Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 29, 2003
Hate law passes
By ART BABYCH
"Scaring people into silence in the midst of the marriage debate is wrong, and an affront to free speech."
- Derek Rogusky
Focus on the Family vice-president Derek Rogusky said Bill C-250 would have only one effect - to jeopardize free speech. "Scaring people into silence in the midst of the marriage debate is wrong, and an affront to free speech," he said.
Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said that under the legislation, "those who publicly oppose the Liberal plan to encode same-sex 'marriage' in law risk criminal prosecution."
Some religious groups fear that the bill will lead to charges that the Bible is hate literature because it condemns homosexuality. MP Svend Robinson, who introduced the bill, dismisses the suggestion, saying his bill, "in no way limits or threatens the freedom of religious expression or religious texts."
But many of the groups opposed to the legislation are not convinced.
"We are aware that the supporters of this bill suggest that this concern is without legal foundation but, given the challenges to religious freedom in the last few years, we are not willing to rely on these assurances," the CCCB said in a letter sent to federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon in April.
Newfoundland Liberal MP John Efford, however, believes Robinson's bill will not protect religious leaders who preach against homosexuality from the pulpit.
Assurances from Justice Minister Martin Cauchon that no charges would be laid against such preachers if they acted "in good faith" was not good enough, said Efford, who voted against the bill. "There's not enough assurance that they could not be charged."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.