Herald article hateful, harmful, unacceptable

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The latest publication of the Newfoundland Herald, a television guide that sits in many family homes across the island, featured a letter to the editor rallying Christians against the rise of the secular “pagan” left and “evil” homosexuals.

Beyond the point that perhaps a television guide should avoid such blatant and bigoted politics, the article itself, titled “The Coming Christian Revolt,” was entirely out of context.

It was an article addressing a debate plaguing U.S. popular politics concerning Christian rights vs. LGBTQ rights.

The article criticized the U.S. administration for proposing equal rights to those with differing sexual orientations from the heterosexual mainstream.

Conversely, Canada is a country that values diversity and equality and has legislation in place to protect underrepresented social/cultural groups (such as the LGBTQ community).  

The rampant homophobia and ignorance of this article aside — a topic I do not think we need to address  because it has been addressed over and over again every time a fundamentalist ideologist seeks to slam entire populations of people for the mere act of existing — why is it that the Newfoundland Herald, a television guide, has published an article, one that fits the bill of hate speech, which is completely out of touch with the social, cultural and political contexts of this province and the country at large?

I am not sure what end the editor hoped to reach in publishing literature that is best described as belonging in the inquisition, but I refuse to believe that this is a letter to the editor.

A simple Google search of the title and author of this full-sized article will provide you with a popular fundamentalist Christian blog called Barbwire.

It is as if the editors of the Newfoundland Herald copied and pasted this blog post from the Internet to publish it in their television guide, next to a factoid that seems positioned to satisfy those who might be offended by the article.   

Why is any of this important?

I’m not writing this response because I am offended and appalled (even if I am); I’m writing this because it is an article that will cause harm to LGBTQ folk across the province.

We can talk theory and scripture, ethics and philosophy for the rest of days, but what the Newfoundland Herald and the author of this article seem to forget in this “intellectual” media playground is the actual lived experiences of those very real human beings they are referring to as “evil.”

I am referring to the real human beings who are damaged by a system set up almost exclusively for a heterosexual population. Real human beings, beyond scriptures and philosophy.

To the editors of the Herald and the author of this article, this is a game of politics.

To everyone else — these are our lives.  

To the editors of the Newfoundland Herald, to whomever found this article on Google and proposed to publish it, and to whomever had the final decision in the publication of this article, I am saddened that you would portray the LGBTQ population as “evil.”

In a province that has sought to treat our community with the respect it deserves, a place where we are protected under legislation that seeks to block discrimination, I am saddened that you question the intelligence of your readers by trying to polish up your responsibility to the people of Newfoundland and erase your bigotry by pasting a little positive factoid in the corner of the page.

I am especially saddened by the absurdity of such a fundamentalist article published in a 2014 television guide.  

To those of you who are reading this response — please send the editors of the Newfoundland Herald a letter expressing your disappointment: email letters@nfldherald.com.

Please don’t be hateful.

I think we can use education as our weapon and avoid perpetuating their politically driven bigoted rhetoric.   

We need to set a precedent that this sort of discourse is not acceptable in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The appearance of this article in a television guide that sits in family homes across the island is an indicator of a problem.

It characterizes the Newfoundland Herald as a platform for hate speech.

It further stigmatizes a group of human beings who have lived their whole lives experiencing social stigma. It opens the gates of public discourse for other fundamentalist thinkers to perpetuate this hate.  

If Canada is a country of advocacy and equality, then it is our responsibility as Canadians to uphold those standards.  

Kyle Curlew

For Western Pride NL

Organizations: Google

Geographic location: U.S., Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Herb Morrison
    August 12, 2014 - 13:15

    The final sentence of my previous post should have read:Life experiences, for the most part, determine whether or not we perceive someone or something to be either beautiful or repugnant, true or false.

  • Herb Morrison
    August 12, 2014 - 12:06

    Truth or Falsehood, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Life experiences, for the most part, determine whether or not we something or someone to be either beautiful or repugnant, true or false.

  • Colin Burke
    August 12, 2014 - 11:14

    "Hateful, harmful, unacceptable." Which might be taken to mean, "Everything bad except false?" But if false, why not concentrate on that?

  • Petertwo
    August 11, 2014 - 07:43

    Matt Barber, in my opinion, is not a Christian.

  • Derek
    August 10, 2014 - 17:49

    I have a couple of issues with this letter. First, it was not an article, written by Herald editors or contributors; it was a letter. Second, I think Mr. Curlew (and no doubt others) fail to understand the reason why the Herald would choose to publish a letter like this. Sometimes the best thing to do with hate is to shine a light on it. It's hard for anyone to read the original letter and not be moved by it; not in support of the author, but rather in opposition. People such as this author exist, and the most frightening thing is not that they hold these harmful views, but the knowledge that they often try to spread their message behind closed doors. Anna Quindlen once said, "Ignorant free speech often works against the speaker. That is one of several reasons why it must be given rein instead of suppressed."

