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LaBarbera detained in Canada (Updated)

Timothy Kincaid

April 11th, 2014

Peter LaBarbera of the ironically named Americans for Truth about Homosexuality was scheduled to participate in the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association this weekend. I’m not sure what Canadian pro-life has to do with American homosexual truth, but this event appears to be a gathering of the religiously disgruntled and The Peter definitely fits in that crowd.

However, something called Intolerance Free Weyburn initiated a complaint to have him barred from entry to Canada. And The Peter is reporting that it worked. (AFTAH)

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.”

I favor freedom of speech. And while I have no say in how Canadians choose to structure their society, I do hope that the US does not go down the road of silencing the voices of those who do not fit current social or political norms.

But irrespective of Canada’s laws, this was not a wise choice.

Peter LaBarbera was scheduled to go talk to people who already agree with him. And should his presentation ever reach those who were not already convinced of the evils of Teh Ghey, that can be a good thing. After a few minutes of The Peter, most decent souls feel a compulsion to wrap themselves in a rainbow flag and march for marriage equality.

This move accomplishes no real tangible advance for our community. It merely feeds the narrative that anti-gay activists are weaving about how homofascists are trying to shut them up and how True Christians are under attack. It gives a physical example to rally around. And for someone who knows nothing about the Peter, he does come across as the sympathetic character in the situation.

Already fellow travelers have taken up the cause of portraying The Peter as a victim of oppression. Over at Matt Barber’s BarbWire, Laurie Higgins is wailing about how he was “detained by the Canadian thought police who searched his luggage, computer, and phone” (though I’ll give her credit for spelling my name correctly).

And though LaBarbera’s undoubtedly elated about his ability to now wear the marty’s suit, it must have been a harrowing experience. And since then, I’m sure that he’s been bored, stuck waiting for a response to his appeal.

But fortunately The Peter brought “literature related to homosexuality” and if he’s been afforded any privacy, I’m sure that the selections from his vast collection of gay porn have been put to good use.

In his ongoing efforts to document the seedier side of gay life.

Update by Jim B: LaBarbera says they’re letting him in after all.

Comments

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esurience
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

He should be able to speak at any venue that invites him. And it’s definitely better that he be speaking in Canada than traveling to a country where his message of hatred might actually take root with disastrous consequences (like Scott Lively likes to do).

Boo
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

He cheered on Russia’s laws curbing speech. I think this is an instance of being hoisted on one’s own petard. (But yes, the best thing for people like this is to let them speak and publicize it as widely as possible)

Ben
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

You know, Germany has had a law on the books for decades now forbidding the denial of the Holocaust, and somehow, magically, it hasn’t descended into some kind of dictator controlled hellhole with no freedom of speech. In fact Germany measures higher than the US on every positive metric from education, literacy, healthcare, (lower) child mortality, and none of their airlines or auto companies needed bailing out.

Me thinks you are overrating a complete freedom of speech as some kind of requirement for a positive society. Honestly when someone in the last comment thread suggested one of you might take up the mantle of LaBarbara’s detention, I did not honestly think you’d rise to the bait, but again I’m surprised.

Plus, Canada beat the US to every metric of gay rights, so I think they are doing something right.

L. C. Burgundy
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Yep, wasn’t he all rah-rah-rah about Russia throwing people in jail for “gay propaganda?” The time honored tradition of free speech for me, but not for thee. Maybe Pete will rethink his support for speech codes and laws.

(As an American, I don’t agree with denying this buffoon access to his Canadian choir, but I don’t really have a say in it and I can’t say I feel very badly about his inconvenience.)

jerry
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Isn’t there a passage in their holy book telling them to shake the dust of their sandals and move on when the locals tell them they aren’t welcome?

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Jerry, yes there is. Good catch.

Henry
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

“he does come across as the sympathetic character in the situation”

Timothy, you are reading his side of the story. This from a man known to write falsehoods and distortions. I am not disbelieving him in this case but of course he will find any opportunity to present himself as victim. His so-called “followers” will see this a proof that we gays have infiltrated all aspects of society.

