Wakeham column was offensive

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As a politician, I am quite comfortable with criticism. I get my fair share.

Occasionally, I read Bob Wakeham’s weekly column and am seldom moved to respond. It’s obvious that we sit on opposite sides of the political fence and that’s OK.

While Mr. Wakeham’s piece in The Telegram on Dec. 14 entitled “Muskrat Christmas, everyone” was an attempt to criticize government and its handling of a Muskrat Falls announcement, it grossly misses the mark. 

Instead, the author goes on a tirade dismissing the Christmas story and the sacred beliefs of millions.

Related:

Muskrat Christmas, everyone

While I encourage everyone to read the column yourselves, I will offer a few of Mr. Wakeham’s articulate tidbits.

He writes, “...millions of die-hard believers celebrate the birth of an apparently profoundly blessed little fella, conceived without even a whiff of raunchy sex.”

He goes on, “…if you believe the yarn about the son of God launching in a stable in Bethlehem his mightly ambitious campaign to, well to save all of mankind (how has he done so far, by the way?)”

These few excerpts sum up the tone of the entire column.

While I was raised in a Christian home, I was taught to respect and be accepting of other people’s viewpoints and beliefs.

I ask The Telegram — when did religious freedoms go from respect and inclusion to mockery and ridicule?

I’m not sure if Mr. Wakeham simply does not believe in a higher power or if he had a bad Christmas experience when he was younger that scarred him for life.

Whatever the case, he should apply the same level of respect and courtesy to people’s religious beliefs as I assume he shows to different groups, gender issues and topics dealing with a person’s sexual orientation.

I truly believe that Christians are far too silent on these types of issues.

We have allowed such behaviour to go unchecked.

If such preposterous comments were made about another religious group, disgusting comments based on gender or homophobic slurs, there would be (and rightly so) public outrage.

The newspaper would likely apologize or retract the story.

While Mr. Wakeham and all other media personalities indeed have every right to share their views and criticize others, that can be done in a respectful way with meaningful intent.

Freedom of speech is not an absolute but rather exists within the parameters of not enticing hate, malice or discrimination.

Freedom of speech should never extend to scorn and the belittleing of a person based on their beliefs, race or sex.

Our laws aim to hold us to a higher standard — and for good reason.

Some will accuse me of simply

giving Mr. Wakeham the attention he desires.

To those people, I would simply say, if he wishes to gain recognition by writing columns reeking of bigotry. I’d say give him every bit of attention he deserves.

I, for one, expect more from people — particularly our media.

If his employer and editor do not want to hold him accountable, I do.

In closing, Mr. Wakeham, while you may not believe in God or His son born to a virgin, I want to wish you a joyous Christmas.

May the season fill your home with the peace and joy of Christ.

 

Sandy Collins is the member of the House of Assembly for the district of Terra Nova.

Geographic location: Bethlehem, Terra Nova

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Recent comments

  • Herb Morrison
    December 24, 2013 - 12:43

    Speaking as a Christian, I don't find Mr. Wakeham's satiricle take on the birth of Christ to be offence, lacking in good taste just a tad;maybe, but offensive, no. I do however feel sorry for those people who, like Mr. Collins, atleast appear not to know when someone is so obviously "yanking their chain." Particularly when that person, Mr. Wakeham, has fashioned a career in journalism by, at least in part by yanking peoples' chain. Face it folks, if you haave taken Mr. WAakeham seriously in this particulasr instance, you've been had.

  • Cashin Delaney
    December 22, 2013 - 13:13

    It is a form of black magic Sandy is evoking from his own self-surveyed and found sacred, heart, over the poor potty-lips blaspheming heretic Bob. Ironically using the structure of the Christian belief system to curse him, Sandy is not adhering to any teachings of Jesus in his letter, so we may call it a form of Hoodoo, the mingling of Christian concepts (not values) and ritual into Voodoo. Jesus would read this dirty little tiny-minded letter and surely face palm himself, and grunt, "Still casting stones...damn Christians!Geez DAD, their at it again down there, these morose old Christians, still flaming each other at the stake and on computers, using me to further stimulate their hate-ons for one another flinging their own feces, rocks, stick, old elections signs, rusted mufflers and whatever else they get their hands on. Did I die for nothing Dad?” Some people get pretty weird over Jesus, especially when old age is sharpening the scythe.Jesus Christ is a historical and cosmic joke, a hippy/rebel Essene philosopher branded as the aryan face of a war-mongering controllist christian blasphemy of a church, and has little to offer us today, unlike Bob Dobbs Jr. and The Church of the Subgenius, or Scientology which are based on truth and fact, not the desperate and scared half-truth of a pregnant unmarried teenager.

  • Freda Winsor
    December 21, 2013 - 14:56

    I agree with you Sandy and I want to say you represent our district very well wishing you and your family a Merry CHRISTMAS.

