Pastor Stephen Boissoin is an evangelical pastor in Red Deer, Alberta.
Reverend Stephen Boissoin isn't the sort of fellow who comes to mind when you think of a pastor. He's young, and he's a bodybuilder with biceps the size of hams. He has tattoos, remnants of a tough life on the streets that he left behind when he found religion - in his case, a socially conservative brand of Christianity.- Ezra Levant, from his book Shakedown
In 2003, Pastor Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in which he condemned homosexuality and in which he warned that:
Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.- Stephen Boissoin, in his letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate
Darren Lund, a teacher in Red Deer, objected to Pastor Boissoin's letter and, instead of writing a rebuttal, he filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. claiming that Boissoin was guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals.
The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission carried out a five year investigation of the case and in 2008, they issued their ruling that Boissoin was guilty. (section 13 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) Lori Andreachuk, the commissioner for the case, ordered Boissoin to pay Lund $5000 for damages and another $2000 for Lund's witness. Keep in mind that Lund is not a homosexual and he has never been personally damaged by anything that Pastor Boissoin said or wrote. He simply takes objection to Pastor Boissoin's voicing his beliefs publicly and his purpose was to make Stephen shut up.
As well, Andreachuk ordered Boissoin to:
... cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.
Andreachuk also ordered Boissoin to:
... provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate that was the subject of this complaint.
Levant has some vitriolic comments on this last order:
A government bureaucrat ordered a Canadian pastor, in essence, to publicly renounce his religious views as part of a state-enforced human-rights creed. What country are we in? North Korea? Iran?
To their credit, the gay advocacy group Egale took a stand in favour of Reverend Boissoin's freedom of conscience. Executive director of Egale, Gilles Marchildon, wrote:
...while it is difficult to support Boissoin's right to spew his misguided and vitriolic thoughts, support his right, we must. If Boissoin was no longer able to share his views, then who might be next in also having their freedom of expression limited. Traditionally, the (gay) community's freedom has been repressed by society and its laws.
If Egale can see the necessity of freedom of speech for Boissoin, why can't the Human Rights Commission?
This amounts to complete and blanket censorship. For a Christian pastor to be told NEVER to speak or write again (for life) any "disparaging" comments about gays and homosexuals is to forbid him to do his work as a Christian pastor. A major teaching of the Christian church is that homosexual behaviour is sinful. The Christian church does not condemn homosexuals but it does not condone participating in homosexual activity, just as it does not approve of heterosexual relations outside of marriage. The Church's teaching is that sex belongs solely within the marriage of a man and a woman. Now how is Pastor Boissoin to simply cease preaching about this in his church? This is his life, this is his work; to tell him he cannot speak against what is considered a great evil is to force him to abandon his belief. Where is Pastor Boissoin's freedom of religion, that is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights?
This morning, I decided to check out Pastor Boissoin's website; he used to have one, I visited it about two months ago. And he was not remaining silent on this issue; in fact, he even had a place for donations as he is personally indebted for all the legal costs that five years of pseudo-litigation have cost him.
Well, his website is not there. What you get is an advertisement for a web-hosting service, and the words "This account has been suspended" are printed in the middle of the page in bold. So who removed Boissoin's webpage - the Alberta Human Rights Commission?
I believe that this is outright censorship. How can a commission which does not have the authority of a court of law, do this to someone who has not committed a crime? Lund, the accuser of Boissoin, suffered no damages because of the letter to the editor, but he has been rewarded for taking offense to it. Yet Pastor Boissoin, who simply dared to print what we all know is true (that our public schools have a homosexual agenda to make homosexuality accepted by all the young generation) is made to suffer for stating his beliefs.
If you find this situation upsetting, I would strongly suggest that you read Ezra Levant's book Shake Down, and that you take to heart what Mark Steyn says in his introduction:
Ezra Levant has born his ordeal (Ezra himself has been victimized by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the famous Mohammed cartoons and has forked over $100,000 in legal costs) with great good humor, and has used it to open Canadians' eyes to the abuses of justice committed in the name of pseudo-"human rights" that have less and less to do with the genuine article. He is a true Canadian hero. Read this book, and demand that your politicians act upon it.- Mark Steyn, foreword to Shake Down
While Boissoin's website has been removed, a blog remains with the original letter to the Red Deer Advocate in its entirety. However note the date on the last entry, Wednesday Sept 21, 2005.
Pastor Boissoin's blog