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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Defending William Whatcott: pro-life, anti-gay activist pushes freedom of expression to the limit

Censorship50leavesJohn Carpay, Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is intervening in the William Whatcott appeal before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

In a Western Standard column published today, Carpay writes:

In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Whatcott peacefully distributed flyers in Regina and Saskatoon. His flyers expressed opposition to teaching children in public schools about homosexuality, and also expressed, in polemical language, his religious objections to homosexual behaviour and the gay lifestyle. Some of the flyers were photocopies of a page from the gay magazine Perceptions, which included a personal classified ad stating “searching for boys/men for pen pals, friendship, exchanging video, pics... Your age, look & nationality is not so relevant.” On the photocopied page, Mr. Whatcott wrote “Saskatchewan’s largest gay magazine allows ads for men seeking boys!”

In response to complaints from four individuals whose feelings were hurt by the flyers, Mr. Whatcott was prosecuted under Saskatchewan’s human rights law, ordered to pay $17,500 to the complainants, and ordered to refrain from distributing the same or similar flyers.

Carpay’s column -- “There’s no monopoly on truth” -- will mark the end of Free Speech & Expression Week at the Western Standard, but certainly not the end of our coverage of free speech and expression issues important to our readers.  (Don’t forget to help the Western Standard get free speech and expression on the national televised debate among the major party leaders. Find out how here.)

Those familiar with Whatcott’s activism will know it would take an act of God to stop him from opposing abortion and homosexuality. In fact, Whatcott provided supporters with an update today on this activism:

(Warning: If you are easily offended by "polemical language," or if you are a supporter of Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, you will not like what Whatcott has to write.)

1500 hard hitting flyers found their way into Calgary's mailboxes…on Friday, September 26, 2008. Generally my flyers do garner a lot of negative reactions as apathetic and perverted Canadians do not appreciate being reminded of the graphic realities of pre-born baby murder and sodomy (my sodomy pictures do have genitalia blacked out but the images still tell you enough to inform you our North American culture is on par with the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah).

….

A disaffected Conservative who belongs to the Knights of Columbus sent me an unsolicited e-mail saying his $110.00 donation originally intended for the Conservative Party of Canada would go to me instead.

Upon receiving the unsolicited donation I got to work this weekend and made a special election flyer. 2000 of them will hit Laurie Hawn's Edmonton Centre riding this coming week. Laurie Hawn is fiscally conservative but he is no friend of social conservatives.

....

On sodomy and abortion Mr. Hawn is a sell out.

Whatcott’s language, while outrageous and offensive to some, is nothing compared to the images he includes in his pamphlets. Aborted foetuses, genital and anal warts, anal intercourse – there are no images too graphic for Whatcott, who intends to wake the public from its slumber whether they like it or not.

Defending the recidivist speech and expression offender Whatcott is as bold a defence of free speech as I have seen. But while Whatcott routinely violates good taste and judgement, his peaceful activism should not be considered a crime or an offence in a free society.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

So Matthew just makes this man a radical for expressing views supported by the Bible? When I see adjectives such as "radical" ,"extreme right", my personal alarm bell goes off. Anyway I am just expressing my view and understand it may not cause the same reaction in others.

I do not know the man personally but have followed the story. He is clearly another victim of the "people's tribunals". I found no evidence that he advocated violence against homosexuals or even condoned it. I think it is the Christian concept is to hate the sin but love the sinner. As such his prosecution is another big black mark for Canada. Over time I have been offered flyers that I found offensive. Still I had the freedom to refuse them, or in some cases when I noticed the message afterwards to toss them in the garbage. The same applies to the flyers in this case.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-28 8:41:30 PM


Matthew,

Bill Whatcott is an extremely offensive lunatic. While there is virtually no chance he will shut up and go away, the world would be a much better place if he did. Additionally, it is important not to fall into the trap of thinking he is some kind of free speech hero. I have no doubt he would supress all kinds of speech if he could.

But having said all that, I applaud the CCF for defending his right to speak and I applaud the WS for supporting it as well. There should be no law prohibiting his speech.

The one aspect of the CCF article I would disagree with is how it belittles the potential effect of hate speech by using the oft used phrase "hurt feelings". It is not mere "hurt feelings" that supporters of hate speech laws are concerned about and the negetive consequences of hate speech can go far beyond mere "hurt feelings". Maybe it makes some opponents of hate speech laws feel better about their position to denigrate their opponents position or to understate the effects of hate speech, but it does not make hate speech any less vile. Saying there ought to be no law against it is entirely different from thinking it is essentially benign.

I'd like to see section 13 of the CHRA (section 7 in BC, section 3 in Alberta, and section 14 in Saskatchewan) and section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada eliminated. But I'd also like to see hateful people shut up and go away because they do cause more harm than mere hurt feelings. There is not much I can do about the latter, but I try where I can to promote the former. I'm glad to see the CCF and the WS doing that too.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-28 8:46:51 PM


Making fun? Not me, Alain.