Priya Lynn
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I’m so proud of my country!

Ha! Good on ya, Peter.

Mary in Austin
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I agree with Ben. Freedom of speech as an absolute does not mean a decent society.

Priya Lynn
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

By all measures Canada is a better country than the United States. Limiting hate speech not only doesn’t hurt society, its one of the things that make it better.

FYonug
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Like every other freedom and right, free speech does not include the right to hurt others.

There are all kinds of limits to free speech, such as: bad-mouthing your employer, blackmail, bomb threats, copyright, defamation, disclosing official secrets, distribution of pornography, extortion, false labelling, forgery, fraud, giving professional advice without being professionally qualified, misleading advertising, professionals non-reporting of child abuse, solicitor-client privilege, threatening to hurt someone, trade-mark infringement, violation of confidentality by a professional, violation of privacy laws, yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre.

Few think there is anything wrong with these limits; they are taken for granted and rarely even discussed.

Another limit is hate speech. The reason for it is that hate speech leads to violence, It is always a prerequisite of genocide.

Yet, all types of objections are raided about this one limit, and only this limit.

I have no problem with prohibiting hate speech even for citizens. For non-citizens, who don’t even have the right to enter the country, it’s a no-brainer. There was no need even to give Pete a chance to appeal.

TampaZeke
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I guess Timothy can put away his pitchfork.

Priya Lynn
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Well said Fyonug. Whenever the talk of hate speech laws comes up I get so tired of Americans who then talk like their freedom of speech is absolute and no restrictions exist in their country. News Flash, not having hate speech laws isn’t a key to the success of the United States.

FYoung
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

By the way, the comments by “FYonug” are actually by me, FYoung. I mispelled my screen name once on one computer and there seems to be no way to sign out or edit my profile.

Now, I am writing from my other computer, which has my proper screen name.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I knew that there would be a post on this site bemoaning the horrible mistreatment of PornoPete. Now if only the site had so much empathy for the victims of people like PornoPete.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John,

Can you please point out where anyone bemoaned the horrible mistreatment of LaBarbera?

CPT_Doom
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I am an absolutist on free speech but have to laugh at Petey’s complaints about freedom of speech. That freedom stops the minute he crosses the border. Canada is a whole ‘nother country & their speech laws are different. Now he’ll have his chance to spew his bullish*t and get laughed out of the country. Sadly we’ll have to take him back.

Lord_Byron
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy,

Just to let you know:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_barred_or_excluded_from_the_United_States

Steve
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

>”Honestly when someone in the last comment thread suggested one of you might take up the mantle of LaBarbara’s detention, I did not honestly think you’d rise to the bait, but again I’m surprised.”

I’m surprised that you are surprised. This is exactly what one should expect from Timothy.

Hue-Man
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled on hate speech last year. One of the people whose name is mentioned in this LaBarbera story had his hate speech judgment upheld.

“In the latest case, which has been working its way through the system for more than a decade, William Whatcott of Saskatchewan distributed pamphlets, two of which were entitled: “Keep Homosexuality out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools” and “Sodomites in our Public Schools.”

The pamphlets claim that gays and lesbians “want to share their filth and propaganda with Saskatchewan’s children,” among other things.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hate-speech-ruling-marks-canada-as-a-different-place/article9145669/

The national and provincial laws have been around for barely two decades and the human rights tribunals have struggled with setting boundaries. There is an overall reluctance to interfere with the fundamental right to free speech but this is countered by the reality that words, like bullying, can cause great harm.