  • scottie
    December 21, 2013 - 14:52

    Tyrannical political correctness, such as the kind Collins demonstrates in his unsollicited sanctimonious lecture, is a trap we have fallen into everywhere in the western world. Nothing is immune from criticism in a free society and that includes religion. In fact, some of the most despicable cultural practises, especially those that are harmful to women are now being protected under the guise of religion. Read the article "It's not Culture, It's a Crime against Humanity" by Anne Marie Waters to see what cowardly western politicians such as Collins would dismiss to be politically correct (and for votes of course).

  • Don Lester
    December 21, 2013 - 06:52

    I agree with Mr. Collins . I feel so very sad for Mr. Wakeham. I don't know if he really believes this garbage of it's his usual feeble attempt of trying to be funny. Either way Mr. Wakeham, you've failed ..

  • J. Paul Walsh
    December 20, 2013 - 14:35

    Well said, Mr. Collins.

  • Max
    December 20, 2013 - 13:38

    Mr Collins Seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth I have a tweet of his saying he should conspire to take out Catlicks (his spelling)

  • Aurelian
    December 20, 2013 - 13:38

    All I'm saying here is that the Telegram refused to publish the Mohammed cartoons but apparently were ok with good ol' Bob's comments on Christianity. It is not just the Telegram but try to get on an open line show about Islam and they will cut you off your so called freedom of expression notwithstanding.

  • Will Vital
    December 20, 2013 - 12:07

    Who is Sandy Collins anyway ? Did not even know he was in Government till Today .

  • Lorraine Eveleigh
    December 20, 2013 - 12:02

    Dear Mr. Collins, Thank God someone spoke up and voiced the opinion of many in our province and our country. Your article was written to the point and with clarity, thank you so much; glad someone finally challenged Mr. Wakeham. Merry Christmas Lorraine Eveleigh Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • Chris O'Brien
    December 20, 2013 - 11:59

    I couldn't agree with you more. Can you imagine if he had said the same thing about Mohammed?? Of course he wouldn't. But Christianity is fair game? Then again , that's why I never read his column or buy the Telegram.

    • Jenny
      December 20, 2013 - 21:02

      Mr O'Brien, maybe that's exactly what it is going to take for the Telegram to stop publishing this type of malicious bigotry. I think Christians have been way TOO tolerant of such dis-respect. Maybe we ought to bi-cot the Telegram. (I wonder if this comment will make it through editing...) I have one further comment: "MERRY CHRISTMAS." (not 'Happy Holidays')

  • saelcove
    December 20, 2013 - 10:38

    Actually a lot of christmas tradition comes from pagan religion who knew

  • Red
    December 20, 2013 - 10:26

    It is called satire Mr. Collins, you might want to try to have a sense of humor in the new year. I find the more Christian you are the less accepting you are of others, and you feel as though you can do no wrong. If you don't like a particular columnist then don't read it. I don't like church so I don't go, so it doesn't bother me when others do it. See how that works?

    • drdecker
      December 20, 2013 - 13:01

      I am not sure where you gather your information regarding Christianity. Through the love of Jesus Christ we are shown to even love our enemy. It doesn't mean to accept whatever someone else believes. Let me give you an example. If your child believes it is okay to walk on thin ice and nothing will happen to them if they do, this is not love. Jesus spoke to individuals to show them the truth because he does not want harm to come to them. We are told to speak the truth with love. Read the gospels and you will see a man who healed the sick, loved the castaways and so much more. I pray Red if you get the chance to search for these truths in the scripture, you will be amazed at his kindness and truth. God Bless!

  • Joseph McGrath
    December 20, 2013 - 10:11

    I thank Mr.Collins for his letter to the Telegram.I agree with his comments completely. It is sad that people like Bob are allowed to abuse not only religion but Santa and Government etc etc. I already registered my protest by cancelling my Tely subscription and believe me I am not the only one. The Telegram is no more than a medicore print piece with content almost non relevant or non worthy to read. I again than compliment Mr.Collins and wish him a very "MERRY CHRISTMAS" As for Bob the so called column writer I wish you well also and good luck with whatever you hold dear to your hard heart.

    • Kev
      December 20, 2013 - 22:25

      What's the matter with "abusing" government?

  • Robb
    December 20, 2013 - 10:09

    |Yes, and was this not the story where is said something like, Dunderdale and her "big, fat smile on her puss"? Nobody deserves this kind of crap in the media....it was just disgusting to read this joker poking fun a her person, just sickening, and I will be sure to skip past that page in future weekend Telegrams.

  • Chantal
    December 20, 2013 - 10:02

    I would just like to wish everyone a riotus Saturnalia and to rember the Reason for the Season: the 23.4 degree incline of the earth.

    • david
      December 20, 2013 - 12:33

      As always, a poster who can be counted on to influence any important discussion.

    • Ed Power
      December 20, 2013 - 22:31

      Sadly, Chantal, the true reason for the season - the virgin birth of the Persian god Mithras and the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice (the 23.4 degree axial tilt) - have been co-opted by Christian usurpers to their own ends. Next thing you know they will be claiming some sort of resurrection "miracle" for the Vernal Equinox......

