Volume 93, Issue 28

Wednesday, October 20, 1999


Dalhousie student union bans preacher

Stadium levy concerns students

McGill study reveals kids get lost on information highway

Extending rights may increase confusion


Buzz Mecca

Caught on Campus

Dalhousie student union bans preacher

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Pastor don't preach was the clear message sent by the Dalhousie University Students' Union to the leader of a local Halifax church late last week.

Brian Kellow, executive vice-president of the DSU, said pastor David Brown of the Halifax Bible Church has been banned from the Student Union Centre at the university. The ban from campus was a result of the controversial nature of Brown's preaching and literature, Kellow said.

Last Wednesday, Brown stirred things up by standing on a soapbox in front of the Student Union Centre, preaching and handing out pamphlets which claimed the DSU was controlled by special interest groups, Kellow explained. He said the front of the pamphlet had a hammer and sickle on it.

"His preaching is close to hate speech," Kellow said. "We pretty much told him to beat it and then decided to make it official by issuing a protection of property - he is not a student here and we're not obligated to provide him a forum."

Brown confirmed the contents of the pamphlet and the controversial nature of his beliefs, but said being forced off campus opposes his right to freedom of expression. He also claimed he was technically not on Dalhousie's campus, but rather on the public sidewalk.

"The university claims I can't make negative comments about religious groups on campus when at the same time they say negative things about my religious group," Brown said.

The church was organized a few months ago and currently has 12 members, he added.

Brown said his main problem with the DSU is the increased influence of minority interest groups. "The DSU has clearly succumbed to the politically correct climate we live in which has trampled traditional rights for the sake of a few small minority groups."

Brown's views on feminists and homosexuals are two which have caused the greatest controversy among students and student groups. He said he denounced the Take Back the Night march and described feminists as anti-Christian, inciting a reaction from the director of the Dalhousie Women's Group, Patricia Thomson.

"[Brown] is definitely travelling a thin line," Thomson said. "I have a number of feminist friends who are prominent members in their Christian churches. He is claiming to be speaking responsibly, but promoting hate is not very responsible."

Thomson said last week she, along with two other members of the women's group, protested against Brown with picket signs while a number of other students surrounded the church leader as he spoke.

Dalhousie's Anglican chaplain Paul Friesen said his main point of contention with Brown is the way he is promoting his religion. "The way he has publicized himself is unfortunate," Friesen said. "He has issued hot and angry words."

The Halifax YMCA, where Brown and his church's members had been holding their meetings, ended the contract with the Bible Church, Brown said.

June Saunders, general manager of the YMCA said although she had received some complaints from YMCA patrons, the group's removal was based strictly on a need for space and not on Brown's beliefs.

At present the church has no set place to worship, Brown said, adding the controversy at Dalhousie has closed the door to a number of prospective sites.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999