NewsWed Sep 14, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
Growing Support for Alberta Pastor Facing Human Rights Hearing Over Letters Against Homosexuality
CALGARY, Alberta, September 14, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The case against Stephen Boissoin, a young Alberta pastor facing an Alberta Human Rights tribunal over letters he wrote on the issue of homosexuality, has received widespread publicity which is generating a growing wave of support for the Christian pastor, even from homosexuals.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com last night Boissoin revealed that he has received a barrage of phone calls from the US and Canada since the publication of the Sept. 2nd LifeSiteNews.com story on his case. A US organization is even seriously considering funding his legal defense.
All afternoon yesterday Boissoin sat with three homosexuals who came to him concerned about the charges. He says they “were disgusted” that his right to freedom of speech was being impinged upon and that they wanted to speak out on his behalf even though they did not necessarily agree with what he said. Stephen believes that after their lengthy discussions the three men experienced that he sincerely cares about homosexual persons.
A web page presenting documents and details on the case and background on the two principal persons has been set up on the web site of the Concerned Christians organization for which Boissoin was at one time the Executive Director. The page reproduces the original letter by Boissoin to the Red Deer advocate on June 17, 2002 (see Lund complaint) as well as subsequent letters and the detailed full complaint by University of Calgary assistant professor Darren Lund. The page also offers an opportunity for supporters to donate to Pastor Boissoin’s legal expenses. See http://www.concernedchristians.ca/pages/campaigns/hrCommision/index.htm.
Concerned Christians is co-accused in the case since pastor Boissoin was in their employ at the time the letter was published and he signed it in his capacity as the central Alberta chairman of the organization. However, Boissoin told LifeSiteNews.com he believes the case against the organization is weak.
A large Free to Speak dinner is scheduled for October 29 at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Calgary. This awareness and fundraising benefit will have as speakers Calgary Bishop Fred Henry, Western Standard magazine publisher Ezra Levant, Dr. Chris Kempling and other prominent speakers. The dinner and the issue will have their own website in the next few days at http://www.freetospeak.ca. Comments on the controversy and its free speech aspects will also be able to be posted to the site.
Boissoin emphasizes that for him the awareness aspects of this initiative are much more important than the fundraising. In addition to what he sees as the necessity to raise awareness of the facts and dangers of homosexual activity, he wants to increase awareness of the danger to Canadians’ free speech and freedom of religion as illustrated by actions to silence persons such as himself.
Stephen emphasized to LifeSiteNews.com that if he is forced to pay any money to the gay advocacy organization EGALE Canada he will request to instead pay his fine to Exodus International, which works with homosexuals attempting to leave the gay lifestyle, or he would pay it to an AIDS/HIV gay hospice for dying AIDS patients . If that is not allowed by the commission Boissoin says he will have no problem going to jail.
Boissoin says that should the US organization fund his defense and for that reason or others there is money left over from the fundraising campaigns he is ensuring it will go to specific AIDS hospices and the abstinence program of the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centres.
The correspondence that began the controversy involved letters published in the Advocate from June to September of 2002 in which Boissoin persisted in maintaining the validity of the arguments in his original very blunt letter which received hostile response from responding letter writers and others.
Boissoin explains it all began when he was investigating funding opportunities for his ministry on the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s website. “To my disbelief” he states, “I came across a page that highlighted an initiative that the A.H.R.C funded. This initiative was undertaken by the Alberta PFLAG Faith Society and stated that the gist of its agenda was to teach that homosexuality was ‘Normal, Necessary, Acceptable and Productive.’” Boissoin says he “absolutely disagreed with this untruthful, dangerous and scientifically baseless agenda” and that he also “felt that as a taxpayer, and indirect funder of this initiative through my tax dollars, I had a right to communicate my opinion which is reflective of my religious beliefs. In an attempt to do so, I decided to potentially share my opinion at large by submitting letters to the editor in newspapers”.
Darren Lund, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, whose intense interest is advancing “social justice” causes, submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Commission charging that Boissoin contravened the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act in the area of “Publications and Notices” on the grounds of “Sexual Orientation.”
Lund’s original complaint was dismissed but he appealed and that has led to the upcoming tribunal hearing three years after the original letter was written. According to the Human Rights Commission’s policies, since his original complaint was dismissed, Lund must prosecute the appeal himself and will have four hours at the tribunal in the near future (date still unknown) to do so. Stephen Boissoin then has 7 days to respond to the complaint.
The young pastor has not written any further letters on the topic since 2002 and his move to Calgary to focus once again on youth and assume the directorship of the Alberta Youth Outreach Foundations ‘‘Cave” youth centre initiatives.
See previous LifeSiteNews.com story
Alberta Christian Pastor Hauled Before Human Rights Tribunal For Letter to Editor on Homosexuality