Canadian Supreme Court Rules Biblical Speech Opposing Homosexual Behavior is a ‘Hate Crime’

Ottawa, Ontario – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Biblical speech opposing homosexual behavior, including in written form, is essentially a hate crime.

On Wednesday, the court upheld the conviction of activist William Whatcott, who found himself in hot water after distributing flyers regarding the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality throughout the Saskatoon and Regina neighborhoods in 2001 and 2002. The 7-judge panel consisted of Justices Beverly McLachlin, Louis LeBel, Marie Deschamps, Morris Fish, Rosalie Abellia, Marshall Rothstein and Thomas Cromwell.

“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” one flyer that was found to be in violation stated, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Another flyer, entitled Keep Homosexuality Out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools, was written in response to the recommendation of the Saskatoon School Board that homosexuality be included in school curriculum. The Supreme Court declared the document to be unlawful because it called the homosexual acts that would be taught to children “filthy,” and contended that children are more interested in playing Ken and Barbie than “learning how wonderful it is for two men to sodomize each other.” The justices ruled that because the use of the word “sodomy” only referred to “two men” and not also the sex acts of heterosexuals, it was a direct target against a specific group of people.

Two other flyers that expressed outrage at the male solicitation of sex with boys in a local publication were not found to be in violation of the statute, in part because Whatcott’s citation of Luke 17:2 was not clear on whether it only referred to homosexuals. The verse, which he had handwritten on the handouts, quotes from Jesus Christ.

“If you cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone was tied around your neck and you were cast into the sea,” it read.

The court insinuated that the Scripture could have been an issue like the other references if used in a way to pertain solely to homosexual persons.

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Whatcott had distributed the flyers over a decade ago to raise awareness of his concerns about both the homosexual parades in Canada, as well as the vulnerability of children in a culture that promotes homosexuality. However, when Canada’s Human Rights Commission found out about the matter, they took him to court, citing him with a hate crime.

The Supreme Court noted in its opinion, among other concerns, that Whatcott’s use of the Bible to target homosexuals was a problem.

“[Whatcott's] expression portrays the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to the negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred,” the panel ruled on Wednesday.

It pointed back to the lower court ruling, which asserted, “While the courts cannot be drawn into the business of attempting to authoritatively interpret sacred texts such as the Bible, those texts will typically have characteristics which cannot be ignored if they are to be properly assessed in relation to … the [Hate Crimes] Code.”

The judges did note, however, that “it would only be unusual circumstances and context that could transform a simple reading or publication of a religion’s holy text into what could objectively be viewed as hate speech.”

Commentator Andrew Coyne noted that the wording of Canada’s hate crimes law is problematic because it leaves much discretion in the hands of law enforcement.

“The code itself outlaws material that ‘exposes or tends to expose to hatred’ any person or group, on the usual list of prohibited grounds. It is not necessary, that is, to show the material in question actually exposes anyone to hatred — only that it might,” he advised. “The Court then upholds the ban on the grounds that the hatred to which individuals might or might not be exposed might in turn lead others to believe things that might cause them to act in certain unspecified but clearly prejudicial ways: it ‘has the potential to incite or inspire discriminatory treatment,’ or ‘risks’ doing so, or is ‘likely’ to, or at any rate ‘can.’”

Whatcott has now been ordered to pay $7,500 to two homosexuals who took offense at his flyers, as well as to pay the legal fees of the Human Rights Commission — which could cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The ruling and the reasoning [of the court] is terrible,” he told reporters. “They actually used the concept that truth is not a defense.”

“It’s worse than I expected,” Whatcott added. “What it means is that my life is over as I know it.”

A much different ruling came out of the Alberta Court of Appeals last October, as Pastor Stephen Boissoin was likewise facing hate crimes charges for submitting an op-ed to a local newspaper that outlined his beliefs about homosexual behavior. In releasing its opinion, the court said that Boissoin had a right to express his beliefs on matters such as homosexuality as long as they were focused on a behavior and not a specific person.

“Matters of morality, including the perceived morality of certain types of sexual behavior, are topics for discussion in the public forum. Frequently, expression on these topics arises from deep seated religious conviction, and is not always temperate,” the panel advised. “Boissoin and others have the freedom to think, whether stemming from their religious convictions or not, that  homosexuality is sinful and morally wrong. In my view, it follows that they have the right to express that thought to others.”

However, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Wednesday that oftentimes, it is impossible to say that one loves the sinner and hates the sin. It asserted that the hatred of the act was inseparable from hating the person or person group.

“I agree that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour can be differentiated for certain purposes,” the court outlined. “However, in instances where hate speech is directed toward behaviour in an effort to mask the true target, the vulnerable group, this distinction should not serve to avoid [the hate-crime clause of the Code].”

While speech opposing homosexuality remains legal in the United States, some note that the nation is heading in the same direction as Canada, as discrimination laws are being enforced by state Human Rights Commissions across the country.