  • seanoairborne
    August 10, 2014 - 15:39

    And you are the arbiter of what should and should not be published because your sensibilities were upset? There is a thing called Freedom of speech. Have you heard of it? It's an old concept. In fact, it's more free speech we need not less! If you can't hold your own by offering up alternatives, not PC BS and name calling at those who don't see eye to eye with you, or your way of life or lifestyle, I suggest you move to a Communist country of your choice. There are a few left, you know? I have never been able to figure out how the so-called rights of one and a half Pct. of the population should trump the rights of the other ninety eight and a half Pct. who don't agree with your lifestyle? I think it's called in sociology, the Tyranny of the Minority!! This is exactly what you want! To tell the vast majority what they can and can't say. If the people of the Rock are dumb enough to buy into this insanity, like whipped puppies, then they are truly Goofy Newfies!

  • scottie
    August 09, 2014 - 19:02

    Why don't you just relax? The way the politically correct ultra-sensitive MSM goes on these seething, indignant rants again anything they deem to be offensive is a little disturbing in itself. Just calm down.

  • Herb Morrison
    August 09, 2014 - 10:01

    Mr. Curlew. I write from the standpoint of a straight, Christian, male in my mid-sixties, who is also an advocate for social justice, which includes beings an advocate for equal rights for members of the LGBTQ Community. While I understand your concern about the possible adverse impact, which the publishing of Matt Barber's homophobic rant, which was published in the latest edition of the Newfoundland Herald, might have on members the LGBTQ community, your concern, which despite your assertion to the contrary, bears a strong resemblance to what I would describe as justifiable anger; is being misdirected by, Western Pride the group on whose behalf you have been delegated to speak. By publishing Matt Barber's article, The Newfoundland Herald's editorial staff were respecting his Charter Right to freedom of speech. There is no indication that anyone associated with The Newfoundland Herald either agreed or disagreed with the contents of the article. Consequently, I do not feel that the Herald's editorial staff owe an apology to anyone for publishing Barber's article. On the other hand, I would suggest to Western Pride that ill-thought- out, misdirected finger-pointing, which, in my opinion, closely resembles what is commonly referred to as a knee-jerk reaction, has the potential to be every bit as damaging to the efforts of the LGBTQ Community to achieve equality and justice, as will the homophobic rants, which are periodically unleashed on the general public by people whose views are similar to those of Matt barber. Furthermore, and I am flying my professing Christian colours now. I would hasten to point out to both Mr. Curlew and all members of the LGBTQ Community that there is noting inappropriate about being expressing justifiable anger. Justifiable anger is the polar opposite of the unjustifiable homophobia-fueled hatred pedaled by those publish such material as "The Coming Christian Revolt." I must admit that I find it somewhat curious that the article authorized by Western Pride NL, appears to represent an attempt by Western Pride to infringe on Matt Barber's Charter-guaranteed right to freedom of expression while; at the same time demanding, albeit rightfully so, demanding that the rights of members of the LBGTQ community be respected. Finally, I would strongly suggest to the members of Western Pride NL, that unless the members of Western Pride NL want to be placed in the same category as homophobic ranters like Matt Barber, who appear to run off at the mouth without putting their collective bran in gear, the members of Western Pride, would do well, in future, to avoid publishing material, without giving what they have written some sober second thought.

  • Geoff Chaulk
    August 09, 2014 - 08:40

    Well said Kyle, and thanks for your efforts and advocacy on this issue. Hopefully, the newly appointed managing editor for The Herald, Greg Sterling, has heard us all loud and clear. The publishing of the offensive 'article' seems out of step with current times and very 1954 not 2014. Herald...get with the times!

  • Paul
    August 09, 2014 - 08:12

    "It characterizes the Newfoundland Herald as a platform for hate speech" I do hope you will apologize for the above statement when the RCMP concludes that " no charge will be made against Herald . It is after all your opinion that "the Herald is a platform for hate speech" ! Seriously though, of course you will not apologize , and neither will the Herald, because ITS FREE SPEECH NOT HATE SPEECH! You did however make your media and public relations position quite clear" we LGBTQ folk are unable to battle against "harmful WORDS" with WORDS, we need the police and the courts ! WHOW!

  • Morris
    August 09, 2014 - 07:55

    I have every confidence that, NO CHARGES WILL BE LAYED BY RCMP against owners of Herald for their publication of this US dribble. Yes it may be offensive, however your statement that it WILL CAUSE HARM to the LGBTQ folk in this Province is truly amazing! Even more amazing is your decision to claim the article is hate speech under the criminal code and report same to RCMP! It appears to me that you are seeking attention to what otherwise should have been ignored or possibly addressed by a letter to the HERALD EDITOR and not the Telegram editor!