I am a hated man. If you read the comments section at the bottom of my columns and broadcasts, look at what is said on Twitter and Facebook, or could see some of the letters and e-mails written to me personally, you would appreciate the depth and width and anger and malice of the threats, abuse, insults, and lies. I am attacked for being a Jew, a Catholic, a Nazi, a child-molester, a Holocaust denier, a rapist, a liar, for being fat and ugly, someone who should be killed. Actually I am indeed a Catholic, and have a Jewish father, so those two “attacks” are to be welcomed. But even they are employed out of hatred and with a perverse attempt to cause offence.
My point is that even though this spew of bile is regular and chronic, and has been going strong for many years, I‘m still here, as fit as a fiddle, enjoying life, and doing well in my career. The hateful attacks just don’t matter, unless I allow them to do so. I’m loved as well, and not just by family and friends. Myriad tweets, e-mails, and comments praising and thanking me. It’s all part of life’s varieties and realities.
The people who despise me, however, generally seem to be atheists, pro-abortion fanatics, militant homosexuals, and radical leftists. They are the very people who routinely bring prosecutions through the courts and human rights commissions against people they claim are – yes – hateful and spread hatred. Which brings us to the act of supreme cowardice and illiberalism that we saw at the end of February when the Supreme Court decided – albeit disguised in the words of alleged compromise and balance – that the state can control numerous forms of free speech if someone, usually a member of a fashionable minority group, is in some way offended. I genuinely don’t know when we gave up our independence and personal integrity and asked, and assumed, that the state would raise our kids, tell us what to say, and legislate mind control and speech dictatorship, but I know we did.
Canada’s hate laws. Look, it really is extremely simple. It’s wrong to hate, but then it’s wrong to have bad breath and to not open a door for someone. There is, or should be in a civilized society, a huge gulf between what is wrong and what is illegal. Halitosis is not at this point covered by any human rights commissions, but then again it may just be a matter of time. As for failure to open doors – that could become an actual criminal offence.
The Supreme Court case concerned a largely irrelevant and somewhat eccentric fellow named William Whatcott, who has said and written some counter-cultural and often crass things about homosexuality. I used to know Bill, and while some of what he says may be true, the way he says it often clumsy and unnecessarily harsh. Frankly, it makes my life as a socially and morally conservative journalist and public figure more difficult. At this point some of my more rough and tough supporters are becoming angry with me – I know, because they also write. “You are selling out,” “you should read the Bible,” etc. No, I have never sold out, and yes I read the Bible. I speak and write my social conservatism to millions, and suffer accordingly. So please do not try to tell me about persecution due to beliefs. I live it every single day.
My point, though, is that we have to try to win battles and save the culture rather than aspire to meaningless martyrdom and the alienation of potential allies. Still, this aside, I’m a big boy, a grown-up, and nobody is coming to my door to drag me away. Whatcott and I may disagree, but he has a perfect, absolute, and sacred right to say what he does. As long as he does not call for violence, he should be allowed to opine all day and night if he has the stomach for it. That his views may be unpopular and disliked by the establishment only make the need for them to be protected more vital. Freedom of speech is not the tolerance of that with which you agree, but the acceptance – perhaps the ignoring – of that, which makes you very angry indeed.
Free speech is all the more significant to the pro-life movement in that we are not swimming with the tide of fashion, and are some of the most likely to be prosecuted and persecuted by those who wish to control dialogue and expression. So it was a bad day for freedom, a bad day for debate, a bad day for us, but I suspect a good day for lawyers, judges, intolerant liberals, and perhaps even both sides involved in the case. Keep speaking my friends – loud, clear, and true.
Michael Coren’s website is www.michaelcoren.com, where he can be hired for speeches and his books purchased.