Canada’s Human Rights Beef With Catholics
Magazine Investigated for Offending Homosexuals
ICC Note: This story is an incredibly concerning update on what is happening to religious freedom in Canada in the name of promoting “human rights” – homosexual activists are being allowed to silence Christians who oppose their lifestyle.
By Pete Vere
2/5/08 TORONTO (Zenit.org) – Catholic Insight, a Canadian magazine known for its fidelity to Church teachings, has been targeted by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for publishing articles deemed offensive to homosexuals.
The commission has been investigating the Toronto-based publication since homosexual activist Rob Wells, a member of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint last February with the government agency in which he accuses the magazine of promoting “extreme hatred and contempt” against homosexuals.
Father Alphonse de Valk, the founder and editor of Catholic Insight, disagrees the accusations. “Wells took three pages of quotes out of context,” he told ZENIT.
“The basic view of the Church is that homosexual acts are a sin, but we love the sinner,” said Father de Valk, adding that opposing same-sex marriage is not the same as rejecting homosexuals as persons.
The priest said that homosexual activists are broadly defining opposition to homophobia as opposition to any homosexual act: “They maintain that the whole Catholic Church is homophobic.”
The complaint against Father de Valk is just one of several complaints against Christians that Canada’s human rights commissions have investigated in recent years. Despite assurance from politicians that Canadian faith communities would not be affected when the government legalized same-sex marriage, the number of complaints against Christians have only increased since 2005, say several concerned Christians.
The process favors the complainant over the accused, claim Father de Valk and other Christian critics of the commissions and tribunals. There is no cost to the one who files a complaint, and the commission provides legal support to the complainant. In contrast, the accused must pay his legal costs.
Additionally, contrary to the English legal tradition, there is a reverse onus requiring the accused to prove his or her innocence. “There’s a presumption of guilt,” said Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, who himself was subject to two complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2005 after publishing a pastoral letter defending the traditional definition of marriage earlier that same year.
“I really feel that we are into a crisis situation here where we are experiencing a trumping of religious freedom,” said Bishop Henry.
Christian groups have a losing record before Canada’s human rights tribunals for alleged discrimination. In November 2005, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ordered a Knights of Columbus council to pay two lesbians $1,000 each in damages, plus legal costs, after the council declined to rent their hall to the couple for a same-sex marriage ceremony.
In 2000, the Ontario Human Rights Commission fined Scott Brockie, a Protestant print-shop owner, $5,000 for declining to print, on moral grounds, homosexual-themed stationary.
The same tribunal fined London, Ontario, $10,000, plus interest, in 1997 when Mayor Diane Haskett declined to proclaim a gay pride day for the city… [Go To Full Story]