A number of incidents have made headlines in recent years where American businesses have been punished for their refusal to accommodate the homosexual lifestyle, such as the story of a photographer in New Mexico that was forced to pay $700 in fines for declining to shoot a same-sex commitment service, to the Vermont bed and breakfast owners who settled a lawsuit with two lesbians who were told by an employee that they could not hold their commitment service on the property. A Kentucky t-shirt screening company was also recently punished for declining to complete a work order involving t-shirts that were to be worn at a local homosexual pride parade. 

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  • Washington DC Evangelists

    Can you post a copy of the flyers?

    • Jamie Blair


      Genesis 2:24
      Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

      Leviticus 18:22
      Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

      Leviticus 20:13
      If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-10
      9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

      10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

      Romans 1:26-32
      26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

      27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

      28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

      29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

      30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

      31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

      32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

      • Terri

        great post!

  • Enruobdar

    This is concerning and I think the ruling sets Canadian churches up for trouble potentially. But I am confused what Mr. Whatcott’s desire was in circulating those flyers? Perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t see how focusing on the Law here advances the cause of Gospel. Even if someone is “cut to the heart” and decides that their homosexual behaviour is sinful, they are still lost – broken and in bondage to sin. Not being a homosexual is not what grants us favor in the eyes of God – we only gain that by being aligned with His Son. Crucified with Him, raised with Him and conforming to His image by the power of His Spirit.

    • Jeremiah

      Sooooo, following your line of thinking, we should not tell people that the wages of sin is death? Part of repentance is realizing that your sin separates you from God. Part of repentance is being remorseful for your sin. The biblical fact that God calls the sin of homosexuality an abomination, makes it “technically” a worse sin. All sin is wrong, but God does not (to my knowledge) call fornication an abomination. I personally would not have said “abomination” unless pressed on the issue, i.e “christians” who say that homosexuality and a homosexual lifestyle is accepted by God.

  • Alin

    This is crazy. What are they going to do next, ban the bible. It is filled with hate speech by their definition. My goodness!

    • Garrett

      They need to ban the bible. Religion is a disgrace for human nature. You can worship what you please, but when it denies rights for others, you’ve gone to far.

    • Lizzy

      But it is filled with so much hate. The Old Testament is rife with genocide, persecution, murder, misogyny, slavery, racism, infanticide, rape, and so much more.

      But then in the New Testament, we are told that Jesus died for our sins. The Original Sin has long since been forgiven. He teaches us to love one another, to treat each other with kindness and charity. That we don’t need to sacrifice to or for God, nor give pittance and tithe to the temples and churches. That when we pray, that we pray in solitude and know that God will hear our prayers and not be like the hypocrites who preach and pray to the public. And that above all, in order to walk with God, we basically just have to be good people and follow His (Jesus) example.

      For far too long, people have been cloaking their hatred and bigotry under the guise of religion. Bigotry and hate in the name of God is still bigotry and hate.

  • Phyllis

    The day Christians get it right in their own home, God will take care of the sinner!

    Apostle Paul makes it most clear the role of men, women, and children as individuals, as a family and as a church. After that, the rest is easy.

    Start with taking the feminist philosophy out of the church and see how following God’s order opens his storehouse of love and mercy for all.

    When Christians talk and walk God’s way, then we will hear from heaven and He will HEAL our LAND (even the sinner knows right from wrong and will sooner respect our faith when we follow God’s teachings as it was and is).

    Today’s sinful laws and acts are a reflection of today’s liberal Christian behviours within the body of Christ.

    We must humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways. Yes, covering our heads, ladies, is humbling but it works.

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    1 Cornithians 6: 8-10
    1 Cornithians 11: 2-16
    1 Corinthians 14:33-39
    Ephesians 6:1-4
    Ephesians 5:23-28
    1 Corinthians 11: 10
    Revelations 2:20-23
    Revelations 2: 4-5
    Revelations 22: 12-17

  • Douglas McIntyre

    As one who lived the gay experience for over 25 years and has now lived the freedom that comes from allowing the life changing power of God for another 25 years. My fear is, that the truth of the possibilities of gender identity change are being silenced by those that demand the most tolerance, intolerance will lead to the harming of thousands of youth that could and , in many cases do, find freedom from the lies of those that want only to justify their “lifestyle. The scientific evidence is already available that proves that sexuality is fluid and no one is forever locked in a life without choice. The argument now has evolved down to “it’ my way or no way.” Without calling insults upon anyone the is freedom for all to choose. but choice is now a “hate crime” I guess I will choose to continue to be hated and state emphatically that change is possible!

