Canadian Court Upholds Right of Arrested Christians to Distribute Literature at University
Christian News | December 24, 2014
A Canadian court has upheld the right of two Christians to distribute literature on university campuses despite dislike for their message, and has found the men not guilty of a mischief charge following their arrest this past spring.
As previously reported, in April, Peter LaBarbera, the director of the U.S.-based Christian ministry Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, and Canadian activist Bill Whatcott were placed in handcuffs and escorted off the University of Regina campus when they refused to leave and stop distributing pamphlets on homosexuality and abortion.
“We are a diverse campus. We are a welcoming campus,” Vice President Tom Chase told reporters. “We celebrate that diversity, and our staff felt that the material and some of the things they had with them simply contravened that policy and we asked them to leave.”
But Whatcott asserted that the men had a right to be on campus and that they should not be censored for the content of their speech.
"I’m not leaving,” Whatcott told university officials after being barred from distributing the literature, according to reports. “You guys are intolerant and should be ashamed of yourselves for shutting down our message without even considering it.”
When Whatcott and LaBarbera proceeded with their outreach, they were arrested, charged with mischief and later released. LaBarbera was wearing a t-shirt with text regarding “hate crimes against Christians who disagree with homosexuality” when he was escorted away in handcuffs.
“I’m a Christian. I can’t hate people,” he told reporters after the incident. “We all struggle with sin—[Homosexuality] just doesn’t happen to be my sin. But the idea that you can’t have an open debate on homosexuality on a college campus and that some speech code is brought in to kick people off because they have a viewpoint that most students probably haven’t heard, seems to me to be pretty undemocratic.”