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Alberta Pastor Convicted of Hate Speech Appeals Human Rights Commission Ruling

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By John Jalsevac

July 7, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Alberta Pastor Steve Boissoin has filed an appeal to the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal ruling that convicted him of hate speech. The pastor was found guilty last November of having written a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate that was "likely" to expose homosexuals to hatred.

The appeal was filed on June 26 with the Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

A hearing has preliminarily been set for September 9, although that date could change during negotiations between the involved parties.

LifeSiteNews spoke with Boissoin’s attorney, Gerald Chipeur, who said that he is confident that the court will grant the appeal and overturn the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal’s decision.

"We are very optimistic, because the Constitution is so clear," said Chipeur. "We were surprised to have lost before the Tribunal, but we believe that the courts will conclude that there has been a violation of the constitutional rights of our client. We feel very confident in our arguments, and we do expect the courts to intervene and reverse the decision."

Chipeur said his confidence was based on the fact that, "the courts have always seen themselves as the defenders of the oppressed. The context and the experience of the courts will lead them to accept our arguments."

Boissoin’s appeal seeks a reversal of the Tribunal’s decision as well as the awarding of appropriate damages.

Last month the Alberta Tribunal issued a remedy ruling that ordered Boissoin to pay $7,000 in fines, to never speak disparagingly about homosexuality or about the complainant Darren Lund, and to apologize to Lund in a letter to be published in the Red Deer Advocate. Besides the sum of the fines, Boissoin has also had to spend many tens of thousands of dollars in defending himself against Lund’s complaint since the case began.

The appeal filed with the Queen’s Bench criticizes the Tribunal’s decision on numerous points, including the nature of the remedy ruling, for which the Tribunal is accused of having "exceeded the limits of its jurisdiction and the constraints of law, natural justice and the Charter."

In particular the appeal criticizes the Tribunal for "awarding damages to Darren Lund and Janet Dodd, neither or whom were mentioned in the Complaint or victimized or injured by the Letter," amongst other points. 

As Chipeur explained, it is also highly unusual for the Tribunal to have ordered Boissoin, in its remedy ruling, not to speak negatively about Lund, when Boissoin was never accused of having done so in the first place. "Our client wasn’t speaking in the past in that way, so we’re shocked to find that kind of limitation in place when our client was not accused of doing that, and, in fact, did not do that."

Chipeur concluded his interview with LifeSiteNews, saying that, in his opinion, the Human Rights Commissions, in prosecuting "hate speech" at all, have turned human rights laws "on their head" and have made them "a weapon against the individual."

"I find the [Boissoin] decision to be frankly an aberration after a long history over the last two decades of the courts standing up for freedom of religion and expression based upon the Charter," he said. "Ever since 1982 there’s been a new approach which is individual freedom comes first, and it doesn’t matter what the government wants to do, the government must respect individual freedom. And that has generally been the trend."

"But over the last year there has been a reversal of that trend," he continued. "It’s surprising that human rights laws, which were also meant to protect individuals have in fact been misused, turned on their head, and used to take away freedom.

"When you apply human rights laws to landlords and employers, organizations that are in positions of power, you can see how, yeah, that makes sense. They have a position of power and we need to defend the powerless. But when you take those same human rights laws, and instead of applying them to government or to employers or landlords, we now start using them as a means to have a witch hunt in the community, and start to control what people think and say, then you can easily see how what was intended to be a protection for the individual then becomes in fact a weapon against the individual." 

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Alberta’s Conservative Government Sought Conviction of Christian Pastor for "Hate Speech"
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061603.html

Interview with a Persecuted Christian Pastor
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061203.html

Alberta Pastor Fined $7000 and Ordered to Publicly Apologize and Remain Silent on Homosexuality
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08060902.html

Alberta Human Rights Tribunal Rules Against Christian Pastor Boissoin
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/dec/07120306.html


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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