This is why we have anti-hate laws in this country: to protect our vulnerable queer youth and all citizens from this kind of despicable hatred.
Kudos to my blogging colleague Montreal Simon for already pronouncing on this issue.
David Popescu, a 61-year-old independent candidate running in this federal election in Sudbury, Ontario, is currently under police investigation over an allegation that he broke hate laws by telling a high school audience Tuesday that "homosexuals should be executed," a Sudbury police spokesman said today.
Popescu reportedly reasserted his view later in an interview: "A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed," he said. "My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn't be more clear on that point."
For nutbars like David Popescu, this isn't a matter of freedom of expression or religion. Hate speech is their weapon of choice. They rarely have the guts to physically lash out and attack their victims, so instead they use words.
Words like those uttered by David Popescu are designed to dehumanize and destroy the peace of mind of those targeted. They are designed to increase the suffering of their victims and make their lives more miserable. Even if no one obeys folks like David Popescu and executes or kills homosexuals, the environment has still been poisoned all the more in favour of greater hate. Without penalty, people like Popescu win.
If one closeted teenager heard the words uttered in Sudbury and became more suicidal as a result, I'm sure Popescu would celebrate. How truly disgusting! Anyone who defends this guy should hang their heads in shame!
It's likely that a closeted gay teen was in the audience listening to this bastard say what he did!
This is why Popescu's statement is most despicable. It's one thing to viciously attack the humanity of adults who are mature and able to fight back. But Popescu chose to spout his hatred in front of young, impressionable people.
No doubt the irrational homophobia present in some of the young audience was reinforced, if not strengthened.
From media reports, Popescu received some jeers from his audience, but wasn't publically rebuked for his hateful statements. The school's principal, Paul Camillo, reportedly emphasized the school's inclusiveness in his closing remarks but did not condemn the statement.
Later in an interview, Camillo said, "As an inclusive school, we respect all other opinion although we may not agree with them - and I know there were definitely some things said today that we don't agree with."
This was way too passive a response. But I'm glad that the police in Sudbury are investigating. I fully agree that Popescu should be charged with a hate crime. Not only did he make his statement in front of a group of young people, he repeated them in front of a reporter.
I have written often on this blog about the issue of hate speech. I have listened to the many arguments spouted by those on the other side who have focused their attacks on this country's human rights commissions. While I have agreed with some of their arguments about due process and fairness, I have not agreed with them about the need to do away with all hate speech laws.
I don't want to live in a country where people like Popescu can advocate my death simply because I'm gay, and do so in front of impressionable young people. What Popescu did in that high school was evil. He should face tough punishment.