A Catholic magazine in Canada faces severe legal attack and possible censorship after a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleged it made derogatory comments about homosexuals.
In February 2007 Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that Catholic Insight had targeted homosexuals as a powerful menace and innately evil, claiming it used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.”
Catholic Insight responded to these charges in its January 2008 issue, saying the complaint consists of “three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context.” Catholic Insight continued, saying, “these isolated quotes are not meaningful without the contexts of the articles themselves from which they were culled; in fact, most of them are even out of context from the sentences from which they were taken.”
“C.I. regards all of these charges as unfounded and made with the intent to harass. It intends to defend itself vigorously should the CHRC proceed. The magazine has continually emphasized that, with the respect to homosexual activity, it follows the guidance of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has made clear that persons with same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity and that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
The magazine also reiterated its support for Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, noting its long-time coverage of the political manifestations of the issue. “From its beginning in 1993, the magazine has traced and exposed homosexual activists for their attacks against Christians defending the traditional order in law and society and their use of derogatory language against all who stand in their way,” the magazine said.
The human rights complaints process in Canada currently funds the legal costs of complainants, but defendants must pay for expenses out of pocket. Rules of evidence for criminal court proceedings are also not followed in human rights hearings.
Catholic Insight said that the complainant Wells had also sought to shut down other websites, and had targeted Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party. The magazine reported Gray’s claims that in his conversations with the CHRC, an official of the agency had admitted to him that the Human Rights Act is about censorship.
Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said he never imagined the human rights commissions would be used to undermine freedom of speech. He said that acting as censors was “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions.”
In a Catholic Insight editorial, the magazine said, “Today, Catholic Insight magazine has also become a victim of the new anti-religion. We, too, have been denounced to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa for speaking out against the activists who agitated for adding so-called sexual orientation to the Hate Crimes Act in 2003 and the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in 2005. The politically correct activists brook no opposition.”