[The following article would lend support to Bishop Fred Henry, Fr. Alphonse de Valk and Mr. Mark Steyn’s argument that “The process is the punishment.” - Pete Vere]
Human rights complaint languishing
Commission has yet to rule whether Catholic mag promotes hatred against gays
By JASON MILLER, SUN MEDIA
Foot-dragging by the Canadian Human Rights Commission has left both sides in a controversy – stemming from a complaint that a Catholic magazine is promoting hate against gays – and feeling frustrated.
The commission has taken 16 months to decide whether to hear the complain t lodged against Catholic Insight magazine.
Representatives for Catholic Insight complain it has cost $20,000 so far to mount a defence against “baseless charges of homophobia” and “harassment” from gay activists.
Father Alphonse de Valk, editor of the magazine, maintains the complaint against his magazine has no basis and denies Catholic Insight articles promote hate or discrimination.
While the magazine and the Catholic Church oppose a homosexual lifestyle and efforts to make gay marriages acceptable, that does not equate to hatred, insists de Valk.
“Marriage was created by God, as a union between a man and a woman, so anything else is not marriage,” he says.
“So polygamy is not marriage and having marriage between two men or two women is not marriage.”
Rob Wells, a gay rights activist from Edmonton, complains he is being denied an opportunity to argue his case to the commission, charging that the magazine continues to promote discrimination against homosexuals.
Wells claims he has found more than a dozen articles on the magazine’s website that violate the rights of gays and lesbians.
“There is too much violence and gay bashing and someone has to take a stand,” he says.
Wells adds the commission has not been fair in giving him a full opportunity to argue his case because he was only allowed to file three pages of information to back up his complaint and argues there is much more to consider.
He argues the material on the magazine’s website “does not represent Catholic teaching” and wants the human rights commission to proceed with his complaint expeditiously.
“It’s hateful, discriminatory and it has to be challenged,” argues Wells, who adds the controversy is not about religious freedom.
“I don’t care what they say from their pulpit,” he says. “But when they put hate messages or messages that are likely to expose minority groups to hatred or contempt, it’s against the human rights legislation.”
Wells also objects to the fact that Catholic Insight receives funding from Heritage Canada’s Publications Assistance program.
He says there’s a policy that stipulates those running the program are to deny funding to magazines that promote hate or discrimination.
“Our taxpayers’ dollars are going to subsidize the promotion of hate and contemptuousness against a vulnerable minority,” he contends.
Wells fought and won a similar case last year in Alberta against Craig Chandler, a radio host and a political and religious activist, who spoke out against gays on his radio show.
In an editorial earlier this year, Catholic Insight said it was the latest in “a long line of publications to run afoul of Canada’s human rights commissions.”
According to the magazine, "some journalists have been so intimidated by Canada’s human rights thought police that they no longer dare to publish anything that might offend the sensibilities of Muslim zealots, homosexual activists or any other group that qualifies for special treatment in the freedom-stifling, federal and provincial human rights codes that have sprung up over the past 50 years.
“Yet it’s open season on the Catholic Church for anti-Catholic bigots.”
De Valk argues the views expressed in his magazine do not promote hatred.
In every article Wells objected to, there is a clear explanation that the Catholic faith objects to homosexual acts but respects the persons involved, he said.
De Valk adds same-sex marriages were supported by the Canadian government in 2005.
However, gay groups are now demanding that every school acknowledge same-sex marriages are a legitimate and morally acceptable union.
The department of education in British Columbia plans to promote such teachings in its schools from kindergarten to Grade 12, starting this September.
‘WE’LL NEVER ACCEPT IT’
“We say it’s not,” de Valk said. “It’s contrary to the law of God, it’s contrary to the law of nature; therefore, we will never accept it.”
He characterizes the human rights complaint as part of a “campaign of harassment” by gay activists against his magazine.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission, meanwhile, says it can’t comment on the specifics of this case.
Natalie Dagenais, director for the investigation division of the commission, says it sometimes takes a lot of time to deal with difficult cases.
Dagenais says when dealing with a typical case, the commission can deliver a ruling in up to nine months. Cases that require more time may require in-depth investigation, she says.
“There are a number of factors among others that could actually delay a file and make it go over the six to nine months average that we see in terms of investigations,” she adds.