The rest of the story

As the dishonest campaign to defeat the Matthew Shepard Act continues to roll along, we have an update.

One of the tried and true hysteria-generators in this campaign is the citation (with lots of exclamation marks!!!) of various cases in which some brave religious leader is prosecuted for “preaching against homosexuality” …in some other country.

In one of these cases, a straight human rights activist lodged a complaint against the Rev. Stephen Boissoin for writing an (admittedly hateful) anti-gay letter. It is currently being heard before a Canadian human rights panel.

Here is what they are not telling you about this free speech case. In a campaign that accuses the GLBT community of “censoring the church,” this just seems to me to be an interesting piece of information to omit.

It seems that even the national gay advocacy organization EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere) is opposed to this prosecution, saying that Boissoin “has a right to express his opinions in the public arena, though it notes it vehemently disagrees with them.”

EGALE must recognize that the most effective approach to hateful and dishonest speech is to counter it with the truth, until such speech is no longer acceptable in civil discourse. And they managed to come to this conclusion even without being subject to our First Amendment.

Go figure.

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5 Responses to The rest of the story

  1. David says:

    It’s really a horrific letter, and that’s why I hold the editors of these newspapers accountable for explaining what they would and would not publish. Some things just don’t belong in a reputable newspaper. That’s why the KKK has to publish their own material and leave it on people’s lawns under the cover of darkness. They can’t send that stuff to the local paper and expect it to be accepted.

    A former colleague of Boissoin is quoted in an article about the case in the Red Deer Advocate (the same paper that published the letter in 2002).

    Janelle Dodd, who worked at the youth centre with Boissoin, said his letter caused a split in the community. Soon thereafter, the centre began losing funding and shut down several months later.

    Natural consequences of anti-social behavior.

  2. Stephen Boissoin says:

    Let’s set the record straight. My legal counsel felt that it was best that I not communicate with the media during the week of the Human Rights Tribunal. I expected the biased media slant but was further disheartened to see how badly they twisted my words and intentions. Instead of reporting accurately they relied on unsworn statements of individuals outside of the hearing. They printed as fact information that was demonstrably not true. They blended different answers from my testimony and took one liners from the letter to the editor that is being debated and made it look like I was bashing every and any homosexual. Until I read the July 21, 2007 editorial in the National Post titled “Alberta’s thought police” I was sure that the media’s goal was to misinform the public, distort my intentions and destroy my character. In the Post’s editorial they state the following, “We would urge that the claims against Mr. Boissoin be dismissed. The language in his letter is ugly, but judging from the controversial parts quoted in the press, he is angry with gay activism in schools and has little or nothing to say against gay adults who don’t promote their orientation by means of educational policy.” In addition to the predominantly biassed media coverage, the complainant wishes to falsely lead the public to believe that I simply chose to express that I hate homosexuals and called others to hate them. In order to bolster support for his views and political agenda, he wants you to believe that I am simply a hateful religious radical. This is far from the truth. I do not hate homosexuals at all and the only thing I am radical about is cheesecake. He even went as far as to insinuate that my political letter was intended to incite violence and capitalized on the assualt of a gay teen to further slander me and manipulate. Clearly, he has an agenda of his own. He distorts the facts and manipulates the media in order to achieve his goal. He avoids the reasons why I wrote my letter and repeats the same old mantra in order to seduce society into supporting him. My moral and political war was directed against those that are presently endeavouring to teach children and teenagers that homosexuality is “normal, necessary, acceptable and productive…” This was clearly outlined in my 2002 letter to the editor and repeatedly in my testimony at the hearing. This nation wide “activist” agenda has an initiative that aims to see our young people hold one pro-homosexual view. They are not providing these young people with the equal right to hold and express their own beliefs. Teenagers (in addition to educators) that believe that homosexuality is immoral are made to feel that they are being hateful. These teens are forced to remain silent about their view and like the complainant said about me, are told that they need to be re-educated for holding it. To conclude, hate my views even hate me if you like but at least be responsible enough to have weighed the facts. I do not hate anyone that claims that they are homosexual, bisexual or transgendered. I obviously disagree with the lifestyle and specifically hate the propagation of that lifestyle to impressionable children and teenagers, especially when my tax dollars are used to do so. I will contunue to speak out and stand against these initiatives. “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason. There can be no right of speech where any man is compelled to suppress his honest sentiments. Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Frederick DouglassIf you want to discuss my beliefs further or share your comments with me, email me at

  3. David says:

    Mr. Boissoin,

    You do realize that my post affirms your right to express your views, do you not? The point was that the target of your diatribe, a GLBT advocacy organization not unlike this one, came to your defense.

    I find your letter to be morally repugnant, an opinion that was only strengthened by my reading of the entire letter. It is patently offensive to community standards and should have raised red flags for any responsible editor.

    However, I do uphold your right to express your terribly misinformed ideas, because I think that the best antidote to offensive speech is more speech.

    Your views certainly do not spring from reason. Variability in sexual orientation and gender identity is simply a material fact, and part of the natural world that we live in. Students are entitled to knowledge about their world, and yes, I will defend that right just as fiercely as I will defend your right to be wrong.