WEYBURN, Saskatchewan, April 3, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Saskatchewan pro-life group is under heavy fire over its decision to host a U.S. speaker at its provincial conference next week who exposes what he calls the “homosexual activist agenda.” But organizers are defending the speaker, and insist the talk will go on as planned.
“It doesn’t get much more Orwellian than trying to pressure an independent organization to disinvite a speaker – in the name of ‘anti-bullying’ and ‘tolerance.’ Yet that is precisely what’s occurring, and this time I am the target,” said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
“It’s the way the Left operates – tolerance for me, but not for you,” he told LifeSiteNews. “This is the gay ‘thought police’ phenomenon that we see all over the world, but Canada is one of the worst places for it.”
LaBarbera is scheduled to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association’s conference in Regina, Saskatchewan on social engagement beginning April 11. But when the pro-homosexual group “Intolerance Free Weyburn” found out LaBarbera was making an appearance at the conference, it created a petition at change.org to stop him from coming.
“Perter [sic] LaBarbera is using this pro-life convention as a medium to advocate his personal anti-gay agenda. His claims to do this using a ‘spirit of love and truth’ are anything but factual considering he is recognized as the president of [an] anti-gay hate group,” reads the petition, which has been signed by about 800 people from all over the world.
LaBarbera’s organization is listed as a “hate group” by the controversial leftist group Southern Poverty Law Center, alongside numerous other U.S. pro-family groups.
Bailey Brooks, co-founder of the petition and of the “Intolerance Free Weyburn” Facebook group, told The Leader-Post that the group will protest the conference with signs.
“All of Saskatchewan has worked so hard to get rid of bullying and have zero tolerance for intolerance, and we just wanted to reinforce that here,” she said.
But conference organizers are defending the choice of LaBarbera as an appropriate speaker at their pro-life event.
“Pro-lifers are beginning to realize that defending the unborn means defending ‘real’ marriage since a stable marriage between a man and a woman is the best place to raise children,” said Marcy Millette, president of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, to LifeSiteNews.
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“LaBarbera is a leading defender of ‘real’ marriage. He exposes those who would have marriage redefined to mean whatever they want it to mean, to the detriment of the child. He is a perfect choice for our conference.”
Millette pointed out the irony that the only “intolerance” is coming from a pro-homosexual group making “bully-like demands.”
“They are trying to shut down our rights to free speech and freedom of association, rights guaranteed by the Charter. While they demand ‘tolerance’ for themselves and push ‘diversity’ and ‘acceptance,’ they deny these to everyone who does not think like they think.”
“It’s absolutely bizarre,” she said.
Support for LaBarbera speaking at the conference is pouring in from around the world.
“I am a homosexual man in London, UK, and I have seen the way how gay propaganda works,” wrote one man to conference organizers in one of many emails obtained by LifeSiteNews.
“They use media and social media to force their opinion and views to everyone but aggressively attack the ones who oppose their opinion and dare to speak out. I oppose the LGBT agenda because I believe it is important to defend traditional values of marriage, family and life,” he said.
Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League, supported conference organizers in their choice of speakers, telling LifeSiteNews that LaBarbera is a “solid pro-lifer and a solid Christian man who knows right from wrong and will talk about that.”
Scheidler said LaBarbera articulates well the connection between the pro-life movement and defending marriage as God intended it to be. “It’s all part of the same moral code,” he said.
A U.S. Knight of Columbus defended LaBarbera as a genuine Christian and speaker of truth.
“Peter is motivated only by a genuine Christian concern for the good of individuals caught up in a homosexual lifestyle. I've never experienced a hateful word, tone, facial expression, or action come out of him and have only experienced a true spirit of tolerance and dialogue with those who falsely think he ‘hates’ gays and lesbians,” wrote Nick Costello to conference organizers.
“Peter simply speaks the true Biblical teaching on homosexual acts as one of many forms of sexual perversion and he also points out the serious physical harms associated with the sexual practices common to those who identify as gay and lesbian. His speaking the truth is the only reason he and other leaders like him are branded ‘haters’ unjustly in the mainstream media here in the US.”
“Please do not capitulate to the demands of the truly intolerant activists in Saskatchewan, who simply don't want to hear an informed presentation of the other side of a crucial moral issue in our time,” he wrote.
One professor of mathematics from an Ohio community college put the matter succinctly to conference organizers: “Don’t let the liberal homo-fascists push you around! Stand firm. Thank you.”
Instead of being intimidated, Millette views “Weyburn against Intolerance” as “doing us a huge favor.”
“The number of people attending our conference has skyrocketed. We have received national coverage through mainstream media. They have advertised for us and done it for free. What more could you want?”
Millette said that more than this, the group has pressed the question of freedom of speech into the forefront of debate.
“Freedom of speech is essential for the pro-life movement,” she said. “Without our cherished freedoms we could accomplish little.”