“Jesus Sucks?” Banner Called a Human Rights Violation August 4, 2008

“Jesus Sucks?” Banner Called a Human Rights Violation

Last week, I mentioned a story about how a character from the show Kenny vs. Spenny won a contest to piss off the most people by having this banner flown over Toronto, Canada:

jesussucks.jpg

Now, Dean Skoreyko of British Columbia has “filed a human-rights complaint alleging religious discrimination…”

Skoreyko, who once sought the nomination to run for the federal Conservatives in Okanagan-Shuswap, told the National Post he filed the complaint on behalf of the silent majority that would object to such antics. He said he wanted to make the point that the human-rights system applies double standards, favouring only minority interests.

I’m trying to figure out which of his rights were violated… I’m coming up empty.

And where exactly is the discrimination?

You can dislike what was done, but not every offensive sign deserves a lawsuit.

(via The Freethinker)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I don’t know Canada, but in the US, you still don’t have a right to not be offended. Now, if the government were flying that banner, there might be an argument. But last I checked, I can call Dean Skoreyko a raging douchebag and not violate any laws.

  • Vincent

    Canada has those “human rights commissions” that are extra-judicial bodies that lately have been used to harass people and restrict free speech. They don’t consider free speech a “human right.” They are too political and susceptible to abuse and should be abolished.

  • Darryl

    If someone can show clear and significant harm done to anyone by such a thing, then there may be a case. But, I must say, if you’re harmed by this, how do you function in life? This is a disingenuous way to use the law to squash dissenting speech.

  • Michael

    This may very well be a Human Rights violation in Canada. I don’ have a link atm, but a magazine in Canada has been facing legal troubles for quite some time now because they reprinted the Muhammad cartoons. Even if they win the case, which it doesn’t look like they will, they can’t seek any reimbursement for legal fees. Be wary of Canada.

    Here’s a link: http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/12/canadas-star-chamber-quizzes-ezra-levant-over-the-mohammed-cartoons/

  • David D.G.

    “On behalf of the silent majority,” eh? Maybe they should stop being silent then; they should speak up and let everyone else know that this self-appointed spokesman does not speak for them.

    ~David D.G.

  • Perhaps us atheists should start suing all the religious groups for all those thousands of roadside billboards that offend our sensibilities?

    Jesus Sucks and Dean Skoreyko Sucks big-time.

  • I’m against any restriction on religious discrimination. People are born black or white or gay or Asian. People are not born Christian or Muslim or of any religion. They CHOOSE to believe. And faiths and beliefs should be fair game to be spoken out against, be it Hinduism, Islam, Nazism, the KKK, Christianity, Heaven’s Gate cult, etc.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m trying to figure out which of his rights were violated… I’m coming up empty.

    I guess Skoreyko thinks he possesses the unalienable right to never be offended. If that’s so then all the people who didn’t vote for him are potential plaintiffs for filing since he clearly offended them, and of course they’re all potential defendants since they clearly offended him by not voting for him. These human rights tribunals are going to be very busy. One tribunal’s decision will offend many people and they will file complaints at other tribunals against the first tribunal, while still other people will be offended by that and file back….

    Maybe Hemant can use his math skills to be more exact, but it looks like within six months all of the 6,832,359,492 people on Earth (at the moment I wrote this) will be needed to be on human rights tribunals to consider all the complaints against all the other human rights tribunals and their offensive decisions.

    So much for my delusion that Canada was a sanctuary of sanity compared to the U.S.

  • Jim

    discrimination

    I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means…

  • wwyoud

    It’s not just Canada. The UN Human Rights Council voted in June that “Declarations must avoid judgments or evaluation about religion”. According to an article in FrontPage:
    In response to a condemnation of female genital mutilation, practiced mostly by Muslims in Africa, “Council President Doru-Romulus Costea explained that religious issues can be “very complex, very sensitive and very intense…This council is not prepared to discuss religious matters in depth, consequently we should not do it.” ”

    This means that any criticism of religious laws or practices can be considered an attack on that religion, and thus is not allowed. This includes Sharia laws such as stoning adulteresses, etc. The International Humanist and Ethical Union has a UN representative and is tracking this issue.

  • Milena

    Michael, unfortunately the Western Standard, which was a newspaper, lost its Human Rights Commission hearing a while ago and has since gone out of business. Currently, Maclean’s, a political magazine, is facing a Human Rights Commission hearing as well, because they printed an excerpt from regular columnist Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, which discusses Islam in less than a positive manner.

    It should be mentionned that the Human Rights Commission hearings, when it comes to “religious discrimination” are completely arbitrary, as the whole case depends on the offended party’s claim that it has been offended by the defendant. Furthermore, the punishment, if the defendant is found guilty of a human rights offence, is prohibition from ever again discussing the offending subject in any way, on penalty of a fine. Oh, and so far the Human Rights Commission has had a 100% guilty-verdict record. Just sayin’.

  • I guess that means Kenny wins, huh?

