Friday, October 27, 2006


I have a cold from all the huggy-smoochy garbage at the funeral last week, hence the lowered blog output. Sorry!

Numbered thoughts:
1. Madonna is an idiot. I can't believe she stole a baby. She is so digusting.
2. I caught an interesting story out of Canada this morining, I thought I would share.

Postal staff walk off job to show ire at AIDS tract
Anti-gay pamphlets shouldn't be delivered because they're hate speech, union says

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver postal workers are willing to tough it out through sleet, hail, snow and fog to deliver the mail. But even on a mild day, they will not handle what they consider homophobic hate literature.

Sixty postal workers at an east Vancouver substation walked off the job yesterday, refusing to process a 27-page booklet distributed this week across Canada by the Fundamental Baptist Mission of Waterford, Ont. They returned to work 15 minutes later, saying they received assurances that Canada Post would review the matter.

"It's a basic principle -- you don't deliver hate literature," Ken Mooney, president of the Vancouver local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said in an interview.

But Canada Post later refused to acknowledge that workers had walked out or that officials would review the policy on mail delivery.

"They did not walk out; they were taking a break. That is what we are calling it," Lillian Au, communications manager for Canada Post's Pacific region, said in an interview. "They are entitled to two 15-minute coffee breaks and after they took their break, they came back and continued to work. We do not consider that to be a walkout."

Canada Post will deliver the pamphlet, Ms. Au also said. "It did not go out [Thursday] but it will be going out. Our commitment to the client, the sender, is that we have a three-day window to deliver that piece of mail. . . . It is business as usual."

Rev. Sterling Clark, a Baptist pastor for almost 60 years, wrote most of the booklet at the centre of the controversy. The front-page headline on The Prophetic Word, which provoked the protest, reads: The Plague of this 21st Century: The Consequences of the sin of Homosexuality (AIDS).

The article holds homosexuality responsible for the deaths for AIDS victims and social problems related to AIDS. An editorial in the booklet states that homosexuals are not nation-builders because they do not have children "and thereby contribute to the death of a nation." (I think they'd better off banning school if they want to promote a population boom.)

Mr. Clark, 77, dismissed the allegation that he had written a piece of homophobic hate literature. "What do they mean by hate? Is it a matter they do not agree with? Is it coming down to, you have one point of view and I have another, and that is classified as hate?" Mr. Clark said in an interview.

He did not retreat from the message of his booklet. He said AIDS is a plague sweeping the world that can be stopped by people honouring monogamous relationships between husband and wife.

He said that homosexuality was responsible for the problems caused by AIDS because homosexuals were responsible for the start of AIDS.

Mr. Clark said he wrote the booklet to draw attention to the fact that the Black Death in the 14th century was caused by fleas, rats and rodents, but AIDS was caused by people and their lifestyle. He wanted to say that so many people are dead and dying from AIDS because they lead an unhealthy lifestyle and that the AIDS "plague" points to a prophetic fulfilment of Scripture about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Mr. Mooney, of the postal union, said the booklet is a diatribe against the gay community, blaming homosexuals for the demise of Western civilization. Postal workers wanted to take a stand against the distribution of the material. "We have a lot of gay members in the work force. I have a gay brother; most of us know someone who has died from AIDS," he said. "Maybe your son died of AIDS and you are going to get this. It is so offensive."

Mr. Mooney said he believes the line between freedom of expression and hate literature is clear. "Circumstances and facts surrounding each case are going to dictate the outcome. But as a business, I think Canada Post has a social responsibility to take a stand on this," he said. "For a few bucks, they have entered into delivery for hate mail. Why?"

Canada Post may ensure the material is delivered, he added. But the mail will not be delivered by union members. It could be by an outside contractors or supervisors, he said.

Ms. Au said Canada Post does not intend to back down.

"We recognize people have opinions, but if they have an issue with this particular piece of mail, they should direct their concerns to the author of the piece, the sender, or take it up with the police," she said. "We don't have the right to censor the mail."

Canada Post reviews mail for safety reasons to ensure it does not pose a threat to workers and to determine whether the size is suitable for delivery by a postal workers. It also checks whether mail includes sexually explicit images.

"As far as whether it is hate mail, we don't look at that. It's not part of our mandate," Ms. Au said.

Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the booklet should not be distributed if the material is hate literature as defined by federal law. "Employees should not be required by their employers to commit crimes," he said.

"As much as we don't like the idea of Canada Post screening the contents of the material they distribute, it is probably a good idea to determine whether or not the material constitutes a criminal offence," Mr. Gratl also said. However, he had not seen the booklet and declined to express an opinion on whether it could be considered hate literature.

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