The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that biblical speech opposing homosexual behavior, including in written form, is essentially a hate crime.
According to this report, the court upheld the conviction of Christian fundamentalist William Whatcott, who found himself in hot water after distributing flyers regarding the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality throughout the Saskatoon and Regina neighborhoods in 2001 and 2002.
One flyer that was found to be in violation stated, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9:
The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination. Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.
Another flyer, entitled Keep Homosexuality Out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools, was written in response to the recommendation of the Saskatoon School Board that the subject of homosexuality be included in school curriculum.
The Supreme Court declared the document to be unlawful because it called the homosexual acts that would be taught to children “filthy,” and contended that children are more interested in playing Ken and Barbie than:
Learning how wonderful it is for two men to sodomize each other.
The justices ruled that because the use of the word “sodomy” only referred to “two men” and not also the sex acts of heterosexuals, it was a direct target against a specific group of people.
Whatcott had distributed the flyers over a decade ago to raise awareness of his paranoia about both gayl parades in Canada, as well as the vulnerability of children in a culture that promotes homosexuality.
However, when Canada’s Human Rights Commission found out about the matter, they took him to court, citing him with a hate crime.
The Supreme Court noted in its opinion, among other concerns, that Whatcott’s use of the Bible to target homosexuals was a problem. It ruled:
[Whatcott's] expression portrays the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to the negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.
It pointed back to the lower court ruling, which asserted:
While the courts cannot be drawn into the business of attempting to authoritatively interpret sacred texts such as the Bible, those texts will typically have characteristics which cannot be ignored if they are to be properly assessed in relation to … the [Hate Crimes] Code.
The judges did note, however, that:
It would only be unusual circumstances and context that could transform a simple reading or publication of a religion’s holy text into what could objectively be viewed as hate speech.
Whatcott has now been ordered to pay $7,500 to two gay people who took offence at his flyers, as well as to pay the legal fees of the Human Rights Commission – which could cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The bigot moaned:
The ruling and the reasoning [of the court] is terrible,. They actually used the concept that truth is not a defence.
It’s worse than I expected. What it means is that my life is over as I know it.
According to this report, Whatcott described the ruling as as "rubbish", and said the ruling criminalises a large part of Christian speech on homosexuality and morality.
Unapologetic, he suggested he may put out another flyer on expressing that viewpoint and it will be written in what he calls his usual blunt and forthright manner.