Canadian ‘Hate Speech’ Laws a Warning to U.S.
Canada is becoming an object lesson for those in the U.S. who are pushing to make “hate speech” illegal. A couple of years ago, Canada’s leading newsweekly magazine, Maclean’s, published an article arguing that the rise of Islam was a threat to western values.
Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress lodged a complaint with The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. They claim that the magazine violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. After five days of hearings, the Tribunal is to rule on the case in a few days.
If Maclean’s avoids a penalty, they will be more fortunate than Pastor Stephen Boissoin in Alberta, Canada. A similar “Human Rights Commission” has sentenced him to a life of silence.
In 2002, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate, a local newspaper, opposing same-sex “marriage.” A local homosexual activist filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. After a series of hearings, Pastor Boissoin was forbidden to speak or write “anything disparaging about homosexuals” for the rest of his life. In addition, he was required to submit an apology through the Red Deer Advocate and pay $5,000 to the offended activist who filed the complaint.
Canada, along with England, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws banning “hate speech.” In fact, the U.S. is almost alone in major world nations with a strong constitutional guarantee of free speech and religion. Yet there is a move in our government to establish laws against “discrimination” that will trump the constitution.
The two cases above demonstrate how enforcement of these laws will play out. Instead of such cases being handled by the regular courts, these “Human Rights” commissions and tribunals are staffed by appointed bureaucrats who sometimes have little or no professional experience in freedom of speech or freedom of religion issues. Yet they have the power to bring civil charges against businesses and individuals requiring costly defense.
Two recent cases have surfaced in the U.S. In New Mexico, a Christian couple, who run a photo studio, politely declined to film a “commitment ceremony” for a lesbian couple.
The lesbians complained and forced the photographers to appear before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. They were fined more than $6,600.
A couple of years ago in Southern California, the Pacific Justice Institute successfully defended Pastor Audie Yancey before the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force. He was charged with a “hate crime” for distributing gospel tracts referring to Allah and using the 9/11 attack on the towers as a talking point.
PJI argued successfully that no “crime” had been committed. However, if there had been “hate speech” laws in force, the verdict would, no doubt, have been entirely different.
In countries that have hate speech laws in place, both homosexuals and Muslims have been successful in silencing Christians who speak out against their agendas. Both of these groups have increasingly powerful friends in our government and courts. Anti-discrimination laws are in place forbidding any negative reference to homosexuality in our schools.
Colorado now has a law permitting transgendered men (men who claim they are really female) access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Anyone who objects is subject to a fine and prison time.
Jesus said He had to work while it was yet day. Bible believers, we need to redouble our efforts. If we don’t get busy winning the homosexuals and Muslims to Christ, they will continue to advance their evil darkness and shut down our freedoms that we take for granted.
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