A human rights tribunal hearing over an evangelical pastor’s ad on homosexuality ended Dec. 21, with the complainant shaking hands with the pastor. Ken Campbell, a frequent speaker at pro-life events, was taken before the tribunal to answer to charges that a 1998 ad he had published in the Globe and Mail was offensive to a practising homosexual who complained to the B.C. Human Rights Commission.
Representing himself, to avoid the approximate $150,000 cost of legal representation, Campbell argued that his authority for preaching against homosexual conduct was the Bible. During the trial Campbell presented his stand honestly and courageously, and with the courtesy of a true Christian, pointing out that he harboured no hatred, but rather love, for those afflicted with the homosexual condition. The effect on the complainant, Kevin Stacey, was obvious, as Stacey’s testimony affirmed. Under cross-examination, the complainant acknowledged that as he became acquainted with the respondent during the hearing, from the hand-shake when they first met, he realized that Campbell was not “the red-necked, gay-bashing, Bible-thumping fundamentalist” the media had misrepresented him to be, as he had expected.
Campbell concluded his final submission by inviting Stacey “to join him in calling Canadians to resolve their conflicts and disputes in the cordial and civilized manner which characterized this hearing.” Stacey responded to the invitation by reaching across the table to warmly shake Rev. Campbell’s hand. Tribunal hearing officer, Tom Patch, commended the principals for the mutual respect, dignity and civility with which they had conducted themselves throughout the hearing and invited them to contact him should anything further develop from that handshake, adding that if he heard from them with such a positive report, he would not issue a ruling in the case.