texts can be used in public discourse, but that it was
only some of Mr. Whatcott's flyers that crossed the line.

I don't know how I feel about Canada's policies here because I don't know a lot about their Charter history, but I do know that it is very different than that of the United States.

(Mobile and can't clicky, sorry)


Quoting daisykat:

Quoting chloedee:




Yes, I do realize that. I just feel that anywhere they're muffling someone because of a religious belief is a dangerous precedent to set. Is he extreme? NO DOUBT. But now I hear there's more to the story, that he was harassing people at their business. Clearly this guy is crossing the line, but it's not "hate speech."

chloedee
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:36 PM
They do. The OPs article doesn't tell the entire story, and it doesn't place them in the context of Canadian hate speech laws. The Supreme Court ruled two of the four flyers were hate speech, meaning that two that were also derisive about homosexuality are still allowed (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/27/pol-supreme-court-whatcott-free-speech.html)

Why is it wrong to call someone a hater if you feel they're expressing a hateful opinion?


Quoting Lorik1969:

If the OP's article is correct, they no longer have the right to express their opinion. I also think it's wrong to label someone because they have a different opinion on a "politically correct" topic. I think you can challenge their opinion, but labeling them as "haters" is just as wrong.




Quoting chloedee:

Everyone has a right to express their opinion. They don't have a right to a positive reception.






Quoting Lorik1969:

While I agree with much of the policies of the left, it's true that opposing them makes you racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. The left embodies "political correctness". In a free country you should be able to speak your opinion without it being labeled "hate".








Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting daisykat:

We're doomed. Now if you have a viewpoint that opposes the philosophy of the liberal left, you can be imprisoned or fined, you have to keep your mouth shut. Whether or not you agree with this man's opinions, we should ALL be alarmed about the chipping away of freedom of speech. I realize this is Canada, not the US, but it's very much in the realm of possibility it could happen here.









I think I'm going to just hole up in a cabin on a mountaintop somewhere and ignore society. Shit like this makes me insane.

What is that, exactly?





chloedee
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM
"While speech opposing homosexuality remains legal in the United States, some note that the nation is heading in the same direction as Canada, as discrimination laws are being enforced by state Human Rights Commissions across the country."

Comparing discrimination laws in the United States to hate speech laws in an entirely different country is ridiculous.
Lorik1969
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:42 PM
In a free country, the only speech that should have consequences is slander.


Quoting Momniscient:

They have every right to express their opinion. Their choice just may now come with a consequence.



Quoting Lorik1969:

If the OP's article is correct, they no longer have the right to express their opinion. I also think it's wrong to label someone because they have a different opinion on a "politically correct" topic. I think you can challenge their opinion, but labeling them as "haters" is just as wrong.






Quoting chloedee:

Everyone has a right to express their opinion. They don't have a right to a positive reception.








Quoting Lorik1969:

While I agree with much of the policies of the left, it's true that opposing them makes you racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. The left embodies "political correctness". In a free country you should be able to speak your opinion without it being labeled "hate".










Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting daisykat:

We're doomed. Now if you have a viewpoint that opposes the philosophy of the liberal left, you can be imprisoned or fined, you have to keep your mouth shut. Whether or not you agree with this man's opinions, we should ALL be alarmed about the chipping away of freedom of speech. I realize this is Canada, not the US, but it's very much in the realm of possibility it could happen here.











I think I'm going to just hole up in a cabin on a mountaintop somewhere and ignore society. Shit like this makes me insane.

What is that, exactly?





chloedee
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:46 PM
This article explains that "The court struck down the part of the legislation that includes speech that "ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground." It found those words are not rationally connected to the objective of protecting people from hate speech.

The court left in place the ban on speech that exposes, or tends to expose, persons or groups to hatred."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/27/pol-supreme-court-whatcott-free-speech.html



Quoting AlekD:

Correct me if i am wrong but isnt hate speech usually defined as speech with the purpose of inciting violence against another group? When i say that homosexual relations dont reflect the philosophy my faith has towards family and sexual morality i am not inciting violence towards them and doesnt mean I hate them. I am wondering how exactly Canada will define "hate speech" now, because from this article it makes it seem like they are defining any expression of belief contrary to mainstream morality as hate speech, which i have a problem with.

Lorik1969
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:49 PM
2 moms liked this
I think that labeling someone a "hater" because of their opinion means that you no longer have an argument, so you resort to name calling. I'm talking about the "hot topics" of the day. A valid opinion, whether it's politically correct or not, isn't hate. I reserve that term for people who want to physically harm people based on their color, religion, beliefs, etc.


Quoting chloedee:

They do. The OPs article doesn't tell the entire story, and it doesn't place them in the context of Canadian hate speech laws. The Supreme Court ruled two of the four flyers were hate speech, meaning that two that were also derisive about homosexuality are still allowed (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/27/pol-supreme-court-whatcott-free-speech.html)



Why is it wrong to call someone a hater if you feel they're expressing a hateful opinion?




Quoting Lorik1969:

If the OP's article is correct, they no longer have the right to express their opinion. I also think it's wrong to label someone because they have a different opinion on a "politically correct" topic. I think you can challenge their opinion, but labeling them as "haters" is just as wrong.






Quoting chloedee:

Everyone has a right to express their opinion. They don't have a right to a positive reception.








Quoting Lorik1969:

While I agree with much of the policies of the left, it's true that opposing them makes you racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. The left embodies "political correctness". In a free country you should be able to speak your opinion without it being labeled "hate".










Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting daisykat:

We're doomed. Now if you have a viewpoint that opposes the philosophy of the liberal left, you can be imprisoned or fined, you have to keep your mouth shut. Whether or not you agree with this man's opinions, we should ALL be alarmed about the chipping away of freedom of speech. I realize this is Canada, not the US, but it's very much in the realm of possibility it could happen here.











I think I'm going to just hole up in a cabin on a mountaintop somewhere and ignore society. Shit like this makes me insane.

What is that, exactly?






AlekD
by Gold Member on May. 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Maybe i am too tired and am just not reading correctly but to me that seems like semantics. Couldnt someone make a claim that ridiculing, belittling, or otherwise affronting the dignity" of a group is exposing them to hatred?

Even here on CM you see people all the time who equate disagreement with hatred. It just seems oddly vague to me and i am wondering how it will play out in the real world.

Edit: sorry, i cant grammar tonight.

Quoting chloedee:This article explains that "The court struck down the part of the legislation that includes speech that "ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground." It found those words are not rationally connected to the objective of protecting people from hate speech.

The court left in place the ban on speech that exposes, or tends to expose, persons or groups to hatred."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/27/pol-supreme-court-whatcott-free-speech.html





Quoting AlekD:

Correct me if i am wrong but isnt hate speech usually defined as speech with the purpose of inciting violence against another group? When i say that homosexual relations dont reflect the philosophy my faith has towards family and sexual morality i am not inciting violence towards them and doesnt mean I hate them. I am wondering how exactly Canada will define "hate speech" now, because from this article it makes it seem like they are defining any expression of belief contrary to mainstream morality as hate speech, which i have a problem with.

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