By John Jalsevac
TORONTO, Ontario, June 21, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – James Loney, the former CanadianÂIraqi hostage, has charged the Ontario Knights of Columbus with homosexual discrimination.
The Knights recently announced the closure of a youth leadership camp located in Orillia OntarioÂwhere Loney worked for several years. Loney—who revealed his homosexuality amidst the publicity furor accompanying his eventual safe return from Iraq—has accused the Knights of closing the campÂbecause he is gay. The Knights respondedÂto the allegationsÂcurtly, sayingÂin a press release that “The decision to close the camp this year wasÂNOT caused by James Loney’s sexual preferences as he alleges in the press. His sexual preferences wereÂnot a factor at all in the Knights of Columbus’ decision. We resent the allegation.”
The factual basis for his allegation is still uncertain. News reports have been unclear and contradictory about whether or not Loney is even a current employee of the camp.ÂA Canadian Press report calls Loney a “former employee,” although it does not state when Loney ceased working for the camp.ÂWhen contacted by LifeSiteNews.com the Knights refused to comment on Loney’s current employment status.
“The conclusion we have drawn is that this is an act of discrimination,” Mr. Loney said,Âsaying that he agonized before going public with the allegations.“We can’t prove this. This is a concern that we have based on the sequence of events,” added Loney, according to CBC.
On their website theÂKnights state the closure of the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp was previously scheduled, in order to provide time to review the mandate and effectiveness of the camp program. The camp may be re-opened next year, the statement said.
The Knights respondedÂto the allegationsÂcurtly, sayingÂin a press release that “The decision to close the camp this year wasÂNOT caused by James Loney’s sexual preferences as he alleges in the press. His sexual preferences wereÂnot a factor at all in the Knights of Columbus’ decision. We resent the allegation.”
“That statement is totally out of left field,” spokesman for the Knights of Columbus Ontario State Council John Clancey told the Toronto Star. “We closed down that leadership camp because we needed to review the way we were going and the curriculum that we were teaching.”
Loney said he intends to publish an open letter to Ontario Catholics to bring to light what he called “an act of discrimination.”“We are doing this because we care about the church, we care about young people and we care about the kind of church they are coming into,” he said. In another statement ofÂan even more ambiguous nature, Loney appeared to accuse the Knights ofÂcontributing toÂteen suicide by closing the camp: “We want the teenage suicide and the self-loathing of the closet to stop. We want people to be able to speak freely about who they are and what they believe without fear.”
Although Loney’s sexual preference for men isÂbeyond question, his purported Catholicism is less apparent, leaving Catholics wondering why he is involved with the Knights of Columbus in the first place. In 2005 in an article entitled “Confessions of a Spiritual Couch Potato”ÂLoneyÂadmitted “I avoid prayer like the plague—the kind where you stop, sit or kneel, do nothing but be, even if for only ten minutes. It’s agony-in-the-garden every time; the easiest thing is to let the cup pass. The thought of fasting nauseates me, and as for Sunday mass—that weekly spiritual reboot and virus check—well, let’s just say I’ve accumulated a significant inventory of mortal sins.”
Conservative columnist Mark Steyn, in an opinion article published in the Western Standard in April of this year, asked rhetorically, “So James Loney is a non-praying non-churgoing non-believing Catholic. What does he believe in?”
See the website statement of the Knights of Columbus: