Hugh Owens may well be the first Canadian ever fined for quoting the Bible, but unless Canadian Christians wake up from their apathetic slumbers and mount a counterattack against the persecutorial tyranny of kangaroo court human rights commissions, he won’t be the last.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has ordered both Owens and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix newspaper to pay $1,500 to three homosexualist activists for publishing an ad in the newspaper quoting, verbatim and without annotation, Bible verses pertaining to homosexuality. The ruling issued by the sole adjudicator, lawyer Valerie Watson, also prohibits Owens, who purchased the ad, from “further publishing or displaying the bumper stickers submitted in evidence in a newspaper or any other medium,” and prohibits The StarPhoenix from accepting the ad for future publication.

The ruling wasn’t exactly a surprise. In a column about the case (which has dragged on for years) back in 1999 I wrote: “If recent history is any guide, the result of this hearing is a foregone conclusion, but one hopes that if the HRC does declare the Bible to be hateful, it will finally jolt Canadian Christians out of their somnolent torpor,” and as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer’s Order for Confirmation puts it so well, to “fight under the banner of Christ crucified, against sin, the world and the devil, and to continue Christ’s faithful soldiers unto [our] life’s end,” to restore and preserve our rightful Christian heritage. As American social scientist Thomas Sowell observes: “If you are free only when others think you are right, then you are not free at all.”

It’s not at all surprising that homosexualists are offended by the Bible’s unequivocal condemnation of homosexual behavior (although not, it must be emphasized, of persons who engage in it). Despite concerted efforts at liberal revisionism on this issue, for orthodox Christians and Jews who consider the Bible authoritative, homosexual acts are non-negotiably sinful and unacceptable. As Rabbi Steven Kaplan of the Saskatoon Jewish Centre testified at the Owens so-called “hearing”: “The Bible is the Bible is the Bible; it cannot be changed.”

That infuriates the politically correct who seek to stifle any public contradiction of what they have decided is right. For example, Rev. Brent Hawkes of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church who testified as an expert witness at the tribunal, allowed that the Bible means only to condemn paedophilia. I would be fascinated to hear Rev. Hawkes expand on his revisionist views regarding the “true meaning” of Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Judges 19:22, Romans 1: 26-27, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:10

Rev. Hawkes also declared that Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews will be punished by God for maintaining that the practice of homosexuality is wrong and characterized fundamentalist Biblical interpretations as “satanic.” Predictably, the one-woman tribunal chose to accept Rev. Hawkes’ biblical exegesis over that of Rabbi Kaplan.

The speech-chilling “human rights” agenda of course collides head-on with Canadians’ supposedly constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, expression and religion, but as the Edgefield Journal’s Lake E. High Jr. observes: “So, in Canada we see that even writing freedoms into law doesn’t do any good when leftists hold power … when leftists achieve absolute power they simply say a law means only what they want it to mean … In other words, Political Correctness is the law in Canada.”

Homosexuals certainly enjoy freedom of speech and expression in Canada. Gay advocacy journalism pours forth relentlessly from the pages of every major newspaper in the country. Many cities have declared “gay pride days” complete with parades featuring X-rated displays of public lewdness and explicit anti-religious mockery that would have been a ticket to the slammer or the psychiatric ward even 20 years ago. This sort of thing is profoundly, hurtfully offensive to Christians and to devout adherents of other religions as well, which is presumably its intent, but of course the human rights gestapo’s “hate-policing” doesn’t extend to anti-Christian speech and expression. What’s next? Forced “re-education?”