The complaints that have been filed have been more of the Westboro Baptist “in-your-face” type than the fire-and-brimstone preacher reciting phrases from religious texts. Based on what I’ve seen of LaBarbera’s tirades, they would fit the definition of hate speech if carried out in Canada against an individual or a group – his whole shtick is to cause offence.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Well, Timothy, you are certainly sympathetic to LaBerbera’s plight and condemnatory of Canadian laws prohibiting hate speech.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Luckily, Canada is not Uganda, but even with the results of Scott Lively and Rick Warren and the Family spewing hate speech in Uganda staring you in the face, you still champion LaBarbera and Lively and other sickos spreading their propaganda.

How many people have to be attacked, arrested, or commit suicide in Uganda or elsewhere as the result of hate speech before you reconsider?

Dave H
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I’m sure they found all sorts of interesting things among the “literature” in his suitcase, on his laptop, and on his phone.

No wonder they didn’t want to let him in.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John,

It’s not “LaBarbera’s plight” to which I’m sympathetic. I don’t base my political principles on whom they impact.

I favor free speech. That includes my speech, your speech and, yes, LaBarbera’s speech.

However LaBarbera is very much like you in your beliefs. Both you and LaBarbera believe that your own speech should be free and that each others should be shut down by authorities.

Because you both believe that your own speech is good and wholesome and results in a better society and that the other’s speech is bad and perverted and a danger to society.

Of course, neither of you will ever see that. Which is both sad and a little funny.

Steve
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Spare us your American cultural imperialism. As said at the beginning, the American free speech fetish can get tiresome. Especially considering that countries with less free speech on paper, have just as much freedom in other areas and are healthier societies overall.

DN
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Wow, a smarmy, condescending snipe from Timothy.

IS in your capacity -at all – to treat your readership with respect? No wonder this site is falling apart.

grantdale
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I favour free speech.

I favour laws against slander and libel.

Those are not contradictory statements.

Where does deliberately and cynically orchestrated defamation of a group sit between those two interests?

Ah, the dilemma.

Hyhybt
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

How do people manage to misspell “Timothy?”

MattNYC
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

“my luggage, which contained numerous books and literature related to homosexuality (**PRO** and con)” (emphasis mine)

Seriously? He carries “literature” that treats homosexuality favorably??? Or maybe he just means the “Inches,” “Honcho,” etc. (not sure what titles are still in print) tucked away that he uses for–ahem–research.

MattNYC
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Too tired to put together anything cogent, but for decades I have admired Canada’s limit on hate speech. While I consider myself a First Amendment absolutist down in the U.S., I think it’s a great model to study.

It focuses on speech targeted at identifiable groups–not individuals (who are protected by some of the same aggressive libel and slander laws present in the UK). As others have noted, it’s intent is to protect potential targets from incitement of violence and threats.

Nick
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

Ben
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

“Because you both believe that your own speech is good and wholesome and results in a better society and that the other’s speech is bad and perverted and a danger to society.”

Except one objectively does, and the other doesn’t. That makes it very easy to legislate based on this fact. Something I find sad and funny you overlook.

Plus I noticed you skipped right over the other people’s point about Canada’s superior society despite these (according to you) “draconian” curtailments of free speech. Probably because they tear your argument in two.

John
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Kinkaid’s false equivalency between my beliefs and those of LaBarbera’s the the final straw for me. Someone who can’t tell the difference between hate speech and responsible advocacy cannot be trusted as a commentator on anything. I will not be returning to BTB. It is not merely that I now so frequently disagree with the postings not only by Kincaid but also by Tisanai and Burroway, but I find their contempt for their readers too great a burden to bear.

MattNYC
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Can’t we all just get along???

Not sure why there’s such animus against any of the authors on this blog. I’m a bleeding heart liberal/progressive/socialist, and 90% of the time, I find myself either agreeing with the content and substance of the blog posts or at least with the intellectual/philosophical deconstruction they present. Sometimes, they clearly are playing devil’s advocate or using satire that seem to go over the heads of some here.

The 10% of the time *I* think a post is full of sh*t, I either stop reading, try to make a coherent counter, or just shake my head and move on.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the political party–if any–that any of them belong to just based on their collected writings. They can be libertarian or progressive at different times (heck, sometimes in the *same* article).

