Tag Archives: Freedom of Speech

Christian ads promoting Biblical moral standards pulled after complaints

This story is from Life Site News.

Excerpt:

The Christian group “Bus Stop Bible Studies” has voluntarily removed one of the forty ads it is currently running on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) buses and streetcars because the transit authority received some complaints about one of the “Life Questions” posed for consideration by riders.

The ad in question asks “Does God care if I’m gay?” and directs the reader to the Bus Stop Bible Studies website to find the answer, which said, in part, “We know from passages throughout Scripture that God hates homosexual acts BUT no more than any other sinful act. Some individuals seem to place homosexual acts in a special class – God does not. Sin is sin.

“Homosexual activity is no better or worse than heterosexuals engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage. The Bible refers to these people as fornicators.”

This answer has since been removed from the website and replaced by a comment from the Bus Stop Bible Studies founder David Harrison saying, “It has become apparent that, while one is free to ask the question, `Does God care if I’m gay?’ one is not so free to answer the question from a Biblical perspective.

[…]Harrison told the National Post that he supported last year’s controversial Atheist Bus Ad campaign, which had said, “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” posted on TTC vehicles, saying they were an expression of freedom of speech.

With regard to the restrictions now imposed on his campaign he observed, “The prevailing attitude at the time is you’re free to say anything that I’m in agreement with, which is not real dialogue. In a supposedly liberal society, ‘liberal’ has become a one-word oxymoron.”

Actually, this is a pretty moderate answer. Aren’t Christians even allowed to embrace a Biblical position on morality in public anymore? I know that Toronto isn’t Calgary, or even Ottawa, but this is ridiculous.

Related posts

McGill University and University of Calgary censor pro-life students

The headline should be that these Canadian universities both continue to censor pro-life students.

Remember how students at McGill shouted down a pro-life debater and how the police arrested pro-life students at the University of Calgary? (See related posts below) There is no such thing as free speech in Canada, because the secular left has decided that they cannot stand to hear anything that offends them and so they will just censor and/or coerce anyone who says anything they disagree with.

Life Site has the latest from McGill University:

The Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) has reinstated the club status of Choose Life, the campus pro-life club, but only after forcing them to submit to special requirements that restrict the club’s ability to share the pro-life message.

The SSMU Council voted April 1st to reinstate the club, but also required them to attach an appendix to their constitution in order to “facilitate their compliance” with SSMU’s equity policy.

Natalie Fohl, Choose Life’s president, said that she was pleased with the return of their status, but denounced the special restrictions on their pro-life voice.  “I think it’s a double standard, and it’s very disappointing that they think that this is justified, and I hope that at some point it will be rectified,” she told LifeSiteNews (LSN).

In particular, SSMU has banned Choose Life from “advocat[ing] or lobby[ing] for the criminalization of abortion through the use of SSMU resources.”  According to Fohl, this means that they will not be permitted to do so in the Student Union building.

[…]SSMU has also disallowed the presentation of graphic images, such as those depicting aborted babies, in open public spaces.  Even in closed spaces, the document demands that such images never be shown “without the ability of the copyright owner to demonstrate that all images were legally obtained.”

“We don’t want [Choose Life] to be going around … trying to shame or shock students with graphic imagery,” said Dooley.

Life Site also covered the latest from the University of Calgary:

On Thursday, Campus Pro-life, the University of Calgary’s pro-life club, set up a pro-life display on campus – the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).

Last year, the university charged the pro-life students with trespassing for erecting the same display, which has been displayed on campus peacefully and without incident twice per year since 2006.  The crown prosecutors withdrew the charges prior to trial, however.

But in an e-mail sent to the students’ lawyer Thursday, the university against stated that it “requires that Campus Pro-Life turn the Genocide Awareness Project signs inward so that the University community does not have to view them,” and threatened the students with sanctions for non-academic misconduct.

The pro-life students say that at Thursday’s event campus security initially appeared as if they would not intervene, simply standing on site as the group’s exhibit went ahead without incident.  However, in mid-afternoon that changed when U of C security went around the exhibit handing out notices to pro-life students, indicating that if they refused to turn their signs inwards, they could be subject to a fine up to $2,000 ($5,000 for further trespass), arrest, civil action, or non-academic misconduct.

Campus Pro-Life (CPL) president Leah Hallman remarked that, “To our knowledge, no other group has ever been asked to turn its signs inwards.”

Montreal (McGill) is one the most leftist cities in Canada, and Calgary is the most conservative. But the universities are all liberal to some degree or other. The academic left uses the power of the lectern and the grading marker to impose their views on generations of students. They use techniques like speech codes, expulsions, degree denials and promotion denials. The secular left is intolerant of other points of view. They don’t want to debate, they want to suppress. Hearing other points of view is too difficult for those on the academic left, so they put their hands over their hears and scream for the police.

It happens in New Zealand, which like Canada, is dominated by the fascist left.

What can we do to stop it?

This 15-minute podcast from Jennifer Roback Morse came out a while back and it talked about free speech on campus and the work of the Alliance Defense Fund to defend free speech rights from the academic left. I’ve listened to it twice, and I found it good. You young law students should consider going to work for firms like the ADF – they do good work. Canada has nothing like the ADF. And remember, Canadians trust the government because they depend on the government for their health care and other social programs. Purchasing health care privately is illegal in Canada. It’s really hurt their sense of individual rights and freedoms.

