WashPost Ignores Canadian Censorship In "War on Christians" Reporting
Both Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank and religion reporter Alan Cooperman covered the "War on Christians" conference Tuesday, but neither touched on one trend in Canada that American evangelicals are warning against: "hate crime" laws that make speech condemning homosexuality illegal. In 2004, the Canadian parliament passed such a law, as U.S. News columnist John Leo explained:
"Canada is a pleasantly authoritarian country," Alan Borovoy, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said a few years ago. An example of what he means is Bill C-250, a repressive, anti-free-speech measure that is on the brink of becoming law in Canada. It would add "sexual orientation" to the Canadian hate propaganda law, thus making public criticism of homosexuality a crime. It is sometimes called the "Bible as Hate Literature" bill, or simply "the chill bill." It could ban publicly expressed opposition to gay marriage or any other political goal of gay groups. The bill has a loophole for religious opposition to homosexuality, but few scholars think it will offer protection, given the strength of the gay lobby and the trend toward censorship in Canada. Law Prof. David Bernstein, in his new book You Can't Say That! wrote that "it has apparently become illegal in Canada to advocate traditional Christian opposition to homosexual sex." Or traditional Jewish or Muslim opposition, too.
Bill C-250 did pass in April 2004. More information on it is here (with libertine left spin) at a site (ironically) called religioustolerance.org. But a Nexis search of the Washington Post found no reference, ever, to C-250 or to the MP most responsible for it, gay-left activist Svend Robinson, who lost office in a scandal that year.
For his part, Cooperman quoted Canadian minister Tristan Emmanuel, who acknowledged that Canada does not persecute Christians as they do in China or North Korea. But Cooperman never took a sentence to explain C-250, which Emmanuel wrote his book "Christophobia" about, and was selling at his merchandise table. Why can't these Post reporters get the slightest bit specific? Leaving out even a fraction of detail on the state of free speech in Canada doesn't serve the audience.
Focus on the Family Canada reports another effort against free speech for Christians there:
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council regulates the content of radio and television. Under the microscope now are stations that air shows with "abusive discrimination" toward homosexuals, such as programs, they allege, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The 30 radio stations that air Schlessinger’s programs must make sure none of her comments of this nature make it on the air.
Some reference to this does appear briefly in the Post -- once in passing. In an October 10, 2004 Sunday profile of conservative Maryland congressman Roscoe Bartlett in the Washington Post Magazine, reporter Elizabeth Williamson's long 3900-word profile allows Bartlett to mention Canada on a tangent:
Another slippery slope in the moral landscape of Roscoe Bartlett. Hate crimes legislation, he says, is a form of thought control. "The big problem I have with hate crimes is that they require you to get into somebody's head."
Sitting at the round table in his office across from [Robert] Knight, he tells him: "There's pressure not to vote against it, so you won't be identified as a bigot. We need to do exactly what you're doing -- educate people."
Knight is on board. Compactly built with a restrained manner and blow-dried hair, his face slick from the day's heat, one can imagine him in Bermuda shorts, calling "O-63" at a church picnic in Loudoun County, where he lives. But today he's dressed for business, and he hands over a news release called " 'Hate Crimes' Bill: A Prescription for Tyranny." Hate crimes laws, he says, "are well on the road to destroying equal protection and setting people up for persecution.
"Did you know you cannot criticize homosexuals on the radio in Canada? Scary -- that's our neighborhood." That's also a slight exaggeration of Canadian law, it turns out.
But the story never goes into more specifics on the point of "slight exaggeration." These kinds of stories leave the impression that the Post enjoys a little bias by omission to make it easier to leave a slightly exaggerated impression of Christian conservative fears.