  • david
    December 20, 2013 - 09:32

    Mr. Wakeham's views on religion as written are completely offensive. But to opportunistically use them as your own crutch, and feigning pious outrage to deflect from answering the questions posed of Muskrat Falls, is equally galling. No one in government has yet provided the public with any substantive reassurances on how this will not turn out to be an enormous bankrupting exercise, despite numerous calls for and opportunities to do so. To respond to one now, in this way, confirms the government's contempt for the intelligence of the voting public, not that there was any doubt. When it comes to religion, everyone should mind their own business. The "business" of government is to be respectful and responsive to its electorate.

  • W. Bagg
    December 20, 2013 - 09:27

    I have sat in the gallery of the House of Assembly and there isn't much "respect and acceptance of other viewpoints and beliefs. A politician shouldn't throw stones

  • Frank Underwood
    December 20, 2013 - 09:11

    Sandy is making a political move with this letter. He knows the Liberal wave is coming in 2015 and is trying to round up the religious vote.

  • Randy
    December 20, 2013 - 09:01

    Sandy Collins childish antics in the House of assembly are offensive. Nothing "Christian" about his behavior

  • Just sayin
    December 20, 2013 - 08:57

    I recently had a discussion with a neighbour who said all religions are basically the same. I mentioned that decades ago the Anglican Nfld Churchman stated there were 800 variations of the Christian religion. Until then I knew only of the few major ones. Nothing wrong with Wakeman pointing out some silly aspects of religion that is not central to the Christian story. Does anyone still believe the 25 of Dec was Jesus's birthday? A concoction to sway the heathens who held festivals at the winter low point of the sun.

  • Ken Collis
    December 20, 2013 - 08:00

    I've read several of Mr. Wakeham's columns prior to this one so I was able to put his off the cuff remarks in perspective. He often uses crude and crass comments to get his point across. I can see where these comments can be found offensive to some people. The thing is that people often feel that they should not be able to say things that offend others, and I find that this has become a problem in society. A&E has suspended an actor on a reality tv show for his interpretation of the bible. He thinks the bible says that gay sex is against Gods wishes. Although I think he's wrong in his interpretation, I think he should be allowed to express his beliefs. If government truly feels that Mr. Wakeham's comments are offensive enough to comment publicly they should maybe consider an amendment to bill 29. Maybe worded like 'Thou shalt not offend government'.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 20, 2013 - 07:31

    Christians (perhaps with views similar to yours Mr. Collins) were not very silent during the Inquisitions and the Crusades. I thought Mr. Collins' article was one of his very best, and that it would be a blessing if people of all religions and those who profess to have no identified religious belief were enlightened enough (through the Grace of God) to respect (without sanction and punishment) not only Mr. Wakeham's point o f view --- but his good humour. The world would be a much better place for it

    • Maurice E. Adams
      December 24, 2013 - 07:30

      Should have read "I thought Mr Wakeham's article was one of his very best".

  • melvin simmonds
    December 20, 2013 - 07:24

    I agree with you Sandy all the way.If he had written about some other group, the Telegram would be bending over backwards to apologize.We just have to consider the source,both individually and commercially

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 20, 2013 - 07:23

    Collins decides to come out from undercover and this is what he is complaining about? Go back to sleep Sandy, 2015 will be here soon.

    • Stephen Dinn
      December 20, 2013 - 08:16

      Must be nice to hide behind an online alias. Coward.

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 20, 2013 - 11:16

      Must be a lot of cowards here then. I work in close proximity to the Premiers office. They would fire me in a heartbeat. Self preservation Stephen. I notice that you resorted to personal attacks, you didn't disagree with me. Where do you work?

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 20, 2013 - 22:58

      You were Danny's butt wiper weren't you.

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 20, 2013 - 23:08

      By the way how did that Cameron inquiry thing go for you and the little princess? Oh yeah, never mind.

  • Joe
    December 20, 2013 - 06:52

    One wonders about the "thinking" of the people who gave us fifty years of massive debt (Muskrat Falls ) and Bill 29. Now we can see it before our own eyes. It's the crowd that only do things that are right and wrap themselves in the appearance of the average person while believing they alone know what is right for everyone else.

  • Stephen  Redgrave
    Stephen Redgrave
    December 20, 2013 - 06:10

    Another fine example of Newfoundland's best and brightest "Sandy Collins". I love reading good old fashion common sense...thank you.

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 20, 2013 - 07:38

      Yes Stevey by. A real top gun.

    • John Smith
      December 20, 2013 - 17:53

      @corporate psycho...you say you work in the Premier's office? I say you are a liar, I say you live in your mommy's basment, and you are 40 years old...I say you never workrd a day in your life...I say Bob Wakem is an imbecile...and should be treated as such...Merry christmas to all, and to all a goodnight...

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 20, 2013 - 18:56

      Mr. Redgrave, I owe you an apology. Mr. Wangersky set me straight on why the comments did not get posted on your blog. I appreciate your personal response as well. I will send this to your email but wanted to do it publicly as well.

    • Corporate Psycho
      December 23, 2013 - 12:22

      I said in close proximity. Not in the office.