Relate posts

California Senate minority leader launches probe of ID censorship

Story from Evolution News.

Excerpt:

California Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth has sent a letter to the California Science Center (CSC) requesting documents related to the Center’s cancellation of a screening last October of the pro-intelligent design documentary “Darwin’s Dilemma.” The screening was sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), a private group that had rented the Center’s IMAX theater.

Senator Hollingsworth’s letter follows two lawsuits filed against the state government-operated Science Center charging that it violated both the First Amendment and California’s open records law in its effort to stop the screening and then cover up the real story behind the cancellation.

“The constitutional implications of [the Science Center’s] actions are concerning” wrote Senator Hollingsworth in the letter, citing various court decisions protecting private parties against viewpoint discrimination. “It is fundamental that when a governmental entity or sub-unit (such as CSC) opens its facilities as a public forum, it is not constitutionally permissible to censor speech based on viewpoint or content.”

Hide the decline, Darwin-style.

Muslims in Michigan assault Christians for asking questions at Arabfest

UPDATE: Welcome readers from ProtoCatholic! Thanks for the link, Gretchen!

Watch this 10-minute video of Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi trying to engage Muslims in dialog in Dearborn, Michigan. (H/T ECM)

This is the same Nabeel who had the radio debate with the Muslim that I wrote about before.

About Nabeel:

Nabeel Qureshi is a convert from Islam to Christianity. He holds an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and he is currently finishing his MD at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Nabeel debates Muslims and writes for the blog http://www.answeringmuslims.com/.

Now consider a different story from ArabFest about a different group of Christians distributing pamphlets.

This story is from the San Jose Mercury News. (H/T Clayton Cramer via ECM)

Excerpt:

A federal judge today denied an evangelical Christian group’s request for permission to hand out literature on sidewalks at an Arab festival in the heart of the Detroit area’s Middle Eastern community.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds denied Anaheim, Calif.-based Arabic Christian Perspective’s request for a temporary restraining order.

The group describes itself in its court filing as “a national ministry established for the purpose of proclaiming the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims … (that) travels around the country attending and distributing Christian literature at Muslim festivals and mosques.”

There is a law banning the distribution of pamphlets, so these Christians were not being discriminated against. But lawyer Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy says that the law is unconstutional, in his opinion.


Mark Sanford interviewed by the Acton Institute

Governor Mark Sanford
Governor Mark Sanford

Acton Institute blog posted this interview with Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Sanford is my runner-up for the 2012 Republican nomination. The Acton Institute is the think tank that best expresses my deepest concern – the concern for freedom of religious expression. And they believe that certain public policies, such as fiscal conservatism, protect that freedom.

The interview with Sanford is enlightening and encouraging, because it talks about ideas and ideals, in detail. I was particularly interested to see if he would make the connection between free market capitalism and liberty. Here is a relevant excerpt:

I would say that we got to go back to the basics. And the vision would be for a prosperous, competitive America in what has become a very, very competitive global world. It needs to be based on an advance and adherence to free market capitalistic principles, and on maximizing the sphere of individual freedom.

And that includes religious freedom. And I was also interested to see how Sanford connected his faith to the public policies that he advocates. The interviewer asks him: “When it’s convenient, many politicians say they can’t bring their own religious views to bear on important issues because they represent all the people. What’s your view?”

Here is his reply to the question, in full:

I don’t agree with that. What people are sick of is that no one will make a stand. The bottom line in politics is, I think, at the end of the day to be effective in standing for both the convictions that drove you into office and the principles that you outlined in running. And that is not restrained to simply the world of Caesar, it applies to what you think is right and wrong and every thing in between.

Now we all get nervous about the people who simply wear it on their arm sleeve to sort of prove that they’ve got that merit badge. But I think the Bible says, “Let your light so shine be fore men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father that’s in heaven.” Hopefully, by the way in which you act. The way in which you make decisions. They’re going to see that something’s there.

I would also say the Bible says in Revelation, “Be hot. Be cold. But don’t be lukewarm” [Rev. 3:15]. And there’s too many political candidates who walk around completely in the middle—completely in neutral. With regard not only to faith, but with regard to policy. And that’s what people are sick of. Everything’s gotten so watered down. So I have people come to me frequently saying, “Look, I voted for you. In fact, I completely disagree with you on these different stands over here. But at least I know where you stand.”

And so I would say it’s a mistake to confine one’s belief to only matters of government. If you have a religious view, it’s incumbent upon you and it’s real to have that. The Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. There ought to be certain things that are clearly observable by your actions.

I remember when I first gave a Christmas address, a candle lighting event on the state house capitol. And people were freaking because they said, “You can’t say Jesus.” I said, “Look, I’m not trying to offend anybody. But if that’s my personal faith, I can say what I want to say. I’m going to say what I want to say.” I’m not going to be rubbing anybody’s face in it. But I say you can’t dance around that which you really believe. And so I’d say we need people who are more bold in taking stands on all kinds of different things.

Now, you know what to do: read the whole thing!