“Canadian newspapers publish cartoons that are offensive to Christians, for example, dozens of times a year. Tolerating that which offends is part of being an adult, being sensible and being part of an adult, sensible county with an adult, sensible culture. Or at least it was.
“The real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences. In some cases editors had private security companies give them estimates of how much it would cost to protect their buildings.”
PLUS: a blast from the past by Colby Cosh:
“What I want to know is, how come our other constitutional freedoms are never hogtied and thrown onto the psychoanalyst’s couch like this? No one ever seems to ask what ugly or antisocial purposes might sometimes be promoted by the exercise of our voting rights, our mobility rights, our equality rights, or our rights to due process of the law. When it comes to some individual rights — for instance, the right of a witness not to self-incriminate at a criminal trial — it is practically only bad people and instances of evil conduct that are ostensibly protected. But these rights have, for the most part, well-understood purposes; we know that to preserve liberal democracy, there are good reasons for these rules to be upheld absolutely and universally.
“But let anyone exercise freedom of the press, or freedom of speech, and suddenly his motives are interrogated — suddenly the ‘right’ is only available to the well-meaning, which is to be defined none too broadly. It should be emphasized that the [United Church of Canada]’s letter leaves absolutely no room for the possibility that that reprinting of the cartoons by the Standard and the Calgary Jewish Free Press might have been a well-intended but misguided gesture on behalf of press freedom. The Church has declared categorically that the senior staffs of the magazines in question are motivated by racial hatred. Period.
“The problem is that anybody can play this game.
“I wonder, for example, whether the UCC would have raced so quickly to weigh in if the editors and publishers of the Standard and the JFP had been UCC members in good standing? That seems improbable, doesn’t it? In view of the United Church’s admitted history of anti-Semitism, I’d like to ask James Sinclair and Bruce Gregersen on behalf of all Canadians whether it’s a coincidence that they feel so progressive and so comfortable in judging people with names like Richard Bronstein, Ezra Levant, and Kevin Libin guilty of presumptive ‘racial hatred’ where no evidence exists.
“Surely the question whether the UCC regards public Jew-bashing as marvelous sport for an idle Friday afternoon is at least as fair as the UCC’s own letter is.”