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<center>Inquisition rules over remarks on gays</center>
Sunday 30 November 2003
Welcome to the Canadian Inquisition.
I refer, of course, to the serial pummelling Regina Alliance MP Larry Spencer has received since Thursday when newspapers and newscasts carried his remarks favouring the recriminalization of homosexuality and the linking of homosexuality to pedophilia.
Not a single news source I have found has sought to refute Spencer's claims about homosexuality -- not one. All have merely seen fit to denounce him for daring to express such beliefs, which have been variously described as "appalling," "outrageous," "antediluvian," "dangerous," "ignorant," "bigoted," un-Canadian and a host of other names.
Homosexuality was once referred to as the "love that dare not speak its name." Now dissent from the official line -- preached by our political and media establishments -- that homosexuality is completely normal and entirely benign is an opinion that dare not be spoken in public.
If Larry Spencer is wrong -- as wrong as the histrionics that greeted his remarks would suggest -- then it should be a slam dunk for his detractors to disprove him. But no proof was even offered, only vitriol and hot wrath.
The rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, whether scientifically or morally, is not my speciality; I'm more interested in the political/rights side of the debate. My interest is in politicians or judges compelling acquiescence by all Canadians to the demands of the gay lobby, regardless of whether homosexuality is normal and natural.
That is why I have written against declaring the Bible to be hate literature and in favour of same-sex marriage -- the former extends rights to gays by stripping them from others, while the latter merely gives gays a right without, as far as I can see, detracting from others' right to marry, too. And it is also why I have written that should the state again criminalize homosexual sex, gays can come hide out from the sodomy police at my place.
The majority of scientists, researchers and therapists consider the question of homosexuality's genetic naturalness to be settled. (I have been around this debate long enough to know there are many thoughtful therapists and researchers who question this consensus. Still, that is a subject for another day, when, perhaps, my interest in gay rights expands beyond the political/rights side.)
But not a single substantial reason for denouncing Spencer has been offered, even though those who favour the gay agenda insist hundreds exist. Which is why Spencer's treatment resembles an inquisition more than a debate.
Rather than disprove Spencer, his denouncers rush to burn him at the stake. His views, apparently, are so heretical that to endeavour to debunk them is to validate them somehow. Ergo, all enlightened persons must hurry past reasoned argumentation in the crush to be the first to throw a match on his pyre.
But name-calling, no matter how impassioned and no matter how noble the cause in which it is employed, can never substitute for informed counterargument.
His critics and commentators have not acted as edifiers of the public, or educators, or even debaters. Instead, they have donned their helmets and grabbed their truncheons, and behaved as thought police.
Mark Twain once wrote that there was "nothing so weak as a virtue untested." Well, there is also nothing so galling as a lynch mob masquerading as the inner circle of the council of wisdom and truth, either.
The behaviour of Spencer's accusers is why this is an inquisition. But what makes it uniquely Canadian is its subjective application.
Readers of The Journal may not be aware of the uneven (biased?) coverage given Spencer's remarks and those of Edmonton Liberal MP David Kilgour. This paper has been resolutely fair in its coverage both of Spencer's claims and those by the junior foreign affairs minister equating same-sex marriage to the promotion of incest and polygamy. On these pages, both have been played with similar prominence.
But not so elsewhere.
For instance, the CBC and CTV national newscasts each featured stories on Spencer's remarks, but buried reports on Kilgour's. Where both were mentioned, they were not given equal weight.
At the Montreal Gazette, stories on the two men's claims were similar in placement and tone, but editorially the paper called Spencer's claims outdated, crude, beneath contempt even at "the local pool hall," while it insisted Kilgour's "fall within the realm of acceptable debate."
The hypocrisy was even worse at the Toronto Star. As of Saturday, there had been six stories, letters or commentaries on Spencer in the Star since Thursday, but only one on Kilgour. And the one story the Star did carry on Kilgour (picked up from The Canadian Press) did not mention the minister's controversial remarks, even though CP did a followup story on those remarks which appeared on the same newswire the Star took the first story from.
It is one thing for papers such as the Gazette to try to rationalize away anti-gay remarks by a Liberal while slamming an Alliance MP for similar thoughts, but it is another thing entirely to pretend the Liberal's comments never happened.
What makes the Spencer inquisition uniquely Canadian is the way the techniques of the heretic roasters have been used unevenly based on party affiliation (and perhaps the fact Spencer was born American?).