Both the writers and the commentors really need to get over themselves…

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

There have been a lot of accusations of “false equivalence” lately. But to argue that a good person and raging a-hole should have the same free speech rights is not the same as saying you find them morally equivalent. That’s an unjustified accusation.

For instance, the ACLU has argued that both civil rights activists and neo-Nazis deserve the same Constitutional protections. Now, you may disagree with the ACLU on that, but I find it highly unlikely that the ACLU considers those two groups morally equivalent.

Jay
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

The ACLU is a singularly inappropriate comparison here. The ACLU is the guardian of free speech. This blog was, or at least I thought it was, designed to target the lies and misinformation of anti-gay groups. That is, it is supposed to be a gay activist blog, not a blog about the glories of free speech and the dangers of laws curbing hate speech. It is appropriate for the ACLU to defend the right of neo-Nazis to march; it is not the job of the NAACP or the Anti-Defamation League to defend the right of neo-Nazis to march.

I think that the bloggers here spend far more energy empathizing with our enemies and attacking those with the temerity to disagree. Not a place I want to spend much time.

The Lauderdale
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I like to reread the mission and principles of this site sometimes. They haven’t changed since 2006, as far as I know. I may disagree with the overall position of a given blogger from time to time, but even when the attempt at balance veers too far in one direction or another, the overall philosophy does please me. (There are other more vehemently one-sided blogs out there that I can read, after all.)

I didn’t really care for the Eich post, whereas I like this one more, and that’s despite the fact that I usually err more on Jim’s side of matter’s than on Timothy’s. The United States is not the be all and end all, and it never was, but I do like our commitment to freedom of speech as an ideal, even when it becomes a royal pain in practice. There are countries aside from the U.S. that don’t make a shrine to freedom the way we do (Steve used the word “fetish,” and there is definitely something to that, and a sense of American presumption and smugness about it online), yet those countries still have it in practice and have a highly decent society. But I still do like the fact that our formulation of and commitment to freedom of speech is on paper and in law.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, a couple points. I brought up the ACLU comparison because a number of people here seem to be saying that: if someone thinks speech they find repellent deserves the same protection as speech they find valuable, then that person is setting them up as equivalent. The ACLU is evidence that such an accusation is wrong, and this evidence may be either valid or not, but that doesn’t depend on which web page it appears on.

Second, if this blog is effective (assuming you’ve found it effective in the past), it’s because it values the idea that speech should be freely aired and dealt with. That principle is what guides the blog, and so discussion of that principle is in line with the blog’s purpose. And it’s why I think your concern about “empathizing with our enemies” is off base. As I wrote the other day:

remember that it’s not a debate between apologists of anti-gay bigotry and tyrannical haters of liberty, but between two noble, often complementary sets of values that occasionally collide.

Now some people (Ben for instance) have made some good points about why our confidence in unchilled free speech may be misguided and naive, and even though I ultimately disagree with him, that’s certainly a valid approach to rebuttal. But to dismiss us as simply empathizing with the enemy is unfair and untrue.

Jay
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, if you are satisfied with this blog, fine. I will be happy to go elsewhere.

But it is infuriating to have people like Kincaid and you attack the commenters who disagree, and that is precisely what Kincaid did to John. As I recall, you got upset when someone “psychologized” you on the basis of what you wrote. Well, that is what Kincaid did when he said that John and LaBarbera were exactly alike.

I think it is simply dumb practice for bloggers to attack their readers.

I have in the past found this a very helpful blog, but even when I disagreed with a particular posting, it never occurred to me that I or other readers and commenters would be attacked by the bloggers and be treated with such incivility.

I think I will stick with Joe.My.God, Towleroad, and Belerico–not because I invariably agree with their bloggers, but because they don’t write blogs defending our enemies and blaming other gay activists, whether it is a student who wants a safe campus or a pitchfork bearing mob.

