Three years ago a complaint was launched by the aptly misnamed Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against a Christian pastor named Stephen Boission for a letter to the editor speaking against homosexuality.

The tribunal ruled against him:

the Alberta Human Rights Commission ordered Alberta pastor Stephen Boissoin to desist from expressing his views on homosexuality in any sort of public forum. He was also commanded to pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal’s November decision to side with complainant and homosexual activist Dr. Darren Lund. The tribunal has also called for Boissoin to personally apologize to Lund via a public statement in the local newspaper.

Whatever one’s view of homosexuality this sure seems like the stifling of free speech. At the time I wondered how Canada would react if he had been a Muslim iman rather than a Christian preacher, well we don’t have to wonder any longer. as the national post explains:

In April, a Quebec blogger named Marc Lebuis brought a complaint to the commission over a book published on the Internet by a Montreal-based fundamentalist Muslim, Abou Hammad Sulaiman al-Hayiti. Lebuis claimed that the book exposed gays, Jews, non-Muslims generally and other identifiable groups to “hatred or contempt” under the plain meaning of Section 13 of the act.

Mr. Lebuis’ purpose, he admits, was to “test the objectivity of the commission” in light of commission rulings against Christians for publishing equally or less strident language.

Considering the Boission case this should have been a slam dunk, guess again:

CHRC officials told Lebuis that they would not proceed with an investigation of his complaint. They argued that Mr. al-Hayiti was free to say whatever he liked against “infidels,” and particularly non-Muslim women (what with their disturbingly wanton habits of dress and behaviour!) because they do not constitute an “identifiable group.” As for Mr. al-Hayiti’s imprecations against groups established as “identifiable,” like gays and Jews, the commission reported vaguely that these “do not seem” to meet the criteria for promoting hatred.

Well in that case Mr. al-Hayiti must not have said anything strident right?

Allah, Mr. al-Hayiti warns, has taught that “If the Jews, Christians, and [Zoroastrians] refuse to answer the call of Islam, and will not pay the jizyah [tax], then it is obligatory for Muslims to fight them if they are able.” Christianity, in particular, is denounced as a “religion of lies,” which is responsible for the West’s “perversity, corruption and adultery.”

At one point, Mr. al-Hayiti’s book refers to “the incredible number of gays and lesbians (may Allah curse and destroy them in this life and the next) {emphasis mine}who sow disorder upon the Earth and who desire to increase their numbers.” In one short passage, this combines a seeming accusation of demonic “recruitment” with an open wish for the complete elimination of homosexuals and a claim that they are a source of social chaos.

Gee maybe Ann Currey can interview him about his views on gay marriage.

I agree with the Post that free speech demands that Mr. al-Hayiti views should not be censored, but neither should Mr. Boission’s. The unreality of the difference is clear and Glenn Reynolds has pointed out the danger of this:

Will other religious groups take the lesson that violence works? Because, in a world of the spineless, it does, and at very low cost. Thanks, guys, for establishing this incentive structure.

The best way to answer speech that is disagreed with is more speech and the best way to call out either a spineless worm or a bigot is with courage. So in that spirit:

My favorite of the cartoons
My favorite of the cartoons

This is my favorite of the infamous Mohamed cartoons. Think about it, Canada thought that this image was beyond the pale but the words of the Iman above were not.

Update: Nothing to see here either.

One of the things that I have been very frustrated with over the years are the number of my fellow Catholics who don’t know what Catholic teaching actually is.

A lot of this comes down to apathy, but you also have people who are ill informed by either teachers who don’t know what they are talking about, denominations outside the church who have their own false view of the Church, the media who love of the church is almost as large as their love of George Bush and groups of “Catholics” who want to change the rules or redefine sin to fit their own worldview.

Well with the internet there is no excuse for ignorance on this matter so I have added several permalinks to the Vatican including links to the Bible, Canon law (the internal law of the church) and most importantly to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This link is the most important because it is the document that contains what Catholic belief actually IS. Not what other people say it is but the bottom line. If you want to know what the Church says on any matter that is where you go. It is very complete, footnoted and well referenced.

If you prefer a copy that you can read on the go you can also pick it up at Amazon here. Hardcover here.

Every Catholic should have one of these, outside of scripture it is the most important book on your faith to have. If you are a non-catholic you will find it an excellent reference to what we actually believe. So pick one up or permalink the page so you can be informed.

So Gov Blagojevich has loudly declared his innocence and vows to stay and fight.

“I’m here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way. I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath,” Blagojevich said. “I have done nothing wrong.”

He cast himself as a victim in the case, and said he will not let a “political lynch mob” force him from office.

He must have been paying attention to this speech 10 years ago. After all the results might be similar if he sticks it out.

He also must know his Bible story of the dishonest steward; Luke 16 1-12 because he is making friends while he can:

While facing his own legal cloud, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to pardon 22 other people.

The Democratic governor rarely acted on pardon applications during his six years in office. The backlog of requests at one point topped 1,600.

At the New Media Journal Frank Salvato is giving an I told you so.

But what most around the country are just now staring to realize is that those who voted for Blagojevich are not embarrassed. In fact, if they could yawn any deeper over the matter they probably would. This is because political corruption is generational in Chicago politics. Once the Chicago Machine captured power in Springfield – Illinois’ capitol – the cancer that is political corruption spread from Cook County to infect the state. In fact, political corruption has become so ensconced in Illinoisans’ daily lives that acts of bribery, where elected officials are concerned, are even less noteworthy than a conservative point of view in a Chicago newspaper. The people of Illinois – especially Democrats – have accepted political corruption as part of the deal. Why else would they continue to vote into office those who have enjoined in corrupt activities year after year?

To better illustrate the point you need look no further that two inactions by Illinois government: the failure of the Illinois Legislature to strip our embattled governor of the power to appoint a replacement for President-Elect Obama and the failure of the Illinois Supreme Court to declare the future cell block H resident unfit to hold office.

I would dispute the statement about the Supreme Court as the charges are still pending but his words on the legislature is well founded. His conclusion is as follows:

…as you sit reading this in your home states, shaking your heads in disgust for Illinoisans’ inability to salvage their sinking political ship, spy the Cheshire-like cat grins on our faces. They are there because you all voted “change” into office last November. That “change,” my friends, was born of the Chicago political machine.

I predict this will go on until it reaches the point when it can actually do real damage to the president elect then a deal will be made. All this little stuff is trifling at the moment. Hey maybe Michael Madigan can give a speech after it is all done declaring Rod Blagojevich one of Illinois greatest governors.