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Old October 12th, 2008 #1
Tomasz Winnicki
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Old October 31st, 2008 #2
Alex Linder
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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 –, and 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.


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