Offensive speech won't be hushed

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Charlie Butts (

A Canadian man has won the latest round in court battles to obtain free speech. His crime was saying something that offended a longtime liberal advocate.

Pastor Stephen Boisson wrote letters to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate, expressing his Christian views on homosexual behavior. But University of Calgary professor Dr. Darren Lund reported Boissoin to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, accusing him of violating the law because jos letters were published.

The Commission then ordered the pastor to stop expressing his views on the subject "for the rest of his life," according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, that he pay Lund $5,000, and that he provide a written apology to the offended professor, even though Boisson and Lund did not know each other, and even though the pastor's writings did not target Lund.

The case worked its way through the system, with Alberta's highest court ruling in favor of Boisson, saying the letters constituted an expression of opinion not likely to expose homosexuals to hatred or contempt within the meaning of the law. So he was cleared of a charge of supposed "hate speech."

Bull, Benjamin (ADF)Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Benjamin Bull adds the court was critical of the law, and he believes that ought to be the end of the matter.

"Because the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the lower court's decision, it's going to be extremely difficult for religious or political debate to be found in breach of Alberta's human rights laws," the attorney asserts.

Lund's biography notes his research that "examines social justice activism in schools and communities" and mentions his "ongoing community work against hate speech," which has "resulted in national and international media coverage" and made him the "target of nuisance lawsuits, ongoing hate mail, and death threats."

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