Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pastor Stephen Boissoin on trial

A Canadian pastor named Stephen Boissoin has been on trial for violating Canada’s Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act (2000).

According to most Right wing blogs and news sources I’ve read, the pastor’s crime was that he sent a letter opposing homosexuality to his local newspaper. And even though Canada’s Human Rights Act specifically says, "Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to interfere with the free expression of opinion on any subject," the pastor has spent the last four years having to defend himself in court.

This is one of those cases where I would normally be ranting and raving about the horrible abuse of a pastor’s right to express his faith.

Unfortunately, the right wing sources I’ve read are not telling the whole story (I know my left wing readers are going to take delight in rubbing this one in). Anyway, the pastor’s letter included the phrase, “It is time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness…” (emphasis mine).

The pastor should have qualified his statement by saying “…legal and non-violent steps.” I would like to think this was just an oversight on his part but the facts of the case lead me to think otherwise.

Not long after the pastor’s letter was published, some kid shattered another kid’s cheek bone saying, “you’re a faggot, right?” As it turns out, the perpetrator was someone who often frequented the pastor’s youth center.

Now this wouldn’t necessarily mean anything except that in this case, according to court testimony, when the pastor found out about the assault, not only did he take no action to suspend the perpetrator from the youth center (the normal procedure when violence occurs), but the pastor was reported (under oath) to have said, “God called him to be active with his beliefs.”

Excuse me? God called some punk to smack someone in the face just because he was gay?! If the pastor really said this, something is seriously wrong with this pastor’s theology!

This pastor should have:

1) explained to the offender that the Bible never allows us to take the law into our own hands by persecuting someone for their sexual orientation or sexual behavior,

2) explained that we are to show Christ’s love even to those who behave in ways we think are sinful,

3) suggested that the offender needs to seek forgiveness and possibly even make restitution to the one he assaulted and

4) suspended the offender in accordance with youth center policy.

I'm afraid I have to break ranks with some of my fellow conservatives on this one. If the court records are accurate, I think this pastor's statements above were unbiblical and irresponsible.

17 comments:

Stephen Boissoin said...

Friend,

You have your facts totally wrong and you obviously haven't researched the story and due to such are guilty of the same type of irresponsibilty you accuse me of.

Here is some information to consider.

1. The boy that was assaulted never went to the police.

2. There was no investigation and I never even heard a peep about the supposed assault from the police who I was involved with on almost a daily basis. I heard about it, like everyone else when it was in the newspaper over two weeks later.

3. The Publisher of the Red Deer Advocate informed me that the boy came to them about the story.

Think about this for a minute, while a heated gay debate is going on in my community a gay teen goes to the paper and claims he was beaten for being gay. He claims he is fearful but still allows the newspaper to publish his story (he provides no witnesses) and he does NOT go to the police. Think: he is ok with his story and his picture being in the paper, admittedly afraid but will not go to the police. There is simply no way to verify if this is even a valid story. This teen did not appear at the hearing as a witness...he did not ask a representative to appear on his behalf...he did not forward a written statement yet the complainant against me was allowed to use this unsubstantiated story as 'evidence.'

At the hearing there was a witness for the complainant, while a participant on a employability skills grant at our facility, she THOUGHT she heard me say that I knew who did it and speculated that I allowed them to continue participating in our program. Before God Almighty, this was absolutely false. I have never known who did it nor am I sure it ever happened.

The facts:

1. I did not EVER know who committed the supposed assault and still do not know today. Nor do the police as my understanding is there was no investigation.

2. The witness may have overheard me guessing because afterall we were a at-risk youth ministry and troubled street teens attended.

3. I was part of the inception of the RCMP's Restorative Justice. To accuse me of such a thing is absolutely ridiculous. Colleagues that know me laugh is disbelief.

4. I had a very good reputation with my community's social care organizations, Probation Officers, the Police (even judges), lawyers and was a voluteer for the RCMP. Most important, I had very good relationships with teens, gay or straight and every single one of them that knows me, knows that I would protect them from harm, regardless of their sexual orientation. Here is what the gay teens and young adults that I worked with think of me http://www.stephenboissoin.com/custom.html

5. I gave my life saving to at-risk youth outreach. I have performed teen memorial services and had over 25 teens live with me...gay and straight. I gave my whole heart to youth work. This accusation is pure garbage.