Like Carpay, I support Whatcott's right to free speech and expression.

I also provided free advertising to Whatcott in the Western Standard during his battle with the Saskatchewan human rights commission.

Whatcott is a radical, but in the original sense of that word. It's not a pejorative. (By the way, I used the word “radical” not Carpay.)

Whattcott pushes the limits of free speech and expression, and his pamphlets can be hard to stomach. (I’m not sure I can look at another outbreak of anal warts.) But as I wrote, he should have the same right to freedom of speech and expression as anyone else.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-28 8:52:17 PM


Matthew, after posting my comments I realised it seems that I am attributing the adjective "radical" to you, so I wish to clarify that it is not the case. I am posing the question however to find out your take on it.

So FC is clairvoyant in being able to know that Mr. Whatcott would suppress all kinds of speech if he could. Unless you are on personal and intimate terms with him, I suggest you are full of it - again. Not knowing the man I have no idea and could care less. Just as I find a lot of your ramblings offensive (being polite), I would still defend your right to freedom of expression.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-28 9:06:17 PM


Fact Check wrote: "Additionally, it is important not to fall into the trap of thinking he is some kind of free speech hero. I have no doubt he would suppress all kinds of speech if he could."

I know Whatcott and believe you are correct. I'm sure he would not hesitate to ban pornographic material or blasphemous speech. (He also trespasses on private property -- delivering flyers in private apartment complexes -- which I don't like.)

He is motivated but what he believes is God's will and and he obeys God's law.

But for as long as he is the victim of censorship and not the perpetrator of it, he'll have my support.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-28 9:07:21 PM


Nice to see ya supporting a Christians right to free speech Matthew.
I cant say you are even on all this-but good to see.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-28 9:20:56 PM


Wonder if FC really stands for Fraidy Cat?

Posted by: set you free | 2008-09-28 9:23:32 PM


In consideration of the Whatcott's sentiments on the gay lifestyle being taught to young children.

The grossly sexually perverted annual gay parades in some cities are a testament the depravity of some of these individuals in the gay world.

I have actually heard more than one gay person state that the parades are more or less a celebration of their sexuality because it is the major part of the lifestyle.

Kids don't need this kind of crap and neither do what's left of modest people in our society. It will only confuse the kids, but then, that is a desirable state to have children in when one is trying to indoctrinate them.

A kid with good parents will already know that this is wrong and depraved. No confusion. In lesser homes the kids will need to figure it all out for themselves and they don't have the tools to do so.

Sex is something between consenting adults in private. It's not supposed to be a god damned parade. That is just mental. It does mark the loss of morality in this post modern, morally equivalent age of lunacy.

Most of the people I know don't like the parades or the blatant displays by the gays on in public. They politely ignore it because to say anything can be construed as a hate crime in Canada. It's upside down folks.

To be fair, I don't like to see straights making out in public either. Again, it's a private matter.


On the other topic ...

Late term abortion is not a grand idea either.

I am atheist. I just happen to know wrong when I see it.

Sodomy puts a whole new spin on shit happens.

Although, if it weren't for sodomy where would Liberals come from.

:0)

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-28 10:03:50 PM


Free speech does not include hatred... I think you need to take a second look at that old bible.... Or does Jesus love hatred .... Better to hate the sinners as we know you are better...

Posted by: Judas | 2008-09-29 1:03:41 AM


(just viewed the following web comments - Robin)

AMERICA: LIFE OR DEATH ?

Genesis reveals that God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if they had been concerned about "social issues" - the issues that many money-worshiping Americans throw into the trash can and which will haunt them! The remedy? Googling "Zombietime" and clicking on "Up Your Alley Fair." After recovering, they should Yahoo "God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up" and "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right." If Americans are tired of being blessed, they can ignore what Washington, Jefferson etc. said and choose death and stop calling themselves "Americans"!

Posted by: Robin | 2008-09-29 4:14:07 PM


I'm not gay, nor do I endorse nor condone gay lifestyles. I'm not religious yet I'm not an athiest. I respect all people's rights to do or say what they like, as long as it isn't blatantly harmful or offensive to others. Sure, they still have their right to speak their minds, but it also makes them ripe for the fallout when they say absolutely revulsive garbage.

I find it vile that this man would go out of his way to pass along pictures of anal anything, where children can view this kind of perverse ideology, imagery, and petty hatred towards others.

Sure, you guys seems to speak in behalf of free speech, but you'd throw a fit if it was a gay man handing out pro gay literature that you didn't agree with.

I think it's hilarious that most viewers on this site are anti abortion, which strips women of their rights to their own bodies, or beliefs, while pushing a religious system on others.

Don't you people have anything better to do than hate others?

Posted by: Zack | 2008-10-14 4:39:02 PM



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