BTW, I have been a card-carrying member of the ACLU for over 20 years. I don’t need to be lectured about free speech, and I would have no objection to the ACLU defending PornoPete. That is their job. I don’t think it is the appropriate job for a gay rights blog.

If you, Kincaid, and Burroway think that your job is to crusade on behalf of the freedom to express hate speech–despite what that has wrought in Uganda–then that clearly is your right. But not every right one has needs to be exercised.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, can you point out where I’ve attacked a commenter? I’m not saying I’ve never done it (I’m certainly not perfect), but it would help me to have an example or two.

Priya Lynn
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Rob said “Second, if this blog is effective (assuming you’ve found it effective in the past), it’s because it values the idea that speech should be freely aired and dealt with.”.

Please don’t exagerate. I’ve had Timothy delete a fair number of my posts rather than addressing them.

On another topic, given that Canada has full equal rights for gays and lesbians what does Peter Labarbera possibly expect to accomplish here? Anyone?

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Priya, I’m not exaggerating. I’d be exaggerating if I said we were perfect, but I’m not saying that. I don’t think I’ve ever deleted a comment here, and as for Tim, I’ll let him speak to his deletions if he likes.

Jay
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, I don’t recall specifically, and I don’t have the time or will to comb through all the comments. If you did, it would have been in the last couple of weeks, when it seems to me that the quality of the blog began to fail. Suddenly, it wasn’t simply the occasional annoying blog by Kincaid (and, of course, I actually like many of the postings by Kincaid, but he was the most “apologetic” of the bloggers) that irked, but a pattern emerged with you and Burroway also directing your scorn at gay people and defending our enemies.

I have to say, until then you were the blogger here that I liked most (with the exception of the truly groundbreaking work of Jim Burroway on the Sissy Boy experiments). I first started reading the blog because of the solid reporting then. I liked your videos–as I recall Claude Summers at glbtq.com did a “Shout Out” to you about your videos parodying the NOM videos–and I liked your unfailing civility.

But something has gone wrong. It is not my job to fix it, but I hope you do. My suggestion would be to get back to the mission that you articulated in the beginning, which was not to police the gay rights movement, and to enforce your orthodoxy on your readers and commenters, but to expose the dangers and misinformation of anti-gay groups and individuals.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

The ACLU is a singularly inappropriate comparison here. The ACLU is the guardian of free speech. This blog was, or at least I thought it was, designed to target the lies and misinformation of anti-gay groups. That is, it is supposed to be a gay activist blog, not a blog about the glories of free speech and the dangers of laws curbing hate speech.

I see the values of free and unfettered speech as being indispensable to this blog’s core goals. We may not have been allowed to say some the things we say without it. Certainly there was a time in some of our own lifetimes when we would not have been allowed to say much of it). Nor can we know what our opponents are planning, saying, and doing if they are driven underground. It’s the very glories of free speech that make our work possible.

Priya Lynn
April 12th, 2014 | LINK


Nor can we know what our opponents are planning, saying, and doing if they are driven underground. It’s the very glories of free speech that make our work possible.”

No comment from an LGBT blogger is going to drive these bigots underground. As they are losing they just get louder and more shrill.

Priya Lynn
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on whether or not you exagerated about how much this blog values free speech.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, I’d ask you not to make accusations if you don’t have the time to back them up.

Also, throughout the entire course of the spirited debate, I don’t see anything I did that amounts to enforcing my orthodoxy on my readers and commenters.

Finally, on the question of civility: A couple times on my “infuriate” post you insulted me directly (“You seem incapable of understanding…you are pretty hopeless.”) even as I maintained my civility. You could have struck those personal insults without diminishing your point at all.

Now, I’m a big boy and I didn’t object at that time, but if you’re going to make a big push for civility between bloggers and commenters, you should recognize that you’ll have to work at it just as I will.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Priya, I am perfectly happy to have you freely express your disagreement! :)

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

My suggestion would be to get back to the mission that you articulated in the beginning, which was not to police the gay rights movement, and to enforce your orthodoxy on your readers and commenters, but to expose the dangers and misinformation of anti-gay groups and individuals.

