MARGARET WENTE: Free speech has to be for everyone

Globe & Mail, Margaret Wente: Free speech has to be for everyone :

“University of Toronto president David Naylor confesses that this isn’t his favourite time of year. “It is the consistently worst week of a president’s life,” he sighs.

Yes, it’s Israel Apartheid Week – the annual Israel-bashing fest with the usual small band of activists and crackpots, and speakers from that champion of universal justice, the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Are anti-Semites a threat to public safety? Here in North America, the answer is surely no, so long as they don’t go round firebombing synagogues. Are anti-homosexuals? No again, so long as they’re not physically engaged in gay-bashing. So long as equality before the law is the law of the land, we don’t need hate-speech laws to protect people. And no matter how words hurt, there’s a difference between words and blows.

This distinction appears to have been lost on Alberta’s Human Rights Commission, which recently ruled against a conservative Christian who’d written a letter to the Red Deer Advocate in which he called gays “immoral.” The commission ruled that his letter was “likely to expose homosexuals to hatred and/or contempt,” and even linked it to the beating of a gay teenager, acknowledging the link was “circumstantial.” But now, the Christians are claiming equal rights. “

The Rest – great read, Thanks Ms. Wente.