A Canadian bus driver is facing charges for an alleged hate crime committed during a gay pride event in Toronto. Bill Whatcott is being charged with “Wilful Promotion of Hatred” against the LGBT community.” The basis for this charge stems from a 2016 incident during which Whatcott was caught distributing “safe sex” pamphlets at a gay pride parade.
The pamphlets asserted that homosexuality has strong associations with sexually transmitted diseases. The literature also noted that Toronto’s former deputy education minister, who pled guilty to making and distributing child pornography back in 2015, was involved in designing Ontario’s “perverted sex education curriculum.” The pamphlets also suggested that homosexual acts would lead to “eternal peril” but repentance will bring “the free gift of eternal life.”
As The Federalist’s Jeremiah Keenan points out, the pamphlets did not contain any hate speech against homosexuals, though they did include graphic photos of medical conditions.
In a statement, Toronto police said, “It is alleged that William Whatcott distributed anti-gay material which promoted hatred towards the gay community,” before noting that Whatcott has been charged with “Willful Promotion of Hatred against an identifiable group, namely the gay community.”
“When they’re looking for you in three provinces, you’re pretty much, you know, bank robbery or murder…. So I knew it was serious,” Whatcott said of the police action taken against him. “When Dr. Lugosi [a lawyer friend] told me it was the parade, I was shocked. I thought, ‘This is insane.’ But I also figured the best thing to do was to turn myself in.”
Whatcott turned himself in to police custody last Friday. While he was being held, he said, “It might have been on purpose, because it didn’t happen, like—some inmates did go half a day without food—but they actually made me go a full 24 hours” without eating.
In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld some crucial provisions against hate speech that are detailed in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. Whatcott was involved in the case, as it centered around his controversial pamphlets and the legality of their distribution under Canadian law.
“It basically says under no circumstances should hate speech be tolerated,” said chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission following the ruling.
Whatcott vehemently disagreed with the ruling, even refusing to pay the $7,500 in damages as directed by the high court.
“It’s dreadful,” he said of the decision. “It’s a dark day for Canada.”
Whatcott’s flyers used words like “filth,” “propaganda” and “sodomy” to describe homosexual activity.
In his most recent legal battle, however, Whatcott has received some support from various faith communities.
“Part of loving people is discouraging them from engaging in harmful behavior,” one protester said in a video shot as Whatcott was taken into custody at Calgary Police Service HQ. “To inform them about the harms of what they are doing is an expression of love and not an expression of hate.”
“As thinking Canadians, whether you agree with this or not, you should know that this should be part of the public discourse, it should not be a criminal offense … to express one’s opinion on a homosexual pride parade,” the protester added.
Later on in the video, one member of the Christian group accuses the police officers present of being “part of the dictatorship” and are tearing Whatcott away from his family and work unnecessarily. Then, the group can be seen praying for Whatcott and his family as he prepares to turn himself in.
“Lord God, we ask that you protect this family,” one man prays as the group lays hands on Whatcott. “Strengthen him in you, Lord Jesus. We thank you for this witness. We ask that your word will go forth strongly. You are the God of Canada.”
“We commit Bill Whatcott and his family to you. Bring good out of this and bring many people to you through this, we pray,” added another.
Whatcott is then led into the police station by two police officers. He could be seen bidding farewell to the group.
“Thank you, God bless you,” he says as he heads inside.
In another shocking video taken at the scene, a pastor rebuked the Canadian church for “hiding behind their charitable status” and “losing their saltiness.”
“Where are the pastors? They don’t even show up for the ‘March for Jesus’ in their own city,” he continued. “When you are needed, when it counts, you’re nowhere to be found. When there is a big fundraiser, you are all there. Canadian church has become a business. It makes me sick — selling your DVDs and selling your books. What’s wrong with you?”
“If you’re not brave for your Lord, you’re dead. You need to pray for the Holy Spirit to give you fire and power,” the pastor added. “He can give you life.”
(H/T: The Federalist)