We have never taken as our mission “not to police the gay rights movement,” — that is, if by “police” you mean critique members and leaders of the gay community if we feel that there is something going on that we don’t agree with. I got lots of cheers when I “policed” (your words) HRC’s leadership when I felt they were being too accommodating with the White House’s foot dragging on DADT repeal.

What you seem to suggest is that we fall in line, get with the program, and sing along to the hymns of an agreed-upon orthodoxy. I don’t think any of us have ever cottoned to that. I would certainly have nothing to do with a project that demanded that of me. It’s why I don’t work at GLAAD, HRC, NGLTF, HRW, IGLTF, etc., as valuable as much of their work truly is.

I have long said that if someone is looking for an echo chamber where their views will never be challenged, then BTB is not for them. Our readers have certainly challenged us as writers, especially over the past week, and we are happy to accept that challenge. If you’re game to challenge and be challenged, then we’d love to have you stick around.

But if not, I understand. It’s not easy living with challenge sometimes. Even I have to back away when outside pressures totally unrelated to BTB rise up and I have to take a break from things here.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, Jim.

Jay
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I never insulted you directly. Your persistence in insisting on an absurd comparison between a student government decision at Stanford and the action of the South Carolina legislature still boggles my mind. The two are not remotely similar.

No skin off my teeth if you are happy with your blog. Life is too short to continue an unproductive dialogue.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

No comment from an LGBT blogger is going to drive these bigots underground. As they are losing they just get louder and more shrill.

Well, it depends on the “bigot” and the blogger. One blogger, not so much. But a massive chorus will drive those who are not activists underground. A lot of people say that Eich’s mistake was that he didn’t drive his own opinions underground when asked about his 2008 donations. I imagine a lot of CEO’s opinions truly are underground, where we can’t see them and know where to look in case there are problems.

As for LaBarbara, you’re right. He’s just getting louder and more shrill. And that works to our advantage. The last thing we should do is stifle him. We’ll all be much better off if we give people like him a much larger megaphone. He’s like Fred Phelps that way. He creates more allies for our cause than opponents every time he opens his mouth.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, I’ve given you two examples of when you moved beyond characterizing my statements negatively to characterizing me negatively. That’s what I mean by direct insult. If we want to increase the civility here then we’re all going to need to admit our own lapses.

Timothy Kincaid
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Yes, I’ve deleted your comments. You’ve also – more than once – been placed on moderation until your comments have come back to the standard we have here.

However, while we monitor our own site and limit what can be posted here, we value free speech in society. By that, I mean that we respect your right to create your own blogsite and say anything you like on it.

Where I have concerns is when government steps in and says “you can’t say that in our country”.

I am confident that you see the distinction between supporting free speech, and allowing you to say whatever you like in my living room or on our blogsite.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I have placed people on moderation when ad hominen attacks get out of hand. It’s a last resort measure, but one that we have had to do from time to time.

Priya Lynn
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

To the best of my recollection none of my deleted comments were for ad hominem attacks, most were for criticizing religion. The one that bothers me the most is when Timothy criticized me, another commenter chastized Timothy for doing so and when I referred to that other commenter’s comment about us Timothy deleted my comment saying “This is between me and him” – a conversation about me doesn’t concern me?! Give me a break.

Timothy said “I am confident that you see the distinction between supporting free speech, and allowing you to say whatever you like in my living room or on our blogsite.”.

Yes, but what I dislike is this holier than though schtick you put on about hate speech laws, acting as though any restriction on free speech is an attack on all that is good and right, giving the impression that the States has an absolute right to free speech (it doesn’t) which makes it better than everyone else. This faux “ohhh, a limit on free speech, please someone direct me to my fainting couch while I clutch my pearls!” type of faux outrage.

If you think its a good idea for the government not to infringe on speech its somewhat hypocritical to then say its okay to censure people on your blog – if free speech is good for one entity, its good for another.

