The concept of a "hate crime" has a special place in the idiocy of political correctness. We have had to put up with all sorts of nonsense forced upon us by the pressure of special interest groups but the idea a crime is somehow made worse by the intent of the criminal is absurd in the extreme. Among the many problems with attempting to explore a criminal’s motivation is that law enforcement and courts have to become psychologists to determine whether a hate crime has been committed. But far worse is the politically correct expansion of what can be construed as a hate crime.
In Canada a priest is being investigated as a potential criminal under a federal "hate crimes" law for quoting from the Bible, and he's being targeted using a Canadian provision under which no defendant ever has been acquitted, according to a new report. A canon lawyer and Catholic journalist, Pete Vere, has reported the prosecution of Father Alphonse de Valk, a pro-life activist, by the Canadian Human Rights Commission – "a quasi-judicial investigative body with the power of the Canadian government behind it" – (see CatholicExchange.com).
As reported by WorldNet Daily, according to Vere, "Father defended the [Catholic] Church's teaching on marriage during Canada's same-sex 'marriage' debate, quoting extensively from the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II's encyclicals. Each of these documents contains official Catholic teaching. And like millions of other people throughout the world and the ages – many of whom are non-Catholics and non-Christians — Father believes that marriage is an exclusive union between a man and a woman."
This case is reminiscent of the problem facing columnist and author Mark Steyn, and Maclean's magazine which published an excerpt from his "America Alone" book, is on trial before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for similar "offenses." Faisal Joseph, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Steyn dispute, said in a LifeSiteNew.com report, "We know under the Supreme Court of Canada [and] under tribunals of this country that there are reasonable limits [to freedom of expression.]"
In the Steyn case it is asserted that he depicted Muslims as "a violent people" with a religion that is "violent." This apparently came as a shock to Canadian authorities who must have lived in a cave inaccessible to news of the past 30 years and of Islamic history.
In the case of Father Alphonse de Valk the question is raised whether Canada now considers morality a "hate crime." Peter Vere asks "If one, because of one's sincerely held moral beliefs, whether it be Jew, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, opposes the idea of same-sex marriage in Canada, is that considered 'hate'?". It seems that Vere got a response from Mark van Dusen, a spokesman for the federal human rights prosecution office; it is shocking:
"We investigate complaints; we don't set public policy or moral standards. We investigate complaints based on the circumstances and the details outlined in the complaint. And … if … upon investigation, deem that there is sufficient evidence, then we may forward the complaint to the tribunal, but the hate is defined in the Human Rights Act under section 13-1. Our job is to look at it, compare it to the act, to accumulate case law, tribunal and court decisions that have reflected on hate and decide whether to advance the complaint, dismiss it or whether there is room for a settlement between parties."
What is amazing is the admission that unjustified complaints are subject to a decision as to whether a case will be brought; this means a case can be dismissed, yet the case against de Valk has continued now for more than six months.
"In other words" wrote Vere (according to WMD), "individual Jews, Muslims, Catholics and other Christians who, for reasons of conscience, hold to their faith's traditional teaching concerning marriage, could very well be guilty of promoting hate in Canada. The same is true of any faith community in Canada that does not embrace this modern redefinition of one of the world's oldest institutions – a redefinition that even the highly secularist France rejects."
The "Catholic Insight" magazine that "bases itself on the Church's teaching and applies it to various circumstances in our time," is accused by a homosexual of promoting "extreme hatred and contempt". The priest is simply following the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II's encyclicals. "Each of these documents contains official Catholic teaching. And like millions of other people throughout the world and the ages – many of whom are non-Catholics and non-Christians — Father believes that marriage is an exclusive union between a man and a woman.”
WMD points out that these cases are not the only ones dealing with complaints of alleged hate crimes, other cases already have substantiated the Canadian precedent that Christian beliefs can be evidence for convictions.
A Knights of Columbus council was fined in 2005 more than $1,000 for refusing to allow its facility to be used for a lesbian "wedding," and before that printer Scott Brockie was fined $5,000 for declining to print homosexual-themed stationery. In Saskatchewan, Hugh Owens was fined thousands of dollars for quoting Bible verses in a newspaper and London, Ontario, Mayor Diane Haskett was fined $10,000 for refusing to proclaim a homosexual pride day.
WMD also notes the situation has been described by Bishop Fred Henry as "a new form of censorship and thought control." Those are the same words leading Christians in the United States have used to describe the most recent "hate crimes" plan before the U.S. Congress, which specifically targeted for elimination criticism of alternative sexual lifestyles.
The net affect in the Steyn case and the other cases described is that a Canadian human rights tribunal now has the ability to prosecute a case against an American citizen based upon what he wrote and other expressions of faith posted to a mainstream American Catholic website. What passes for mainstream Catholic discussion is now the basis for a hate complaint in Canada.
Although the legal actions taken in Canada are reprehensible, the United States is not immune to such absurdity either. There was a case in New Mexico where a photographer fined $6,600 for refusing to meet the demands of a lesbian to take pictures at a "wedding."
Perhaps the worst of all is that California has enacted a state law banning the introduction of anything but "positive" information about alternative sexual lifestyles, including homosexuality, in its public schools.
It has also been reported a verbal dispute between two men on a street in Champaign, Ill., resulted in a self-proclaimed homosexual facing no charges while the other, an 18-year-old Christian student, is facing felony "hate crimes" counts.
Is Canadian law discriminating against people on the basis of their religious faith, or even against God himself, who gave us the laws to live by? Will the politically correct leftists in the United States succeed in duplicating here the Canadian hate crimes model, just as they would with health care?