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What free expression?

By Scott Carpenter
web posted July 2, 2001

It's difficult to laugh at stupidity but sometimes something comes along that's so ridiculous and absurd that you can't help but chuckle. Like the recent article in the Ottawa Citizen a friend recently e-mailed me that pertained to a religious ad in the Regina Leader Post which supposedly exposed gays to hatred. Not so funny? Well, it gets better so bear with me.

According to complainant, Gens Hellquist, the perpetrator of this 'hate crime,' one Hugh Owens, was "using [his] interpretation of the Bible to direct hatred towards me."

Not surprisingly the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission agreed and ordered "both the newspaper and Mr. Owens to pay the three complainants [yes, there were others] $1,500 each" for running an ad that made references to biblical passages that bore anti gay messages but no direct reference to Mr. Hellquist and crew.

And here's the funny part: on the home page of the SHRC web site we are told the sole purpose of their existence is to "eliminate discrimination and to promote the right to freedom of conscience and religious practice, the right to free expression and the right to free association."

So, according to the SHRC the way in which we eliminate discrimination and promote these three rights is to impose a restriction on Mr. Owen's freedom of speech, to punish the Regina Leader Post for freely associating with a paying customer and to curtail the public display of religious beliefs we don't agree with?

What fresh sweet hell is this and who in God's name is the dingbat who came up with this little gem of reason? Must of been a lawyer or possibly some asinine so called "Human Rights Organization".

I guess the point of this little diatribe is that you can't have freedom of speech without hearing a little hate, freedom of religion without hearing about the bible etc. and especially freedom of association without the right to discriminate. That is, after all, how we choose our associates - we make a choice - i.e.: we choose one in favor of another [we discriminate] and yes sometimes people make choices based in ignorance.

Besides, fragile sensibilities aside there is no tangible damage in hearing an ignorant viewpoint and if people like Mr. Hellquist would exercise there own neurons and either reply sensibly to rubbish like Mr. Owen's or ignore him altogether instead of running to the nanny state to solve the problem [Oh please, please help me Mr. Government man! Someone hurt my feelings because they 'hate' me!] then he wouldn't have people like me flogging him for not being able to fight his own battles. Or better yet Mr. Hellquist could practice his own right to discriminate by not buying the Leader Post.

Indeed, we cannot continue to use the guns of the state [lawyers and courts] to solve our ideological differences before it begins to exact a heavy toll on what little freedom we have left.

Wake up! It's time to get a grip Saskatchewan! Until then I'll be exercising my own right to discriminate by not darkening my homeland's door (until it comes to its senses). I suspect this will keep the whining statists among you happy for the mean time.

And to the rest of you - good luck - if this case is any vision of things to come you'll need it.

Scott Carpenter
Saskatchewaner in exile

Scott Carpenter is a free lance writer and syndicated columnist with Le Quebecois Libre.

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