Bill Whatcott’s name is smeared across a Prairie province. As one of the most outspoken advocates for pro-life and pro-family awareness in Saskatchewan, he currently faces lawsuits that could strip him of his nursing licence and prohibit his picketing and literature distribution activities. There are a lot of people who’d do almost anything to shut him up.

Hugh Owens, another resident of Saskatchewan, was recently fined $5,000 for displaying a bumper sticker he created. It denounces certain behaviours as “immoral” and causes, say gay rights activists, “feelings of hurt.” He fought against the gay lobby that used the province’s human rights commission to try to silence him.

Both men have found it impossible to raise enough money to hire a lawyer and have ended up having to defend themselves in court. But thanks to one Saskatchewan lawyer’s willingness to stand for his convictions, legal assistance has become available.

In the latest lawsuit, launched by the Regina branch of Planned Parenthood, pro-life lawyer Tom Schuck stepped in to represent Whatcott without compensation. When asked what this meant to him, Whatcott admitted that although the focus of his and Schuck’s conversations is “God, gun rights, abortion and sodomites,” their friendship takes some of the edge off the attacks directed toward him.

Schuck’s defence of Whatcott goes beyond mere friendship, though. He believes that the Christian church itself is in danger of losing its voice.

Schuck explained to The Interim that under the Human Rights Code, speaking for pro-life issues and against sodomy can constitute an offence.

“If the courts find that pro-choice and gay rights groups have ‘suffered an affront to their dignity’ or ‘had their feelings hurt,’ that’s considered an offence. Their rights have been entrenched in the Canadian Constitution and calling their behaviour immoral offends them.”

Citing the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian leader who stood up to Hitler, Schuck warns the Christian church of the seriousness of the charges brought against Whatcott and Owens. “Basically, anyone who finds an effective way of conveying the message that sin is immoral is in danger of facing charges. That could also include speaking against common-law marriages.”

Schuck believes that Christians should also have the right to lay charges because of the “affronts to our dignity. “The court should weight out whose rights should prevail,” he said.

In the meantime, both his representation of Whatcott in the lawsuit filed by Regina Planned Parenthood and a Friends of the Court brief submitted on behalf of Owens have been done without cost to either man. That’s called putting your money where your mouth is.