Friend, don't just throw something up on your BLOG for the sake of appearing to be in the know about current events. You are way off on this one. The Human Rights Commission hearing was a farce and things that were accepted by them would suffer a different result in a real court of law.....which is exactly where we are taking this.

I encourage you to read the information on the following link http://www.stephenboissoin.com/defamation.html

I submit this to you with the hope that you will be honourable and care for the TRUTH.

Stephen Boissoin
http://www.stephenboissoin.com

Stephen Boissoin said...

Rights commission ‘remedy’ flawed
By Joe McLaughlin - Red Deer Advocate - June 17, 2008

http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/opinion/Rights_commission_remedy_flawed.html


A lot of folks in Alberta and beyond are feeling bruised and abused by the Alberta human rights commission’s conduct in dealing with a letter to the editor that was published on this page six years ago today.

We at the Advocate are among them.

We have had our eyes opened to some state-sanctioned ugliness.

The letter, by a local pastor, expressed love and compassion for some homosexuals, while decrying the activist homosexual agenda of some educators, MPs, judges (and possibly, though not specifically mentioned, Advocate editorialists who have long supported gay rights.)

Stephen Boissoin’s letter promoted a flurry of responses, pro and con, in our pages and two complaints to the Alberta human rights commission against the Advocate.

Both complaints were successfully resolved with no finding of fault, no Advocate admission of wrongdoing, no promise to act any differently in the future.

Darren Lund, a former Red Deer high school teacher now at the University of Calgary, also lodged a complaint against Boissoin. That led to a lengthy, dispiriting process that culminated at the end of May with the rights commission ordering Boissoin:

• to pay two people whom the commission acknowledges were not direct victims of his words — $5,000 to Lund for ridicule and harassment and up to $2,000 to a witness;

• to apologize in writing to Lund;

• to ask that the Advocate publish his letter of apology and the commission’s seven-page Decision on Remedy.

Boissoin has no intention of apologizing, as he makes clear in a letter on this page.

The galling presumption of the rights commission to subvert a newspaper’s own judgments over whether, when or where it should publish coerced opinions offers a window into its dangerous thinking.

The commission has its own website where it can readily publish any and all of its documents. Curiously though, more than two weeks after its Decision on Remedy was handed down, that ruling was not posted.

The more fundamental and serious defects of the rights commission surround its flawed processes that can lead to repressive and dangerous fallout.

Canada has criminal laws against libel and expressing hatred. Those laws are applied in courts, after police investigations and careful review by skilled prosecutors.

They are argued by lawyers before a judge, in a legal framework with rules of evidence that protect all sides.

The Alberta human rights commission, and others like it across the country, lack these tested and protective structures.

But their findings have the force of law.

The effects of how their processes are applied and findings are enforced endanger free speech and liberty.

The rights commission judged that Boissoin’s words “likely” exposed homosexuals to hatred or contempt. That’s a judgment based on scant evidence and a warped reading of Boissoin’s comments. It was arrived at by ignoring some of Boissoin’s phrases and misinterpreting others.

Lund suggested and the rights commission agreed that “militaristic language” was an invitation to physically assault gays.

But Boissoin used the kind of language that’s an everyday occurrence in political and sporting discourse, and in every time parishioners sing “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war.”

It is precisely the kind of language that the saintly Nelson Mandela used in trying to rally Africans to fight the scourge of AIDS.

“There is a need for us to be focused, to be strategic and to sustain the effort until the war is won,” Mandala said. “We need. . . African resolve to fight this war.”

Any reasonably sophisticated reader can understand the difference between literal and figurative language. Based on the evidence before us, however, that distinction was lost on the rights commission.

Now, the rights of Albertans to publicly express views that they honestly believe are being constrained not by criminal law, but by fear of being hauled before a rights commission and the certainty of accumulating massive legal bills to defend themselves.

More egregiously, the rights commission not only wants to censure hateful speech (a laudable goal), but to pre-emptively deny some Albertans the right to express their legitimate views on certain topics.

The commission forbids Boissoin from writing “disparaging remarks” about gays — a phrase that has dubious legal weight — and forbids him, in advance, from writing critically about Lund’s involvement in this case.

This is called prior restraint. It’s an abomination in any free and democratic society.

