Stephen Boissoin responds to Lorne Gunter’s Column

Following is how I responded to Lorne Gunter’s article. It has been submitted to the Edmonton Journal for print but who knows if they will do so. Blessings

Re: Limiting expression, in freedom’s name
Edmonton Journal June 15, 2008

On June 11, 2008, I sent a private email to Lorne Gunter to inform him about inaccurate statements that he had made in his article of that same day. In that article, he claims that I encouraged readers to join a ‘war’ against (all) gays who I likened to pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps… These were not my words nor my intentions. Insinuating that I encouraged readers to join a war against gays is extremely irresponsible.

Then, even after I had contacted Mr. Gunter in an attempt to correct his error, he once again commits the same type of grievous error in his Sunday June 15, 2008 article, though this time, he does it intentionally. In the June 15th article he misinforms the public once again by twisting my words. He inaccurately reports that I “declared gays just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities,” when he could have just as easily printed the full and accurate quote from my 2002 letter in the parenthesis? It then would have read, “Homosexual rights activists and those that defend them, are just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities.” Which means that, in my opinion, targeting children and youth with a biased pro-gay agenda is just as immoral as…etc etc.

My ideological ‘war’ has nothing to do with the average gay individual. Even my gay friends, who have supported me from the beginning, read today’s article and were shocked that Mr. Gunter would not see the importance of reporting such an important clarification accurately. To prove my concern, I have included an excerpt from my email to Mr. Gunter. “Hi Lorne, I read an Edmonton Journal article online that has your name on it. 99% of it is great but in it you say “Last December, commission panellist Lori Andreachuk ruled that Red Deer Pastor Stephen Boissoin was guilty of hate speech for a letter he wrote to the Red Deer Advocate in which he encouraged readers to join a ‘war’ against gays, who he likened to pedophiles and pimps, and whom he blamed for diseases, among other things.” Where in my article did I call for a war against gays?…gay activism directed and young people yes….but gays…no. In addition, I likened gay activists that target children on equal grounds with pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps.”

Mr. Gunter and I went on to exchange emails. Mine attempted to clarify the difference between my feelings towards the average homosexual person, who I feel no ill will towards, and the gay activist who I am in opposition to because of their mandate that targets the minds of children and youth. Obviously Mr. Gunter disregarded my clarifications and made a conscious decision to twist my words and mislead the public.

Furthermore, Mr. Gunter opens his June 15, 2008 article with this statement, “Stephen Boissoin is a difficult man to defend.” What a coincidence. In his last email to me he states the same but also claims to have defended ‘me.’ He says, “You are a difficult person to figure out and to defend. But just an FYI, I defended you at the UofA Law School on a panel with Lund about two months ago. And I’d do the same again.” I must have offended Lorne by asking him to be accurate when he quotes me on such an important issue because he seems to poke at me by starting out his article by stating his subjective opinion that I am hard to defend. I would ask you the reader…who is harder to defend, the man who speaks his religious convictions honestly and openly or the reporter that purposely misinforms the public?

Even though I appreciate most of what Mr. Gunter presents in his articles, his failure to respect the context and even wording of my statements, for a second time, is representative of the same treatment that I received at the hands of the AHRC. The AHRC Panel Chair and complainant took the liberty to interpret my 2002 letter for me. After all, I wrote the article should I not be the one to interpret it? I fear that Mr. Gunter will surely get the last word in an attempt to make me out to be unreasonable for defending against his lack of journalistic integrity while reporting on this case.

Stephen Boissoin
Red Deer, Alberta