Earlier this spring, pro-life evangelist Ken Campbell purchased a full-page ad in The Globe and Mail. The ad condemned the “bathhouse morality” of many homosexuals, and argued against the recent Vriend decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada forced Alberta to add “sexual orientation” to its human rights legislation. In the ad, Campbell said the ruling is an “assault on the foundations of faith, family, and freedom in Canada.”
That prompted Toronto homosexual Philip Shea to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), alleging Campbell’s ad incited discrimination against, if not outright hatred of homosexuals.
In his 100-page response to Shea’s complaint, Campbell said he is free to speak against “the alarming undermining” of democracy by “the increasing activism” of the courts, which now routinely “dictate public policy rather than interpret” the law. He said the only people offended by the ad are those who seek to replace the God-centred foundations of Western civilization with a “subversive, secular atheism.”
He also dismissed charges of “homophobia,” saying he would never associate with John Mckellar, the head of Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism (HOPE) and a close friend, if he held such views. (HOPE is featured in the ad, and Mckellar is a co-defendant in the OHRC hearing.) Campbell told The Interim, “I don’t hate them (homosexuals). I quote Jesus.” He said his opponents are “truthophobic”—that they fear the truth of Christ.
On reflection, Campbell said he had hoped the article would lead to a debate on homosexual “rights,” and that he thinks it has been successful in achieving that end. He said Philip Shea should place an ad presenting his side of the issue, instead of using the OHRC to squelch opposition.
Campbell has also sent a letter to Premier Mike Harris asking that OHRC chair Keith Norton, who is a homosexual activist, be urged to step aside because of a conflict of interest.
The ad also led to controversy among evangelical Christians. Christian Week editor Doug Koop criticized Campbell for creating “a negative Christian presence rather than a positive Christian invitation.” In a joint letter to the Globe, Focus on the Family (FOF) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) protested Campbell’s use of their names in his ad.
In an interview with Western Report, EFC president Gary Walsh said he is uncomfortable with the language of the ad. Darrel Reid of FOF Canada added, however, that it would be wrong to see these criticisms as a rift in the Christian community. “It’s a difference of emphasis,” he said.
Campbell called the Christian Week column “baseless nastiness,” and said it reflects “comfort-zone Christianity.” “I wouldn’t change any word, thought, or intent of the ad,” he said.