But it’s what Lund sought and what the misguided rights commission has agreed to order.

Joe McLaughlin is Advocate managing editor.

Editor’s note: On Saturday, the Advocate will publish a column on what ails rights commissions by David Baugh of Red Deer College.

RELATED STORIES
I stand behind my 2002 letter
Red Deer Advocate
http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/letters/I_stand_behind_my_2002_letter.html

jazzycat said...

Dennis,
While I agree with your assessment of that situation, there are a couple of huge problems with hate speech legislation. One, it makes the motive for a crime a crime without any crime being committed. Should we also have greed speech crimes and lust speech crimes? Two, hate speech is in the eye of the beholder and will be prosecuted on politically correct grounds rather than objective grounds. Example: Shouting Ann Coulter down with vile speech is championed as free speech by universities whereas shouting down a pro-abortionist speaker with vile speech would be judged differently.

Dennis said...

Stephen,

Thank you for setting the record streight. I believe you when you say you didn't know who the perpetrator was (and therefore, couldn't possibly have suspended him). I have just two questions before I issue an apology to you on my front page:

First, according to the Human Rights Commission report, someone named Janel Dodd reported that you spoke about the perpetrator (whoever it was) saying, "God called him to be active in his beliefs." Was she lying? (I don't think you addressed that issue in your response)

Second, I listed four things I thought you should have done (assuming that you had known who the perpetrator was, which I know now you did not). Hypothetically, if you had known who the perpetrator was, would you agree with my four points?

Jazzycat, I agree with you about the hate speech laws but in this case I was just addressing the report I read from the Human Rights commission.

Stephen Boissoin said...

Thank-you for receiving my comments:

In answer to your two questions...

1. She was refering to me in that statement...not the supposed perpetrator. She was stating that I said "God called ME to be active in MY beliefs." This was her comments about my justifications for my letter and public outcry in regards to the homosexual agenda.

With all due respect....this very troubled young woman..was NEVER somebody that I confided on or hate any type of indepth socio-political or even theological conversation with. Every thing she brought to the tribunal is simply her opinion of bits and pieces of things she thinks she heard. Think about it...She did not inform another staff member (one who she even received counselling under), or a board member (one who helped her with her lifestyle on more than one occassion), and even more questionable, she never contacted the police OR stated WHO these teens were at the Tribunal. The teen that was supposedly assualted was not even at the Tribunal. There was no police investigation. All the complainant, Darren Lund, had to use against me was a unsubstantiated newspaper clipping. ?????????

2. Of course, in the right context your comments are absolutely correct from a Christian perspective.

I have been unjustly treated friend. These Human Rights Commissions allow the most lose uncollaborateable (if that's a word) forms of circumstantial evidence. It is a court where feelings, emotional and opinions take precedent over real evidence and the rule of law.

Blessings

Stephen Boissoin

Stephen Boissoin said...

I should have proofed my previous comment.

Corrected paragraph below.


With all due respect....this very troubled young woman..was NEVER somebody that I confided IN or HAD any type of indepth socio-political or even theological conversation with.

Stephen Boissoin said...

In parenthesis is your response and question that was sent to my website(www.stephenboissoin.com)email address.

"Stephen, I appall what the Human Rights Commission has done to you but the Commission report made it sound like you condone violence against gay people and I don't think you really addressed that issue in your response. If you will respond either to me or on my blog and make it clear that you do not condone violence against gay people I will immediately post your response and issue an apology to you on my blog."

First, I have to admit that it hurts me to even have to answer a question like this. I understand that you and your readers do not know me. I am just a name but to many, gay and straight, I am father figure, a big brother and a friend. Teens that know me, know that they can call me anytime, day or night. They know that regardless of their struggles in life...drugs, anger, depression, promiscuity, gay, straight etc etc..whatever...I will love them, treat them like my own family, assist them if I can and protect them, even from violence and bullying. Again, I point you and your readers to the following link. Read the article on that link. I will let some of the teenage and young adult individuals that identify themselves as gay or bi-sexual speak for me. http://www.stephenboissoin.com/custom.html

Blessings

Stephen Boissoin

L'oiseau said...

Pastor Boissoin,

I would like to know what your main goal was in writing a letter to a non-Christian newspaper, to be read by many non-Christians, in pointing out the wickedness of homosexuality. Thank you.

