Zealots too quick to complain to human rights commissions
Sat, February 9, 2008
By MICHAEL COREN
"I hate therefore I am."
The rallying cry of self-justifying liberals as they run to human rights commissions with complaints or to the courts with their latest hate crimes prosecution. The comfortable lords of the umbrage industry, demanding that if anyone offends them in any way they must pay and pay again.
We've heard a great deal recently about various Muslim activists taking journalists Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn to assorted human rights commissions because the two men indulged in that age-old sin of informed and moderate free expression.
But it would be unfair to label Muslim radicals as the only or the loudest of censors.
Islamic zealots have merely taken a lesson from other groups, in particular those from the Jewish and gay communities. Numerous Jewish leaders somehow thought it a good idea to prosecute Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, thus transforming a fringe madman into an international icon. They have targeted numerous neo-Nazis and like-minded twits and vociferously supported the introduction of hate-crimes legislation.
Gay organizations joined in the censorship festival and have tried and often succeeded in silencing and fining teachers, printers, social workers, priests, ministers, nurses, journalists, politicians and any number of other people for expressing criticism of some aspect of homosexuality or homosexual life.
Just last week it was announced that there would be a second hate crimes prosecution of former native leader David Ahenakew, who in 2002 made repugnant remarks about Jews. He lost his Order of Canada, lost his position, lost his standing. Which is just as it should be. Ostracize and reject bigots and thugs.
This latest litigation comes about because an initial hate crimes conviction was overturned on appeal. So we waste even more public tax dollars and court time trying to convict Ahenakew again. Yet we already know he's a racist and a buffoon.
All that might be achieved by this nonsense is that people might begin to have sympathy for someone they increasingly perceive as a broken and beaten old man.
The courts should have nothing at all to do with one person's hate or dislike of another. It is simply none of their business. If someone assaults a person, prosecute him. If someone calls for a person to be assaulted, prosecute him, under the long-standing criminal code. If someone says nasty things about a person, ignore him.
Ahenakew's comments were genuinely ugly and ignorant, whereas Steyn was providing comment on geopolitics and Levant printing cartoons of international importance. The point, however, is that when the state is allowed to judge speech and decide whether it is acceptable, use is just as bad as abuse. In other words, the very process is as malicious as any verdict.
If there is any doubt, ask Catholic Insight magazine. A gay activist was so hurt by the monthly journal's comments about homosexuality that he read numerous editions of the magazine, assembled a whole collection and sent them to a human rights commission.
GAYS AND CATHOLICS
Common sense cries out to be heard! The publication is Catholic and therefore reflects Catholic teaching concerning sexuality. Thus it may not be pleasant reading for gay people.
The solution is simple. If you're gay, don't read Catholic Insight. Even hate Catholic Insight if you want. But don't try to silence Catholic Insight.
We're liked and disliked, love or hated. Only the truly neurotic think it could ever be otherwise. Only the truly intolerant would have the state try to enforce it.