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Gay Rights v. Freedom of Speech. And the Winner Is?

This article has made Mark Steyn a criminal… at least, according to the Canadian Islamic Congress. The author is currently being tried in Canada for hate speech. The article in question was adapted from Steyn’s best-seller, America Alone, and published in Maclean’s, Canada’s leading news weekly. It argues that Western society is being threatened by Muslim immigration.

In a press release, Faisal Joseph, an attorney representing the complainants, said, “This article completely misrepresents Canadian Muslims’ values, their community, and their religion. We feel that it is imperative to challenge Maclean’s biased portrayal of Muslims in order to protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance.” It’s good to know there’s people out there protecting our “multiculturalism and tolerance.”

Americans — specifically of the religious kind — should take notice. What with the California Supreme Court overturning the ban on gay marriage, we’re on a similar crash course.

For instance, several weeks ago Alberta’s human rights commission issued this order against a Christian pastor named Rev. Stephen Boission who openly opposes the homosexual lifestyle and agenda. Paragraph 357 of the substantive ruling (which can be found here), states that “fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion, the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression… does not trump… protection against hatred and contempt.” In other words, the right to not be offended “trumps the freedom of speech.”

Get Religion observes a similar trend sweeping the USA:

Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its dormitory for married couples. A Lutheran school has been sued for expelling two lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned adoptions services in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case and a doctor who refused to provide in vitro fertilization to a lesbian in California is likely to lose his case before the California Supreme Court.

At issue are two fundamental rights: “Human rights” and “freedom of speech.” Few of us would deny any group (Muslims or homosexuals) either right. However, what’s thrown a monkey wrench into the debate is the newly framed concept of hate speech. Somehow, opposition to a group / religion / lifestyle has come to mean “hate” and, thus, is a violation of one’s civil right. Now with “Gay rights” thrust back into the fore of the debate, opponents could be facing a difficult battle. However, in this debate, it’s Christians who appear to have the most to lose.

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