I’m not saying don’t censure your blog, I’m just saying don’t pretend your standing on principle when you criticize other countries for limiting speech.

I’m not going to argue this further. You can have the last word.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Your version of events does not come close to lining up with the reasons I have placed you on moderation for brief periods. I will also say that this is not the only web site that has had to intervene with you.

That is all I will say on that.

Timothy Kincaid
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

It appears that I was mistaken about you understanding the distinction between supporting free speech, and allowing you to say whatever you like in my living room or on our blogsite.

I suppose that as we cannot meet on that ground, there’s little else to argue.

Ben
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I also noticed how not a single moderator responded to Lord Byron’s link listing all the people denied entry to the US. Probably because of how inconveniently it destroys their soapbox.

Especially one should note the name, Hortensia Bussi de Allende, the wife of the democratically elected leader of Chile, who the US spent money, time, and effort to unseat because they did not like his ideas.

If that doesn’t point out that five-story bonfire sized flame of hypocrisy of an American pretending that freedom of speech is and should be protected no matter what, and that it’s presence results in the betterment of society, nothing will.

In the words of Timothy Kincaid, “But but but but this is different because ummm it’s totally different!!”

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Ben, it only destroys our soapbox if we would have opposed allowing her to enter the country.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I also noticed how not a single moderator responded to Lord Byron’s link listing all the people denied entry to the US. Probably because of how inconveniently it destroys their soapbox. Especially one should note the name, Hortensia Bussi de Allende…

Stop the presses!!! The USA has been hypocritical a time or two in its history!

I’m really not sure what you’re driving at.

Ben
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

It was very clear that your premise was that denying him based on hate speech legislation would be a bad thing.

Except Canada, you know the country with that legislation, brought about by representatives of it’s population, beat the US by over a decade to full marriage equality.

So it doesn’t seem like your premise adheres to reality. Canada with it’s limits on speech, is objectively better about gay rights. It did not require giving bigots like LaBarbara constitutionally protected speech.

Gene in L.A.
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I too am an absolutist when it comes to free speech. Unless what he says can be demonstrated to cause direct harm, he can say anything he wants to. Bottom line: if I can shut him up because I dislike what he says, he can do the same to me.

DN
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

More popcorn! I need more popcorn over here!

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

DN, you make me wish our comments had “Like” buttons.

DN
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

As do I. I would “like” comments where people suggest Americans get over their free speech above all else fetish. Also, comments where people point to information that BTB ignores (such as Eich’s CNet interview).

Until likes are implemented, I’m thrilled to watch BTB’s regulars rake you guys over the proverbial coals.

Wiretapper
April 13th, 2014 | LINK

Why do people assume that the US have unlimited speach rights? As mentioned (but not commented by free speach advocates) There ARE limits (threatening people aso. mentioned above…) I agree that limiting free speach can be quite bad, but still, most of these laws are there for a reason, hatespeach can kill just as easily as screaming “fire” i a crowded theatre (as numerous examples has shown in history). I agree that the limits are hard to agree on, but they must exist, unlimited free speach is a nightmare, and no contry have them…

My contry (Sweden) have “hate speach” laws, its called “incitement to hatred against groups of people” its in our law defined as:

“with the intent,
in statements or in other spread messages circulated. Threaten or spread contempt about a group of people using race, color of skin, national origin, ethnical origin, religious faith or sexual orientation”

it have “niced up” some of the worst lunatics, but not much (and the law has proven quite toothless when tested in court) Btw the translation from swedish makes it seem even more full of holes than it already is.

And yes, sometimes this colides with itself (religious lunatics spreading lies about LGBT is one example).

At least it makes it slightly harder for hategroups to organize.. (but we even had Westboro Baptist Church here a couple of times for those who think the laws would stop such) Its (as seen) not perfect, but the problem is WHERE to put the limits of “free speach” , not that it must not exist (as threats and other similar “speaches” already is limited under other laws (even in USA))

Dont call anybody dumb for not agreeing exactly where the line is drawn for free speach, its often discutable, without a clear answer..