Dennis said...

l'oiseau,

I don't even undersand your question. Is there something wrong with addressing a contemporary social issue from a Christian perspective in the local paper?
Have you ever heard of being salt and light? Have you ever read the prophets? Have you bought into the world's ideology that seems to think our religion is OK as long as we keep it to ourselves (under a bushel) and don't let it out in the public arena?

L'oiseau said...

No, yes, yes, and no.

However, I do not believe in forcing or trying to convince people who have consciously denied Christ into behaving the way Christians behave.

Stephen Boissoin said...

l'oieasu,

Christians ARE to be a voice in their community, to Christians and to non-Christians alike. We are to be active parts in our society. Not just spouting scripture but involved in the socio-political area in many different ways. My letter was addressed to Mr.& Mrs Heterosexual not to homosexuals, though at the same time aware that homosexual activists were listening. It was a sounding of the alarm in relation to the gay agenda targeting school students especially in my community but also in my country. I am far too tired to get into the details at this time. Visit my website if you want a clearer picture. www.stephenboissoin.com

It is foolish thing for one to judge another Christians motivations, methods and or integrity without knowing the details. I trust God uses you, sit back and trust he uses me too.

Blessings

Georgia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alcamadus said...

I suppose I don't really think being "Salt and Light" is militantly stating, "It is time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness"

"Whatever steps are necessary" would include violence.

So, we are to be salt and light...and when that doesn't work resort to the sword?

Dennis said...

alcamadus,

Pastor Boissoin made it clear that he has a loving and compassionate youth ministry and was in no way advocating violence.

Stephen Boissoin said...

Alcamadus,

I was a Rev, Chairman of a Political Lobby Group and the Executive Director of a local ministry. Your ignorance is revealed by making such a ridiculous comment. I guess, based on your understanding..the term 'war on poverty' means...kill the poor?

"...the human rights commission claimed that “militaristic” language used by Boissoin, such as “war has been declared” provoked violence. Perhaps our gullible rights tribunal thinks the Salvation Army is about violence." David Baugh, Head of the political science department at Red Deer College

I encourage you to go to the website listed below and read this entire article. You continued ignorance will only help kill more young people.

"Gay" Sex Kills April 21, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com)

"In light of the irrefutable medical facts, it should be considered criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative form of sexual expression (or "sexual orientation")."...."Children are impressionable. Their young minds are fresh clay ready for molding, and these adult homosexual activists know it. Your child's spiritual, emotional and physical well-being belongs in your hands, not in the hands of liberal activists and elitist educators with a deceptive and destructive political agenda."

Read the full story here.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08042101.html

L'oiseau said...

Pastor Boisson,

I'm sorry but you have no right to be so up in arms here. Your words were careless at best.

Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike understand the lines many people will cross in order to "rid the wickedness of homosexuality" from the earth. They include tying people to fences, dragging them behind trucks, beating them to death and many other things.

You are acting as if you don't know any of this. Those words of your must have been chosen very carefully if you were writing to a newspaper, and you should have thought about what would happen to you in advance if you used them, whether you truly believe them or not.

Steve said...

l'oiseau,

Out of the hundrends of emails I receive 99% support my letter and my position. Those people understand the damage that our pro-homosexual education is causing our society and the added risk of depression, disease and death it offers our children. This is no light matter..no cause for a soft approach. Our time to fight back is long overdue.

(Oh,no, he used the word fight. He must mean violence, ahhhh, right?)

When I read the newspaper, I assume that even the most radical of opinions are coming from law abiding citizens that do not support criminal behaviour. The letter or journalist is NOT responsible for criminal behaviour and only the ignorant attempt to make them responsible for the unruly element of our society.

It is unfortunate that assualt happens amoung teens and young adults on a regular basis for a variety of reasons such as...you looked at me the wrong way, I don't like how you look, you have a bad attitude, I don't like you for one reason or another, racism, etc etc....All of these can be a form of hate crime and no reasonable person condones them.

I personally think that people like you, the bleeding hearts of society, enable the moral demise of society by attacking the very people and causes that are trying to protect it.

You have made your point clear and I completely accept your right to have a point...so enough is enough.

I don't expect to change you and surely cannot change me.

Peace,

Stephen Boissoin