  • Cait

    I don’t see how this is particularly discriminatory. It would be kind of discriminatory if you were suppressing people’s freedom of expression, though… That said, if you consider where this is coming from, it’s not surprising – the Okanagan is kind of a Bible belt region even though lots of parts of Canada are very reasonable… we only ever get conservative evangelicals as MPs and I believe my town is celebrating pro-life week sometime soon. Can’t wait for the protests.

  • Justin jm

    I take it that nobody has been sued in these “human rights” commissions for anti-atheist prejudicial statements? The issue of respect seems to be a one-way street sometimes, and I fear what would happen if the courts could suppress speech here, like wwyoud noted above.

  • PrimeNumbers

    These HRCs are disgusting. Truth is not a defense! Because all the “victim” has to claim is hurt feelings and you’re guilty as charged. They’re ludicrous anti-free-speech, anti-freedom monstrosities I encourage any Canadian to write to their MP. Check out http://www.ezralevant.com for more info. Now, I’m not a big fan of Ezra. I don’t always like what he says, but he has the right to say it!

  • J Myers

    People are not born Christian or Muslim or of any religion. They CHOOSE to believe.

    What? Beliefs cannot be chosen.

  • The complaint against Ezra Levant has been withdrawn, although with the demise of Western Standard Publishing, it certainly served the purpose of the one who lodged it. The complaints against MacLean’s magazine, and Mark Steyn have been dismissed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

  • Darryl

    So much for my delusion that Canada was a sanctuary of sanity compared to the U.S.

    I guess I’ll have to revise my relocation plans.

    wwyoud, from what the AP article said the UN members of this council can still issue reports that criticize religious barbarisms but they cannot discuss them during council meetings. This is why so many people criticize the UN, especially its Human Rights Council. You have major offenders on the council who take it as an attack on their faith to call attention to such practices.

  • Gabriel

    crybaby

  • A “human rights violation”? Good, then let Jesus come forward and file a lawsuit.

  • Seth C.

    A human-rights violation? “Jesus” probably thought it was funny….

    🙂

  • Not a matter of being a crybaby Gabriel but seeing if the system is actually fair. (I have my doubts.) Here in Canada, everything is seemingly a human rights violation. Usually it’s Christianity under fire though. Interesting test of the system but given the tendencies of the Human Rights Commission, this will go nowhere fast.

  • wwyoud

    The UN HRC is about 1/3 Muslim; there’s an article on the IHEU site discussing the “coup” that Egypt, Iran and other countries managed after the Danish cartoons. There is a lot of concern about the HRC’s decision, and the fight is being mustered, but the US response was to leave the group. IHEU has a link to the particular discussion on video (did you know UN meetings are videotaped and published to web?), and it’s very interesting when Lippman is reading the condemnation – he is interrupted over and over by the Muslim reps, and several members display that peculiar form of tension you see in such meetings (I’m so mad I could spit, but Robert’s says I – must – wait – my – turn). The issue has been slow to gain traction…

  • philosophia

    “Silent majority”? If only.

    (Note: I really do mean that in the nicest possble way. Please don’t sue me XD).

  • stogoe

    Mark “The Human” Steyn is a contemptible ass and suffers from chronic fractal wrongness. But even “Human” Steyn doesn’t deserve to be strung up by these “Hurt Feelings” witch hunts. No one does.

  • Mark H

    Unfortunately, this is going to be a long one.

    What really angers me about the whole Human Rights Commission issue is how many people are willing to smear Canada, even though they know nothing about the HRC, or what the Human Rights Act actually says. It’s amazing, the lies that get repeated, by people who obviously have no idea.

    Information about the HRC is here.
    The Human Rights Act is here.

    First a little background on the story in question.

    It’s safe to say that Dean Skoreyko is entirely aware that this case will not go anywhere, not because the HRC is biased against Christians, or white people, but because contrary to the propaganda fest that sprung up around the Erza Levant case, pissing people off is not a violation of the HRA. What Skoreyko is doing is taking advantage of the fact that even most Canadians don’t know what the HRA actually says, plus the aforementioned propaganda fest, in order to assault HRC.

    Why the assault on the HRC? The HRA (and therefore, the HRC,) deals with discrimination. The vast majority of cases brought before the HRC are the kinds of things that most Canadians would agree really are discrimination. This is a problem for the RR, since many of it’s members have a tendency to treat gays, atheists, Aboriginals, and non-European immigrants like dirt. The RR complains often about the HRC, but since most Canadians oppose discrimination, these complaints usually don’t win the RR any new support.

    Then along came Erza Levant and his notorious cartoons. Since freedom of speech is an issue that resonates with most people, the RR finally had an issue with which they could portray the HRC as jack-booted thugs. Of course, they also had to spread a great deal of bullshit in order to do so, but that’s never stopped the RR before. Unfotunatenly, the bullshit spread by the RR has been taken at face value by far too many people.

