That’s Not Religious Freedom

March 9th, 2009

Why won't you let me hate you?

David Popescu, the crazy fringe candidate from Sudbury who declared that all gays should be killed during a federal election debate, has been charged by the Greater Sudbury Police Service for two counts of the wilful promotion of violence and hatred toward an identifiable group.

Canada outlaws speech that promotes violence or hatred toward minority groups through section 319(2) of the Criminal Code. Despite this, Popescu has only stood by his remarks, saying that his promotion of LGBT genocide is protected by his freedom of religious expression. (Maybe he skipped over the “Thou shalt not kill” bits?)

Already, some right-wing commentators have leapt to Popescu’s defense, claiming that his prosecution is just an example of the oppression and intolerance that Christians are currently facing.

Sigh… Let’s just get this out there, shall we?

Reporting a death threat is not opression or intolerance; investigating a death threat is not oppression or intolerance; charging and prosecuting those who utter death threats is not oppression or intolerance. I will not accept that threatening an entire group of people with death is OK because one interprets their religious texts as such. In fact, I don’t believe that resistance to any of the harmful, hateful messages often repeated by those shielding themselves behind religious texts is oppression or intolerance. Tolerance has never meant submission into being treated as inferior and unworthy of human dignities.

So, to those who seriously believe it’s intolerant for gays to resist being told we are lesser, that we shouldn’t ask for or deserve equal rights, or that we simply write off a call for our death as a religious freedom: Suh-lap!