Pete Vere: June 2008 Archives

For those who have been following Canada's human rights tribunals and their decisions against Christians who express moral opposition to homosexual activism and same-sex marriage, the name Stephen Boissoin should be familiar to you. I won't go into the whole history of his case, however, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal recently ordered him to stop talking about homosexuality from the perspective of his evangelical Christian faith. Moreover, the government tribunal ordered him to apologize for his previous expressions on this topic as a Christian, and has prohibited him from criticizing the government process to which he had been subjected.

Admittedly, given the stridency of his letter that brought about the original complaint, as well as the way he was characterized in the mainstream media, I expected a sort of Fred Phelps light.

This impression was wrong.

I realized how wrong it was within seconds of speaking to him last week for the first time.

Stephen struck me as anything but hateful. He came across as gentle, albeit fervent like most evangelicals (although he doesn't admit the label, calling himself a simple Bible Christian). Moreover, he expressed genuinely felt concern for the emotional, spiritual and physical welfare of those who practice the homosexual lifestyle. I think part of the problem was the fact that the theological vocabulary between Catholics and Protestants has evolved differently since the Reformation. So quite often things that are understood or interpreted one way by one, are misinterpreted another way by the other.

However, there is one thing Catholics and evangelicals share besides their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. And that is a 100 percent conviction rate before Canada's human rights tribunals on Section 13.1 cases. The legal persecution makes no distinction among Christians.

Which is why I felt it important that others see this side of Stephen Boissoin - the side many have neither seen nor heard because their impressions of him are drawn from secondary sources. These sources are not always sympathetic or balanced. I am grateful to Stephen for graciously accepting the invitation for an audio interview and podcast.

It lasted for a little over half-an-hour. I am currently breaking it down to four parts, converting to video so that I can upload it to YouTube, and will be posting it to Catholic Light as it is uploaded.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

This morning's Catholic Exchange carries a story about the recent Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) decision against Stephen Boissoin, an evangelical youth minister who during Canada's debate over same-sex marriage wrote a strongly-worded letter to the editor denouncing homosexuality.

For this he was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine to the complainant, never again speak about the subject, and apologize. This last requirement is chilling when one considers that not even Canada's most notorious serial murderer-rapists, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, were ordered to apologize to the families of their teenage victims. You can read the whole story here.

I would not be surprised if this case will be used as a precedent in the Fr. de Valk case, which is still being investigated. You can read more about Father's case here and here.

Additionally, today's Washington Times reports on last week's provincial human rights tribunal hearing against Maclean's magazine for having published an excerpt from Mark Steyn's America Alone. You can read that story here and here.

Many Americans are familiar with Mark Steyn's current run-in with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. One of the most fascinating commentators on this controversy has been Tarek Fatah, a Muslim-Canadian author, activist and one of the founders of the Muslim Canadian Congress. He is well-known to Canadians who follow this controversy as a civil libertarian and a leading voice of Muslim moderates in Canada. He is also known to journalists as a candid interview.

Fatah's position on the Steyn case is unique to many who have expressed strong opinions. He disagrees vehemently with Steyn and his book America Alone, against which the Muslim author has leveled some pointed criticisms. However, Fatah also publicly defends Steyn's right to voice his opinions. As a best-selling Canadian author himself, Fatah has spared no criticism of the Muslim activists who denounced Steyn before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

While I may not agree with everything Fatah says in this interview, I felt it was important to offer his words unedited (except for a brief exchange in the middle, where a friend or family member chances in on the interview without realizing it). He offers some excellent insights and definitely lives up to his reputation for candor. That, and a fine sense of humor as he compares Canada's human rights commissioners to angry mall cops and dares Canadian Islam's more fundamentalist elements to drag him before the tribunal.

Please note that while the following is audio only.

Interview with Tarek Fatah, part 1

Interview with Tarek Fatah, part 2


Only in Canada would a internationally-renown political writer like Mark Steyn be investigated for alleged hate speech because of a third-party posting on what appears to be the Catholic Answers web forum:

Click here for details.

From today's Washington Times:

The debate over denial of Communion to pro-choice Roman Catholic politicians was rekindled last month when Bishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., told Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from partaking in the sacrament.

Similar actions by Catholic bishops in the past have led to strong debate among canon lawyers - those who function within the church's internal legal system.

As Bishop Naumann joins the chorus of American bishops refusing Communion to wayward politicians, a new consensus is emerging among canon lawyers on the topic, which reached a boiling point four years ago surrounding Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Mrs. Sebelius, a Democrat, has been the subject of much speculation as a potential vice-presidential pick for Sen. Barack Obama.

"Eight or 10 years ago, when people first started advocating on this, they were voices crying in the wilderness," says the Rev. Francis G. Morrisey, a retired professor of canon law at St. Paul University and one of the most respected canon lawyers in North America. "What we're seeing is a consensus emerge; it's more of a discussion now than a debate."

Father Morrisey, who long had been among the most vocal opponents of denying Communion to politicians, admits that his thinking on the subject has shifted substantially, although he still does not think Communion should be denied in every case.

"It is very rare that truth is in the extremes," he says. "We have to look at the individual conscience of each politician, and just when a person has overstepped the line."

Read the whole article here.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Pete Vere in June 2008.

Pete Vere: May 2008 is the previous archive.

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