Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


OPINIONS

Respect the freedom to preach

What about freedom on our lawn?

Respect the freedom to preach



Re: "Police pull preacher" Nov. 18

To the Editor:

The removal of preacher Ed Wellein from campus was an absolutely appropriate move by the campus police.

After Sgt. Jim Parmely received several complaints from offended onlookers, myself being one of them, Wellein was removed. Shortly after, a mini-debate took place between a group of students, along with psychology professor Patrick Brown.

The obvious concern was the right to free (preach) speech guaranteed to every Canadian citizen under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Mr. Brown's defence of democracy was on the mark, however, while we spoke, I learned Mr. Brown was not present for Weillein's very questionable remarks concerning, among other things, the fate of those who practice other non-Christian religions.

To say to a crowd of diverse and knowledgeable minds that those who do not accept Jesus Christ as savior, are destined to eternal damnation was indeed an insult to those present who follow other faiths and beliefs.

This form of Christian fundamentalism accompanied with the "Billy Graham-esque" delivery provided by Bible thumper Wellein is full to the brim with bigoted, discriminatory and ignorant philosophies stemming from an entire mis-philosophy of the literal interpretations of Christian scripture.

I have no apprehension comparing this brand of thought with that of hate oriented groups. Hate groups place themselves superior to differing groups deemed inferior because of race, religion, walk of life, etc. Thus, we enter into the debate of what is free speech, what is hate and who is to decide.

Mr. Brown may have had a different opinion on the matter had he heard Wellein speak or perhaps belonged to a denomination that Wellein denounced publicly. But he was correct in stating that free speech is a right that we are all extremely fortunate to have and that is not debatable.

What is debatable is whether Wellein should be allowed to abuse that right by spewing questionable comments in a private institution that takes pride in its multiculturalism and in a day and age where his views correspond with the backing for much of the ruthless conflict in this world.

But for now, we must accept that it was Wellein's right to speak his mind. That's democracy – warts and all.

Nick Moroz
History II







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Copyright The Gazette 1999