Will ‘Intolerance’ Prevail in Canada? Chris Brookes of “Intolerance Free Weyburn” and his wife led a campaign to lobby Canadian government officials to block AFTAH president Peter LaBarbera’s entry into Canada. On Thursday evening, Canadian customs officials issued a preliminary denial of entry to LaBarbera, who is scheduled to give a speech at a pro-life conference in Weyburn, Saskatchewan Saturday. LaBarbera is appealing the decision today. Photo: Chris Brookes’ Twitter account.
[UPDATE FROM PETER LaBARBERA: Yesterday I wrote the reply below to Regina, Saskatchewan Archbishop Daniel Bohan’s statement about my scheduled presentation at a pro-life conference in Canada. That evening, I flew from Chicago to Regina. Upon deplaning, as I passed through Customs, I was delayed for further questioning by an official with the Canada Border Services Agency. Obviously, I had been flagged as a result of a campaign by the leftist group “Intolerance Free Weyburn,” which is specifically lobbying the Canadian government to deny my entry into Canada as the alleged purveyor of “hate'” [See this AFTAH report on their lobby effort to deny me entry into Canada, and this previous report on the group’s attempt to have me removed as a speaker at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association (SPLA) conference April 11-12.]
After questioning me about the purpose of my scheduled presentation at the SPLA event; rifling through my luggage, which contained numerous books and literature related to homosexuality (pro and con); examining the contents of my laptop and my cell phone; playing a DVD of my speech Wednesday at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio; and critically viewing AFTAH’s website–a preliminary decision was made to deny my entrance into Canada on the basis that my speech at the SPLA would violate Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” law (essentially the potential for “public incitement of hatred” against a group of people based on their “sexual orientation”). The Orwellian experience at Customs dragged on for more than three hours as a formal document was issued outlining my denial of entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (citing the Hate Propaganda code). Finally, after 1:00 A.M., I was released pending my appeal of the decision today (Friday). My passport was seized until I arrive back at Customs today at noon for my appeal before a “Minister’s Delegate Review.”– Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH]
NOTE: We have posted letters supportive of LaBarbera speaking at the pro-life conference in Saskatchewan by American pro-life/pro-family advocates Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League [click HERE] and Mary Anne Hackett of Catholic Citizens of Illinois [click HERE]. We will try to post some of the other letters of support–including one from a homosexual man in the U.K.–as soon as possible.]
The following is the April 10 reply by Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), to a letter to Catholics by Archbishop Daniel Bohan, Archdiocese of Regina:
I believe that Archbishop Bohan felt the need to issue a letter that specifically mentions me due to the local controversy that has been instigated by a liberal group that, ironically, has spread much false and derogatory information about me. Many Catholic leaders in the United States, including pro-life hero Joe Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, have come to my defense–and are deeply opposed to Intolerance Free Weyburn’s (intolerant) efforts to “ban” me from speaking in Canada. I have great respect for the full array of Catholic instuction on the issue of homosexuality, and quote from Catholic teachings all the time. I wish more Catholics knew and honored these teachings–including that no faithful Catholic can support same-sex “marriage” or laws and policies putting adoption by homosexual-led households on a par with adoption by mother-father households.
As an evangelical Christian, I believe that all people, including homosexuals, must be treated with respect and the grace of Christ. As a sinner myself, I am no “better” than the man or woman engaged in homosexual sin. We all need the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. I adhere to the universal philosophy shared by so many who follow Christ: “Love the sinner. Hate the sin,” In fact, if I truly lacked compassion and hated homosexuals as my detractors falsely and maliciously claim, I would not have been invited to speak by the leaders of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association. Lastly, it has become clear in recent years that OPPONENTS of the homosexual activist agenda have become frequent victims of “unjust discrimination.” In fact, in the lead up to the SPLA convention, one of Archbishop Bohan’s own parishioners, Bill Whatcott, was turned away from service by the owner of Southeastern Computer Solutions in Weyburn–because Whatcott adheres to the historic Judeo-Christian moral understanding of homosexual acts as sinful. Such anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination will be one of the topics of my talk Saturday.
Sincerely in Christ
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH.org)
The following is the letter sent out by Archbishop Daniel Bohan, Archdiocese of Regina:
Dear Faithful of the Archdiocese of Regina.
Please read the letter Archbishop Bohan has written to Catholics to address the controversy that has arisen around the participation of Peter LaBarbera as guest speaker at the Pro-Life Conference in Weyburn April 11th and 12th
In light of the recent controversy surrounding the presentation of Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, at the upcoming Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association provincial convention in Weyburn, it is an opportune time to remind Catholics and all people of good will of the Catholic Church’s official position on discrimination against homosexual persons, as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, namely that:
“They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC, 2358)
Any Catholic is reminded, therefore, to take this fundamental aspect of Church teaching into account in evaluating any speaker or position they may encounter on this topic.
The teaching of the Church on responsible and moral sexual behaviour is well known. All of us are called to chastity regardless of our station in life or our sexual orientation. This call is not always an easy one. However, Pope Francis, in his Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel”, reminds us that the “Church is called to be the house of the Father with doors always wide open.” If anyone comes looking for God, regardless of who they are and where they are on their journey of faith, the doors of the Church are not to be closed to them. “The Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.” (47)
In our Archdiocese we reaffirm this understanding of the Church.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Daniel Bohan, Archdiocese of Regina