If a “hate crimes” bill is passed here in the U.S., this is the type of thing we can expect to happen. It has been shown to be true in both Canada, at a national level, and also already in several municipalities here in the U.S.
I’m not kidding when I tell you fellow Christians that these laws will be used to silence you in regards to homosexuality and other moral issues you will contend against.
A website featuring comments by, for and about “principled conservatism” is being investigated by the Canadian government, and could be fined or ordered shut down for some postings about Islam and homosexuality.
Connie Wilkins, who with Mark Fournier runs Canada’s Free Dominion site and posts articles, comments and blogs on a wide range of issues, said she just was notified by the nation’s Human Rights Commission about the investigation.
The Human Rights Commission is appointed to investigate complaints that “hate speech” or other illegal activity has been detected, and issue rulings or recommendations to the national Human Rights Tribunal, which has yet to find any defendant innocent in such a case.
The scenario bears a close resemblance to the situation feared by opponents in the United States should a pending “hate crimes” legislation be approved by Congress and signed into law by the president. It would essentially provide an enhanced penalty for a range of crimes if someone perceives they are being targeted for being part of a recognized population segment, such as the homosexual community.
As such, Christians fear simply expressing their biblical belief that homosexuality is immoral could be classified a “hate crime.”
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As WND has reported, that legislative plan has been moving forward in Congress, with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., recently adding his version to a pending defense spending bill.
Supporters say it would address only crimes, but opponents fear the actual results would be similar to Canada’s, where a printer was fined several years ago for refusing a pro-homosexual printing contract that he said violated his traditional Christian beliefs.
Or, as in the current case, comments about homosexuality or Islam could be classified as illegal.
Among the statements cited in the complaint are posts from Bill Whatcott, who said: “I can’t figure out why the homosexuals I ran into are on the side of the Muslims. After all, Muslims who practice Sharia law tend to advocate beheading homosexuals.”
Whatcott earlier had been targeted by Saskatchewan’s human rights tribunal for distributing a flyer featuring a copy of a classified ad soliciting young boys, “age unimportant.”
The Canadian commission, Wilkins told WND, is “incredibly powerful, and they don’t have to sort of follow the rule of law, the way a court would. Essentially once they decide that they’re going to target you, you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
Under the standards set up by the commission, in Canada “it is a crime to offend someone,” she said. “That’s the way it is here,” she said. “I’ve made the argument many times, the ‘hate crimes’ laws are wrong. It puts more value on victims of crimes when somebody judges the crime was perpetrated because they hated them.”
She said she was notified of the complaint on July 17, with a deadline for a full response to the charge by July 18. She had never been sent an original complaint, and the notice simply was to remind her of deadline she hadn’t been told about.
“There was a thread on Free Dominion, and [a woman] complained, using this thread as an example of discriminatory material,” Wilkins said. The offending material included a link to a picture of a flyer that a Free Dominion contributor released discussing dangers of radical Islam.
The complaint from Marie-Line Gentes, a teacher at a Canadian college, “was that we were propagating this hate material,” Wilkins said. “I really think at this point her motive was to try to shut down Free Dominion rather than get offensive material removed.”
“We are definitely not a hate site,” Wilkins told WND. “There’s a whole variety of opinion on our site.”
“Right now, our lawyer is looking over the paperwork. We’ve set up a defense fund,” she said. “We’re going to have to spend some money on lawyers. We don’t know how much.”
The group also has requested additional time to review the complaint about an incident that dates back more than a year already.
Wilkins told WND such cases are becoming more common. Recently a fraternal organization was sued when it objected to a homosexual wedding in a building used for rentals.
Another man was sued simply for writing a letter to the editor expressing his opposition to having teachers instruct children in homosexuality at public schools, Wilkins said.
The problem is the wide open door the standards leave for interpreting whether something is a crime.
“The problem is there are so many grey areas. If somebody posts on our site, and someone else, a member of an ethnic group, religion or identifiable minority of any kind reads it, we have no way of knowing if that is going to be perceived as a hate crime. All it takes is for someone to say my feelings were hurt.”
The process then, is that, “if the tribunal believes their feelings were hurt, that’s it for you.”
Canada’s commission refused to return a message from WND asking for an explanation on the conflict between a Christian exercising his faith and a homosexual’s protection from any statement, including a quote from the Bible, of condemnation.
However, a lawyer for the printer, Scott Brockie, in that case pointed out the difficulty.
“Mr. [Ray] Brillinger can live his life the way he wants to,” lawyer Philip McMullen said of the homosexual activist who had brought the complaint. “But my client has to take his religion off like a housecoat and leave it hanging behind the front door when he goes out in the mornings.”
Wilkins said the full details of the specific concerns have yet to be explained.
“The nature of this upset has yet to be entirely revealed, but apparently somebody took offense to the concept that Muslim theology is more stridently opposed to homosexuality than any aspect of western society,” the organization said.
“It’s really a warning for you in the United States to look at this and see what’s happening,” Wilkins said. “You have to fight this with all that you have.”