Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Quebec Attorney General Kathleen Weil, announcing new policy with Laurent McCutcheon, president of Foundation Emergence, a Quebec homosexual advocacy group
Opponents of “hate crimes” legislation, who have frequently pointed to Canada as an example of how such laws are used to increasingly suppress moral objections to homosexuality, now have more fuel for their fire in the form of the “Quebec Policy Against Homophobia.”
The policy, released last month by Quebec’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Kathleen Weil, assigns the government the task of eliminating all forms of “homophobia” and “heterosexism” – including the belief that homosexuality is immoral – from society as a whole.
The text and specifics of the policy are steeped in vague bureaucratic language about “coordination” and “synergy,” but the goal is spelled out clearly: to enlist the government to normalize homosexuality in society and to quell common criticisms levied against “sexual minorities,” a term the policy uses to inclusively describe “lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgenders.”
“An inclusive society such as ours must take the necessary steps to combat homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns and move towards full acceptance of sexual diversity,” states the Premier of Quebec Jean Charest in a letter that serves as the policy’s introduction. “The policy sets out the government’s goal of removing all the obstacles to full recognition of the social equality of the sexual minorities, at all levels of society.”
The policy further defines the heterosexism that must be stomped out as “affirmation of heterosexuality as a social norm or the highest form of sexual orientation.”
Furthermore, the policy laments, “It is still possible to hear people say that homosexuality is an illness, morally wrong or a form of deviant behavior, and that people choose their sexual orientation. These beliefs, often instilled in the past, tend
to marginalize sexual minority groups and prevent full recognition of their social equality.”
Such “prejudice,” the policy affirms, must be combated.
And while the word “church” is never explicitly mentioned in the policy, it does declare it important to publicize the most “insidious” forms of homophobia with a plan to “target the various locations in which homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns, as well as heterosexist stereotypes, are found.”
The policy also warns, “It will be necessary to deal with the heterosexist
values on which some institutional practices are founded.”
Weil introduced her ministry’s new direction by stating, “The policy released this morning shows, once again, that Quebec society is a leader in the field of sexual minority rights.”
Indeed, Quebec was the first jurisdiction in North America to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with an amendment to its charter of human rights and freedoms in 1977. In 1995, the province amended its criminal code to include sexual orientation as an aggravating factor in “hate crimes,” a law expanded in 2004 to include not only crimes but “hate propaganda.” Same-sex marriage was legalized in Quebec in 2005.
The progression from “hate crime” legislation to outlawing “hate propaganda” to now enlisting the government’s power in socially normalizing homosexuality is the very process decried by many Americans, as the U.S. also begins passing the first of such laws.
Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, for example, told WND the practical application of such laws already has been seen in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, where the Christian Institute highlighted reports of a senior citizen being accused of “hate crimes” for writing a letter objecting to a pro-homosexual festival:
“This is the way it gets implemented in all the other countries,” Cass said. “Christians are singled out for prosecution, with threats, imprisonment and fines simply for refusing to stop doing what Christ commands: proclaiming the truth.”
“[These cases] are a good precursor of where this goes,” he warned.
Weil, however, argues that until society comes to accept “sexual minorities,” they will continue to be subjected to harassment, intimidation and insult – regardless of anti-discrimination laws.
“To be fully effective, the legal equality of sexual minorities must be supported
by social equality,” Weil writes in her introduction to the policy. “The Quebec government intends, by adopting this policy against homophobia, to play a leading role in achieving this objective.”
To that end, the policy consists of four “guidelines” for the Quebec government, which, in the words of the policy, direct the government to:
Recognize the realities faced by sexual minority members
Promote respect for the rights of sexual minority members
Promote wellbeing for sexual minorities
Ensure a concerted approach by government authorities and institutions
The specific action points of the policy are loosely defined, but include funding additional studies, efforts to help “sexual minorities” find social services, rooting out institutional practices that discriminate against or intimidate “sexual minorities,” adapting public services to the specific needs of the “sexual minorities” and the creation of additional bureaucracies to “monitor” progress.
A brief line in the policy, which declares that schools can play “a key role” in retraining the populace on “sexual minority” rights, however, has elicited some reaction.
“They’ve done it with the ethics and religious culture course,” he said, “so I’m not at all surprised that they’d be willing to fully integrate it into that course, with extra stuff tacked on.”
LifeSiteNews reports that the Ethics and Religious Culture program is a province-mandated curriculum for all Quebec students spanning grades 1 to 11 that already presents homosexuality as a normal lifestyle.
Buscemi is also alarmed by the policy’s requirements that institutions and social services be conformed to fit the needs of “sexual minorities.”
“I could see this being the beginning of the end of religious freedom in the sense that if a church, for example, is offering a service, for example marriage, and is not tailoring the service to the needs of a homosexual, then it could be sanctioned for not doing that,” he explained.
“They’re going to try for the longest possible to just use social pressure and increasingly isolate the recalcitrant entities and institutions,” Buscemi predicted. “They’re quite clear; they’re quite unapologetic. It’s going to be a concerted effort, including all the ministries. … This is going to be a full-court press. It’s going to lead to ostracizing different churches that have doctrinal oppositions to homosexual behavior.”