Friday, October 28, 2011

Defining Freedom

In Regina both the definition of hateful speech and freedom of speech are on trial along with Bill Whatcott, a fundamentalist Christian who has concluded that it is mission in life to publicly condemn homosexuality. Whatcott has been charged by the Saskatchewan human rights commission with hate speech, which is illegal. Whatcott and his lawyer, Tom Shuck are arguing that he has the right to express a traditional Christian tenet that homosexuality violates God's law.

"The problem that I have and many others in the Christian community (have), is that this law is being used to charge Christians - Christians who have a different view as to what is right and wrong on sexual behaviour and in particular same-sex sexual behaviour," Schuck said Friday in a phone interview from his office in Weyburn, Sask.

"The argument is that our Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, gives all Canadians the freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion. And the utilization of human rights commissions to stop someone from saying that same-sex sexual activity is wrong infringes on all three of those charter rights."

There are people who are defending Whatcott's right to pass out his pamphlets and walk around with his placards even though they vehemently disagree with his views. They see this as fundamental (no pun intended) in a free and democratic society. My feeling is that his actions are not consistent with the gospel, and every freedom has its limits, but I am conflicted on this one.

Have you followed this story? Where are you on this one?


sjd said...

Freedom of speech is our right. We also have the freedom to disagree.

It's too bad that a guy like this gets headlines, so it makes the rest of us Christians look bad.

johnny said...

It does seem we come across individuals who are pushing the limits on freedom of speech. It's a slippery slope. Just where do we draw the line?

I suppose in an ideal world, individuals like Whatcott could express their thoughts and hopefully get laughed off as an extremist and not be taken seriously.

The unfortunate part is that many people are easily swayed by media, and giving this guy attention could result in some people believing this guy is right.

janet.rice said...

Check out Globe & Mail Oct 27 Letters to the Editor, specifically Sacred Sapaces written by Rev. Linda C. Hunter, Wild Rose United, Calgary.

Anonymous said...

A few years back now I joined a bible study group that I thought would be much like the group I had left behind when I moved here. To my horror, after a few visits with this group, they began talking about how the Holocaust was God's way of doing a little housekeeping. The Mel Gibson version of the Passion was just out and they wanted me to watch it with them, so I could see with my own eyes what the jews did to Jesus. When I tried to speak my own mind, the man whoes home it was slammed his fist against the table and became very animated. A relative of his who I was told was the pastor's wife took my hand and attempted to comfort me with her wisdom on the acceptance of unpleasant and unpopular beliefs. To make matters worse I had to get a ride home from another member who spoke to me about saving my children from my own 'wishy washy' Christianity all the way home. When I see things like this on the news I am reminded of this, and quite frankly these people scare me, and I have met some pretty scary folk along the way. I also have a story about some Christian chickens raised with a wholesome dose of homophobia, another story inspired by the same bible study group. It was a hairy ride. The link is

sjd said...

Some people can be very old testement. I'm currently reading the book of Numbers. God was pretty angry back then with the wholy destruction, burning of cities and villages, kill every man, woman, and child, because God has given this land unto you??
Recently when visiting my parents we went to a baptist service. It was very unbaptits. The pastor was lead guitar, his wife lead vocal, 2 sons and a daughter on drums base and keyboard. Definately going for a younger audience.
What I found really interesting was the message. The sermon was about all the rules in the old testement. Hundreds of them, and you had to follow or else! But when Jesus died he took all our sins, so now you don't have any rules. You can always be saved on matter what.
I know we can always be forgiven, but he made it sound like a free pass.
Everyone has a different view I guess.

Laura said...

The teens are exploring that on Sunday...SJD.
Rules and grace and...???
We will look at the lectionary passage , Matt. 23: 1-12,about "walking our talk" and then look into Paul's letter to the Romans for living with God's spirit in us, rather than like the Pharisees, who seemed more worried about the letter of God's law, than the spirit.
The "letter" and "spirit" of freedom of speech, and God's laws both seem blurred in this case in Regina.