    Co-founder of one of the oldest ministries for allowing freedom to change from SSA to “normal”

    • phyllis

      Yes, the bible teaches we have a choice– to choose right or wrong as seen in how Jesus said you will have no cloak to hide under. The people who thought Moses wasn’t coming back from Mount Sinai got the shock of their lives, literally, when they had to decide which side they were on, and those who chose sin went under. When laws take away our choice, they take away our ability to think, reason and decide. Yes, now choice (deciding right from wrong) is a “hate crime”. So it seems, Christians will soon have to die for what we believe in… “Matthew 10:39 –Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake (Jesus), will find it.”

  • jini

    If Canadian law doesn’t protect individual liberty, and only that which promotes “the greater good” to society, then what, pray tell, does Homosexuality offer in that regard? We need to ask ourselves the same question here in the USA.

  • Marc

    Maybe instead of only distributing flyers that say “The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination”, now it’s time Christians also start distributing flyers that say: “The supreme court is an abomination”

  • Gary

    We don’t seem to learn very well (mankind) do we , God created everything and if his word says homosexuality is an abomination then that’s exactly what it is . Man makes rules to suite himself (condition , ideals , gain etc)
    We repeat our mistakes over and over , over thousands of years but when we submit to Almighty God and live by His rules we do exceedingly well.
    God Bless .

  • Charles Lawson

    The only way to define human sexuality properly is in context of Genesis. The difficulty is that we said there is no God and that we all evolved from some stagnant pond 4.5 billion years ago. With evolution as the premise and man’s dignity trashed by a supposed animal origin, why wouldn’t society come to the conclusion of the courts today? There can be no sanctity of the marriage institution or human sexuality as defined by evolution.
    The other premise that one commits a “hate” crime for stating his religious belief sounds a bit like the inquisition to me. No one is ever prosecuted for hating anyone. It is only when a person personally harms an individual that we can punish him for his incivility. If we ever accept this premise that the courts have settled on, society is in deep trouble. Anyone can take offence at anything someone else says and file law suits and destroy lives. In this age of “tolerance” we have become the most intolerant society in the history of the world excepting the Dark Ages when Church controlled the state. Why can’t Christian take evolutionists to court for maligning their religious beliefs. Certainly, there are hundreds of examples of the Creationist’s views being openly attacked. Atheists could sue any pastor who preaches a sermon about the wicked receiving the punishment of God. The secularist could sue the pants off Christians for telling them they are lost and going to hell. Free speech means just what it says. If we allow the courts to restrict this liberty in this one area, they will grasp the reigns of society and stop our mouths from saying anything against anyone about anything.

  • http://yahoo Bayo A. Atayero

    I am not surprised by this development only that believers should grow up and wisen up to the fact that the Devil is already preparing the ground and reasons for our persecution come tomorrow. The futuro isn’t going to be palatable for the Christian committed to witnessing the truth as this may be subjected several other codes like the one referred to here.
    Meanwhile, the polución is going on and the Churchill is working actively in aiding and abetting the process. How do we reconcile this?

    But then, all of this happenings, and many more to come, point to the fact that we are in the end times and the perilous times are here. Christian must therefore be encouraged to develop God, preacher the gospel in season and out of season, evangelize through all know avenues of communication and of course stand for the truth for the Churchill is the pillar and ground of truth.

    The end is nearest so be ware!!

  • DS

    Move to the USA Bro!

    When a government loses its moral compass they become a tyranny.

    Jesus’s mom & dad moved to Egypt to escape a tyrant. You should too. Yeah, we’ve got one in office now, but he’ll be gone soon, as will his illegal policies.

  • MurrayC

    Hey,Christians, let me ask you a question…

    At which point in time did Christianity claim ownership of morality? Was it BEFORE or AFTER the Crusades when millions of non christians died, or was forced to convert to, in the name of your imaginary friend?

  • EarlC

    It’s about time!

  • max benser

    1. Genocide
    2. Hate
    3. Racism
    4. Vandalism
    5. MASS-Killing
    6. Wars
    7. Pedophily&Sex
    9. Superstition

    Atheist 100%!!!

  • max benser

    1. US-Town HARDESTY against Atheism!!!
    2. US-State Texas against Atheism!
    3. US-State California against american Atheists!
    4. Catholic-Nazi-State Croatia against croatian Atheists!
    5. Croatians News Paper wrote very bad about crim. Bible in Canada!
    6. Croatians and Serbs christian ideological War against Atheists!
    7. Serbs President T. Nikolic: “Atheists in Serbia are not a people”
    8. Serbia: “Kill Atheists” Luke 19:27.

    Atheist 100%!!!

    • Alexander

      What are you talking about?

      Atheists are surely much more violent than Christians… Anyway you look at it.

      Now please don’t mention inquisition and crusades, as that is so lame, and out of context.

  • swen

    Um, I am considering myself atheist, but I would leave bible alone.Koran has much worse things interpreted against all religions that are not following Koran.I think majority of priest do not read this parts of bible in Canada simply, I think religion has gone with times and do try to be politically correct.If those “hateful” parts are there, than ban other religions preachings verses not just Christians.