Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unmuzzle Stephen Boissoin

canada_boissoin In late November 2007, the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) ruled that Pastor Stephen Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition (CCC) violated Alberta's human rights law by publishing a letter in a local newspaper that was "likely to expose homosexuals to hatred or contempt because of their sexual preference" (click here for more information). On May 30, in the penalty phase of the proceedings, the AHRC ruled that Boissoin and CCC must pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal's decision to side with the complainant, homosexual activist Darren Lund (to view the full ruling, click here).

The ruling also ordered Boissoin and CCC to cease publishing "disparaging remarks" about homosexuals in the future in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet. Furthermore, Boissoin was ordered to publicly apologize to Lund in a local newspaper statement.

Boissoin has publicly stated that he "will never offer an apology" and has appealed the ruling. His court appearance is scheduled for September 16-17 (click here to download the legal brief). As is to be expected in a case that has dragged on for seven years, his court costs have accumulated to over $150,000.  You can make a donation to his legal costs online by going to http://www.stephenboissoin.com/.  I know that I am planning to.

muzzlePlease remember this case in prayer.  Pray that Mr. Boissoin’s lawyers will get a fair hearing and that his appeal will be successful.

This is an important case for freedom of expression and belief here in Canada.  Mr. Boissoin has been effectively muzzled by a quasi-legal body for the rest of his life from ever expressing his biblically-based views on homosexuality. In what is reminiscent of Soviet show trials, he is also being forced to publicly apologize for a crime he claims never to have committed.  This kind of ruling cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. 

2 comments:

mbrandon8026 said...

Good post on Stephen Boissoin.

I have over 50 posts that are either about this case, breaking down the case or its appeal, or commenting on facets of its since this spring on my own blog

http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/

This qualifies as a persecution of the Church, and deserves our attention.

Thank you for giving it yours.

Mark Zamen said...

This ruling and penalty against Boissoin does indeed set a dangerous precedent, and I hope his appeal is successful. I realize this conflict is taking place outside the U.S. and therefore our First Amendment doesn't enter into the equation; I do, however, believe in free expression - even when I heartily disagree with the message, as I do in this case. Intolerance of variant lifestyles and the ostracism that results can wreak havoc in the life of someone who is truly a very decent person. Sexual orientation is but one facet among many of an individual. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay Mormon man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others, including co-religionists). More information on the book is available at www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

Mark Zamen, author