    The complaint against Erza Levant was not simply on the grounds that Muslims were offended, but because the claimants argued that the cartoons in question met the HRA definition of hate speech.

    On to the comments:

    t3knomanser said,

    I don’t know Canada, but in the US, you still don’t have a right to not be offended.

    You don’t have that right in Canada either.

    Vincent said,

    Canada has those “human rights commissions” that are extra-judicial bodies that lately have been used to harass people and restrict free speech.

    The HRC is an arbitration panel.

    As for the harassment part, they harass people who violate the HRA in the same sense that the police harass people that violate the criminal code.

    They don’t consider free speech a “human right.”

    The HRA does not consider free speech to be an absolute right, but there is not single country in the world that does. Not even the United States.

    They are too political and susceptible to abuse and should be abolished.

    This is the argument of the RR, but if you click on the links above, you’ll see that the HRA is in fact, fairly specific and well defined.

    Michael said,

    This may very well be a Human Rights violation in Canada.

    This is definitely not a Human Rights violation, according to the definition of the HRA. As I said above, Dean Skoreyko is quite likely even aware that it’s not.

    I don’ have a link atm, but a magazine in Canada has been facing legal troubles for quite some time now because they reprinted the Muhammad cartoons. Even if they win the case, which it doesn’t look like they will, they can’t seek any reimbursement for legal fees. Be wary of Canada.

    The case was withdrawn. Some time ago, in fact. As for Mr Levant’s legal fees, since the HRC is an arbitration panel, he wouldn’t need to hire a lawyer. He did have a meeting with an HRC official, but he did so without a lawyer. He also videotaped the event, which you can probably find on YouTube, in case you enjoy watching someone make an ass of themself.

    Milena said,

    Michael, unfortunately the Western Standard, which was a newspaper, lost its Human Rights Commission hearing a while ago and has since gone out of business.

    Did I mention that the case was withdrawn? As for the Western Standard it’s still alive and well. If fact, the Levant case gave the WS more publicity than it had ever received before.

    Currently, Maclean’s, a political magazine, is facing a Human Rights Commission hearing as well, because they printed an excerpt from regular columnist Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, which discusses Islam in less than a positive manner.

    This case has been dismissed. Furthermore, this case was not about the Steyn article (despite the pretty blatant fear-mongering, as you can tell by the title,) but the fact that Maclean’s refused to print a rebuttal by the Islamic Congress.

    It should be mentionned that the Human Rights Commission hearings, when it comes to “religious discrimination” are completely arbitrary, as the whole case depends on the offended party’s claim that it has been offended by the defendant.

    Absolutely false. Nothing in the HRA is based on whether anyone is offended.

    Furthermore, the punishment, if the defendant is found guilty of a human rights offence, is prohibition from ever again discussing the offending subject in any way, on penalty of a fine.

    False again. Like any law, you’re not allowed to repeat the same violation, but there is nothing that prevents either party from discussing it.

    Oh, and so far the Human Rights Commission has had a 100% guilty-verdict record. Just sayin’.

    You’re on a roll. Of the several hundred complaints that have been filed, ten – only ten – have reached the final stage. It’s true that all ten of those were decided in favour of the claimant, but ten out of several hundred definitely not 100%. Not even close.

    PrimeNumbers said,

    These HRCs are disgusting. Truth is not a defense! Because all the “victim” has to claim is hurt feelings and you’re guilty as charged. They’re ludicrous anti-free-speech, anti-freedom monstrosities I encourage any Canadian to write to their MP.

    Bullshit. Claiming that your feelings are hurt is completely irrelevant to the HRA.

    Check out http://www.ezralevant.com for more info.

    And then check out the links I provided at the top, to find out how completely and utterly full of shit Erza Levant truly is.

    Paul said,

    The complaint against Ezra Levant has been withdrawn, although with the demise of Western Standard Publishing, it certainly served the purpose of the one who lodged it.

    Half right, but as I said, the WS is alive and well.

    Spinks said,

    Not a matter of being a crybaby Gabriel but seeing if the system is actually fair. (I have my doubts.) Here in Canada, everything is seemingly a human rights violation. Usually it’s Christianity under fire though. Interesting test of the system but given the tendencies of the Human Rights Commission, this will go nowhere fast.

    Actually, this is about using the fact that most people aren’t actually that familiar with the HRA to portray the HRC as not being fair. As I stated above, offending people is not a violation of the HRA.

  • Mark H., thank you, thank you, thank you for saving me from going SIWOTI on Vincent and co.

    Just an addendum:
    Human rights commissions are an important part of the judicial framework, as are hate speech laws. They keep discrimination cases from clogging up the courts, and generally sort active discrimination from unfortunate or silly misunderstandings.

    Among other things, they are charged with protecting the right to free speech–as Mark Steyn recently discovered.

    Rhetorical acts have real-world consequences. The HRCs are a recognition of that.

  • aspeersc1

    Jesus promoted slavery, god murdered his own creations, and raped the virgin Mary, quite frankly Jesus does suck so what’s the problem?