David Krayden


‘Freedom from hatred’ is not in my Charter of Rights

David Krayden
By David Krayden

February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canada has a Charter of Rights that speaks about freedom of speech but nowhere does it mention something called “freedom from hatred.”  That concept has become part of the Canadian Human Rights Act, specifically Section 13 of that act which defines hate speech as communication “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.” 

The parameters of this seeming protection are so broad as to allow swimming space for a blue whale.  This injunction against hatred is, in effect, an assault on free speech and essentially overrides a fundamental democratic freedom, replacing it with a nebulous and misplaced guarantee that Canadians need never be exposed to anything unpleasant, or even the very chance that they might be exposed to some form of contempt or perceived contempt.  This provision has in fact been successfully used to silence all forms of legitimate criticism in this country, since any form of criticism can naturally be construed or distorted to be a form of hatred and therefore inadmissible in Canada.  Critics of Sharia Law have been accused of fomenting hatred against Moslems.  Section 13 has also undermined basic religious freedom as well.  Any criticism of homosexuality, on the basis of it being a lifestyle incompatible with Biblical precepts, is also subject to the question of whether this belief and consequent analysis could possibly cause anyone discomfort.

Thankfully it has fallen on one backbench Conservative Member of Parliament to take back free speech in Canada.  Never heard of Alberta MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul)?  You should have.  Storseth has quietly moved a private member’s bill (PMB) past second reading that would repeal sections 13 and 54 (related to 13) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.  Bill C-304 just passed second reading in the House of Commons and should be up for third reading by mid-April.  That means the bill could receive royal assent by the time Parliament recesses for the summer.  The legislation has the support of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson so there is little chance of the government deciding the PMB is too controversial to carry forward.

Ensuring the ascendancy of free speech should never be a subject of controversy in a democracy.  We do not and should not enjoy anything approaching freedom from hatred.  In the first place, just how does one define hatred?  Do Marxists hate capitalists?  It may well be argued that yes, they do.  Should we be banning the works of Karl Marx because these tomes “are likely to expose” the monied class to “hatred and contempt?”  Was hatred, to some degree, not a force that fuelled most political revolutions in history?  Moreover, is the hatred that promulgates the murder of one person by another not just as real and toxic as the hatred of one person towards a race or religion?  Yet with the same logic as we suppress free speech to stifle offense, we have uber-criminalized crimes that have achieved a special status on the hate index while pretending that every crime is not somehow motivated by that same emotion.

Secondly, if we are so supine in debate that we are reluctant to condemn or criticize behaviour, thought or practice because that speech may be judged to be hateful, then we might just as well refrain from any form of philosophical, moral or political debate in this country because someone will be offended in the process.  Democratic debate necessitates offence.  I shall be offended at some point.  My opponents will be equally offended.  We shall never have – and in a temporal world, we should never desire – a marketplace of ideas bereft of controversy and objection.  Any law that seeks to create such a sea of homogeneity has no place in a democracy and needs to be repealed.

David Krayden is the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to the advancement of freedom and prosperity through the development and promotion of good public policy.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website, www.babycaust.de, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” Katholisch.de editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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