Fri Sep 2, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
Alberta Christian Pastor Hauled Before Human Rights Tribunal For Letter to Editor on Homosexuality
RED DEER, Alberta, September 2, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Currently Reverend Stephen Boissoin, a young Albertan pastor who spearheads a youth ministry that makes hundreds of weekly contacts with at-risk youth, is in the process of learning Arabic so he can better minister to the many Muslim youth who he says come to his centers. And with two children of his own, in addition to his full-time ministry, he repeatedly remarked during an interview with LifeSiteNews.com that he just doesn’t have a lot of time on his hands.
But increasingly these days the young pastor’s thoughts are set on preparing for his Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) hearing that he says will likely be heard in October.
Without the money to pay for legal representation, Stephen has no other alternative but to prepare his own defense. “I know nothing about human rights case law,” he says. “I’m trying to learn. Understand this, I work every single day, have two kids…and right in the middle of that I’m trying to learn human rights law. So, I’ll be very happy when it’s over.” The only problem with that, he points out, is that when it’s all over he may very well be in prison.
Boissoin is being hauled before the Human Rights Commission to answer to a complaint filed by Darren Lund, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary. Lund made his complaint after Boissoin published a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate, in which he denounced homosexuality as immoral and dangerous, and called into question new gay-rights curriculums permeating the province’s educational system.
In that letter to the editor, Boisson lamented that “Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.”
Boissoin, who is himself no stranger to the dangers of homosexual and bi-sexual activity, since many of the youth he works with fall into that category, repeatedly expressed his concern that behaviour that is dangerous, and sometimes fatal, is being presented as normative and even healthy to the most impressionable. “I was just writing a letter to the editor, to the heterosexual population,” he says, “saying this is something to be very, very concerned about.”
For expressing that view, however, Boissoin has been called a “bigot” and a “hate-mongerer”, and worse. Darren Lund has likened the young pastor to Terry Long of Aryan Nation, a local white supremacist, and James Keegstra, a holocaust denier.
Should Boissoin lose the hearing with the Human Rights Tribunal, he will be forced to pay $7000 in fines. $5000 will go to Darren Lund personally, and another $2000 will go to the rabidly pro-gay-rights group EGALE Canada, which has received large sums of money in the past from the federal government for its court challenges. In addition, Lund has requested that Boissoin be forced to apologize to his readers in another letter to be published in the Red Deer Advocate. Boissoin, however, says that he will not pay those fines, nor will he apologize, even should that mean prison.
He is not hopeful about the outcome. A few days ago, he says, he met with an officer of the Human Rights Commission, who indicated that in publishing his letter Boissoin had gone against the “position” of the Commission. “According to what they have decided is the law, I will probably be found guilty,” he admits.
Nevertheless, the pastor is carefully preparing for the hearing, asking a number of witnesses to come forward and speak on his behalf. “I feel almost too humble to say this, to be honest with you,” he says about those who are willing to come out in his defense, “but they say they’ve worked with me, and they’ve seen my devotion to teens, bi-sexual and homosexual alike, and they’re hurt that I can be fined, and potentially, if I don’t pay these fines, I can be imprisoned.”
“I’m ok with whatever the outcome is,” he concludes. “I’m just going to trust God. I’ve been through a lot in my life…I’m just going to trust Him. He may have me speaking just before the panel and judges and it may touch someone’s heart and minister to them. I’m just going to go in humble, and leave the outcome to God.”
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