National Post Blog: Goddard Firing Tests Religious Freedom, Free Speech


Charles Lewis who runs a blog for Canada's National Post writes (this appeared on the front page of the print edition as well):

The firing of broadcaster Damian Goddard, who was let go from Sportsnet six months ago, is turning into a test case about religious freedom in Canada and the right to declare those views in public.

Mr. Goddard lost his job after he wrote on Twitter [“I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”]

“I do not hate homosexuals,” the devout Roman Catholic said in an interview this week.

“But if I remain silent I am consenting to something I don’t believe in. I have 2,000 years of Christian history backing me up on this. I’m good with that.”

On Wednesday, it was announced Mr. Goddard had been hired as a spokesman for the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a wing of the National Organization for Marriage, which is working to stop legalizing same-gender marriage in the United States.

... [a] lawyer, who would not comment directly on Mr. Goddard’s case, said there is now a dangerous atmosphere in Canada in which comments protected under law can be twisted to appear as hate speech.

“Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings,” he said.

“I draw a distinction between ‘hurt speech’ and hate speech, and the culture has shifted in which hurt speech has become hate speech.”

What Damian tweeted is neither hate speech nor hurt speech, it was a civil expression of his civic point of view.