Iain Benson, a lawyer who specializes in religious freedom issues, agrees.
“I think that such claims are dangerous as a free and democratic society must allow the maximum freedom of speech and the press particularly on matters such as the nature and extent of Islam in Canada. Just like the nature and extent of atheism or Catholicism in Canada,” said Benson, who was speaking as an individual and not for the Centre of Cultural Renewal where he is executive director. “These should all be ‘fair game’ for fair comment.”
Catholic and social conservative activist John Pacheco shares Benson’s concerns. “Mark Steyn is probably most popular conservative commentator in the world. If he can be attacked, it does not bode well for freedom of speech for Canadians.”
Pacheco pointed out that Steyn is a Christian, and that there has been a litany of human rights complaints against Christians in recent years, mostly for alleged homophobia or discrimination against homosexuals.
These include complaints against Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for a 2005 pastoral letter on marriage; a 1995 complaint against the Mayor of London Ontario, Diane Haskett, who as a Christian refused to recognize Gay Pride Day; the complaint against Christian printer Scott Brockie who refused to print gay advocacy material; and complaints against various people who have written letters to the editor or distributed pamphlets that have been deemed anti-homosexual.
While some complaints, like those against Bishop Henry, were eventually dropped, many others have resulted in substantial fines — such as the $10,000 fine against Haskett and the City of London. While the complainant does not have any costs in making a complaint, defendants must pick up their own legal tabs.
In the case involving a complaint against a BC Knights of Columbus chapter, the BC Human Rights Commission ruled that the Knights had the right to refuse to rent it for a lesbian wedding reception, but still insisted the Knights pay $1,000 to each of the complainants to compensate them for their hurt feelings.
Great work from CanadianChristianity.ca. (See how they started their very own publication? Everyone? Hmmm?)