Hyhybt
April 13th, 2014 | LINK

“Bottom line: if I can shut him up because I dislike what he says, he can do the same to me.”—Exactly, and amen.

David Malcolm
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

Speaking as a Canadian, please don’t way who should or shouldn’t be allowed to speak in our country unless you live here. Bloody Americans always talk as if the values enshrined in your constitution are somehow gifts from on high that no other person or nation should ever be able to disagree with.

Here’s the thing, we have free speech in Canada, but it doesn’t look exactly like your own. We do curb the right to say things that are horrible, and could lead to the persecution of others. We don’t do a lot of it, and you have to be pretty nuts for us to tell you that you’re not allowed in.

But fun fact, society doesn’t crumble if if every wack job isn’t given a pulpit to preach hatred from. Society doesn’t crumble immediately when people aren’t allowed to actively try and make the world horrible for other people.

Just because insanity is an American value doesn’t mean it should be a Canadian one. So speaking as a Canadian, back off my country. You may assume that everyone in Canada is super left wing and reasonable and we’re practically Europe, but we’re not. We do have a lot of hateful people here, and a lot of people who use a claim of faith as an excuse to be horrible. We get a lot of the worst of your politics imported up here, partly because our current prime minister realizes that the more bull that we import from the US the easier it’ll be for him to get elected with BS tough on crime legislation and what not.

So no, the last thing we need is Peter LaBarbera.

FYoung
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

Speaking as a Canadian, I don’t see criticism of Canada’s hate speech law as being anti-Canadian. I don’t think Canada or its laws should be immune from criticism, from within and without; same goes for the USA.

I do think that Americans should reconsider their radical concept of freedom of speech instead of assuming it is always a good thing, but the right to criticize a law is definitely an essential and legitimate component of free speech.

Timothy Kincaid
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

David,

Speaking as a Canadian, please don’t way who should or shouldn’t be allowed to speak in our country unless you live here.

Perhaps you were reading a different commentary. Mine said:

And while I have no say in how Canadians choose to structure their society, I do hope that the US does not go down the road of silencing the voices of those who do not fit current social or political norms.

Steve
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

So you say you won’t say how Canadians should run their country and then go right ahead and say that the American way is better. So typical.

Priya Lynn
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

Typical conservative American – lives in a highly dysfunctional third rate society and bragging about how its number one.

NancyP
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

The Canadians can bar whom they will, but they might be missing out on some first rate foolery.

FYoung
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

“U.S. anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera arrested”
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/u-s-anti-gay-activist-peter-labarbera-arrested-in-regina-1.2610123

LaBarbera’s companion, Whatcott, was the subject of a major Supreme Court of Canada decision that partly upheld the prohibition of hate speech in human rights legislation.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/top-court-upholds-key-part-of-sask-anti-hate-law-1.1068276

Note that such laws are enforced administratively by human rights commissions, not by the police; no one gets charged or arrested. There is a separate hate speech section in the Criminal Code that is enforced by the police.

The arrest in this case was reportedly for trespassing. It appears that the university ordered LaBarbera and Whatcott to leave the campus and they refused.
http://cjme.com/story/anti-gay-abortion-activists-arrested-university-regina/313356

By the way, I think it would be helpful if discussion focused on the laws and their application, and not on the character of the bloggers and commenters on each side of this issue.

Priya Lynn
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

Fyoung, that goes to the question I asked earlier, “what does he expect to gain in Canada that already has full equality?”. Now I know, he was hoping to get hassled and arrested so he’d have a “Look at how they are persecuting us for being (anti-gay) christians.” story.

Timothy Kincaid
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

Yes, PL, I think that is EXACTLY what he was hoping for. Well, being kept out would have been better for him, it being a federal deal and more martyry than trespassing. But this is a nice second.

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