Human Rights Harassment against Catholic Magazine Costs $20,000, So Far
By John Jalsevac
TORONTO, ON, June 11, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A monthly Canadian Catholic magazine of news, analysis and opinion has been burdened by $20,000 in legal costs in the process of defending itself against a campaign of harassment - including a human rights complaint - launched by homosexualist activists.
Fr. Alphonse de Valk, the editor of Catholic Insight (CI) magazine, spoke to LifeSiteNews.com today about the expensive and drawn-out harassment and human rights complaint that have been leveled against the magazine for the last year and a half.
CI is currently the subject of a complaint which was filed against the magazine in February 2007 by Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Centre of Edmonton. The complaint, a copy of which LifeSiteNews.com has obtained, is made up of a series of brief quotations, without citation or context, which Wells pulled from articles purportedly appearing on Catholic Insight’s website. Wells argues that he has "reasonable grounds to believe" that these quotations prove CI is publishing "hate messages" that "are likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of their sexual orientation."
The quotations, lumped together, with only dashes and ellipses used to distinguish one from the next, are grouped under nine headings, each of which is one of Well’s reasons for believing Catholic Insight is guilty of "hate speech." These include the accusation that CI has portrayed homosexuals "as preying upon children," as being the cause "for the current problems in society and the world," and as being "dangerous or violent by nature," amongst other things.
De Valk denies that the magazine at any point published hate speech. Wells, says de Valk, pulled out-of-context quotations from a total of 16 of 108 articles that CI has printed on the homosexualist issue since 1993. These articles dealt with the ongoing push within the public sphere to normalize homosexuality and, in particular, to legalize homosexual "marriage."
"Our articles were a combination of statements by doctors of the physical defects of the homosexual lifestyle, statements of the Church about the kind of lifestyle, news reports, what had been done by this judge or that judge, and then of course general analysis of the drive by the homosexual group, the activists among them that is. That’s what Wells came forward with. And we defended it, saying we have a right to defend sanity, the teaching of the Church and reason."
Fifteen months after the human rights complaint was filed, CI is still awaiting a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Commission on whether the matter will proceed beyond the investigation stage. In the meantime the magazine has already racked up $20,000 in legal fees, with no end in sight. Wells, on the other hand, has had all his legal fees covered by the state.
De Valk says that not only does he agree with Mark Steyn that, when it comes to human rights commissions, "the process is the punishment," but he believes the system is "hopeless" and leaves a significant portion of Canadians who hold traditional values "in terror." This is especially the case, says de Valk, since the various adjudicators who have been put in charge of the commissions, "all seem to come from one crowd."
"They’re all people who no longer believe in truth, who believe that hatred is whenever you make me feel uncomfortable. They all have the concept of hatred and comfort mixed up. They no longer believe in the reason of law, the rationale of law, and they certainly don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition."
As a consequence, he observed, every single hate speech complaint that has been made against a Christian or conservative has resulted in a conviction. For this reason, he says, it is time to step up the push for the elimination of or the restructuring of the human rights commissions which, de Valk says, have become the tool of a very small minority of radical activists, and which are therefore "threatening the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion of a good number of Canadians."
De Valk cited in particular the recent case of Steve Boissoin, an Alberta pastor who was hauled before a human rights commission for having written a letter to the editor in a local newspaper defending Christian teaching on homosexuality. Only last week Boissoin was ordered to apologize to the complainant in his case, to pay him a significant sum of money, and to never speak or write about homosexuality again.
De Valk called the Boissoin ruling, "an outrageous ruling by an outrageous commission peopled by outrageous administrators."
The editor of CI says that he is not hopeful that his magazine will win the case against it. "There’s no reason why we should be [hopeful]. We have an iron-clad case if you go by truth. But if you don’t go by truth, then everything is up in the air."
De Valk says that the recent actions of the Human Rights Commissions are simply the latest manifestation of a "process that has been going on in Canada for the last 40 years, beginning with the birth control, and the divorce legislation in 1968-69 and especially the abortion legislation in 69.
"Canadian law," says de Valk, "which before was still within the context of a Christian culture, is now being emptied out of Christian culture. Instead, it is being replaced with the darkness of atheism. And atheism doesn’t believe that there is truth. And if there’s no truth, well, then your opinion is as good as anyone else’s. That’s why we have the legislation allowing the killing of unborn babies. And now we have all the other things, one after the other. Divorce by demand. And then homosexual marriage being introduced into Canadian law, and replacing the old Judeo-Christian version of voluntary union of one man and one woman for life - that has been thrown out and replaced with the union between two people. If parliament can do that then they could decide that marriage could be between five people, or any other combination, whatever comes into their heads."
In addition to the human rights complaint, the magazine has also had to engage legal counsel to deal with frivolous and unsuccessful actions launched by a homosexually "married" Toronto resident and disgruntled former Catholic seminarian, who wrote in an August 21, 2007 posting on the http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com website with respect to opposing religious institutions, "As long as the disruption is non-violent and it is proportionate to the provocation, then I think that it may be acceptable. It may not be legal, it may not be pretty, but it may be morally acceptable in some cases."
This individual’s campaign of "disruption" against Catholic Insight has included attempting to strip the magazine of its funding under Heritage Canada’s Publications Assistance Program and filing a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
In the meantime, concludes de Valk, supporters of CI and free speech in Canada, "Can write their members of parliament, their provincial members, and spread the word that these commissions must be revised, must be changed.
"Just as the Ontario government allowed the Ontario Human Rights commission to make this ruling about Christian Horizons, which is completely unacceptable; just as the Alberta government gave its permission to make this absurd ruling about Reverend Boissoin; and just as the B.C. government allowed this tribunal with Mark Steyn to go forward last week - these governments must be held responsible. So people must agitate and make it an issue throughout the country. The hate laws should be revised by the federal government. Supporters can write their own members of parliament and start putting political pressure to have this very threatening law changed."
And, of course, financial assistance is greatly appreciated. People can donate either through paypal, by going to Catholic Insight’s website, at www.catholicinsight.com, or sending a donation to:
P.O. Box 625, Adelaide Station
31 Adelaide St., East
Toronto, ON, M5C 2J8
Tel: (416) 204-9601. Fax: (416) 204-1027
See related LifeSiteNews.com stories:
Fascism Has Come to Canada
Liberal MP Launches Motion to Stop Human Rights Commission Squelching of Free Speech
Internal Memo Tells Canada’s Conservative MPs to be Noncommittal on Human Rights Commissions
Toronto Catholic Magazine Faced with Human Rights Complaint by Homosexual
Catholic Insight Responds to Human Rights Complaint by Homosexual Activist
Mark Steyn Case Wakes Up Canadian Press to Human Rights Tribunals’ Threat to Free Speech
Canada Catholic League Calls for Halt to Use of Human Rights’ Commissions in Free Speech Cases
Christian Political Party Before Human Rights Commission for Speaking Against Homosexuality
Prominent Canadian Publisher Denounces Human Rights Commissions at HRC Hearing