UPDATE: Canada Post, religious group respond to anti-gay flyers

Flyer distribution in Happy Valley-Goose Bay causes uproar

Derek Montague editor@thelabradorian.ca
Published on March 3, 2014
TC Media photo

Canada Post in Happy Valley-Goose Bay distributed homophobic flyers through residents’ mailboxes late last week, causing an uproar in the community.

The eight-page flyer is called “Same-Sex Marriages And God’s word,” and, according to the address on the back of the flyers, was published by The Peoples Gospel Hour, a group based in Halifax.

A stamp on the front of the flyer bears the name Arthur A. Riche, a Happy Valley-Goose Bay man who has a reputation for handing out religious and anti-gay messages.

The flyer uses several biblical references to condemn homosexuality and makes such statements as “God makes it clear from Romans 1:24-27 that homosexuality is a sin,” and “It is wrong for a court and a nation to give special status to any group of people who are identified in the Bible as sinners under the judgment of God.”

Perhaps most shocking is the flyer’s claim that homosexuality and violence are linked. Under a sub heading “Homosexuality And Violence,” the flyer states “… I want you to observe another truth about homosexuality. It is almost always violent. Homosexuality is still associated with violence.”

The flyer also makes several statements, which indicate that God hates homosexuals and the two are in conflict with each other.

“The homosexual is at war with God. Homosexuality is the culminating sexual practice of man’s apostasy and hostility towards God,” it reads.

“Notice the words God used to express His hatred of homosexuality . . . Every part of this description indicates the filthy nature of this perversion . . .”

Denise Cole, a member of the LGBT community in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, says she was shocked when she read the flyer and has made an official complaint with Canada Post.

“I thought that we were past this . . .we just flew the rainbow flag in our community for the past two weeks in support of diversity and inclusion and then Canada Post allows propaganda and hate mail to come through like this?” says Cole.

“Well it’s not just a little small community, you can let it slide and they (Canada Post) got to make 500 bucks or whatever they made off of him paying for those (flyers).”

Cole is also a member of he Safe Alliance, a group that raises awareness on homosexual issues throughout Labrador. She believes that Canada Post bears the majority of the responsibility for the distribution of the flyers.

“We are all responsible as agency people that we approve and actually review things that we are going to be sending out to our costumers,” says Cole.

“This isn’t just about being offended . . . there are laws in place now around hate crimes and around same-sex discrimination.”

The Labradorian tried contacting Riche at his home, but nobody answered the door.

A spokesman for The People’s Gospel Hour told The Labradorian Pastor Perry Rockwood wrote the material several years ago. He also said the church still stands by what the flyer reads.

“We’re just putting forth what the Bible teaches,” he said. “The Bible says, ‘thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind, it is an abomination’.”

The spokesperson also said despite using phrases like “Notice the words of God used to express His hatred of homosexuality,” the flyer doesn’t claim that God hates homosexuals. Instead, he said, the flyer states that God hates the sin of homosexuality, not the sinner.

“He has hatred of the sin … he loves the sinner but he hates the sin, and we’re all sinners before God,” he said.

The spokesman would not comment, however, on the sections of the flyer that claim violence and homosexuality is linked, claiming he did not have Rockwood’s source material.

“I’m just saying that this was written by Pastor Rockwood. He’s been deceased since 2008, so I don’t really have the material where he would get this.”

Canada Post spokesman John Caines said the controversial material was prepared properly for distribution, but that no one from the Crown corporation actually read the flyer.

“Well, I can tell you that it was properly prepared and it was paid for and, as part of our practice, it got delivered,” said Caines.

“However, we didn’t know what was inside, because we didn’t open it. But once we reviewed the content, we can see how it can be offensive to some people and we wouldn’t distribute any more of it until we had a legal opinion.”

When asked why no one looked at the inside of the eight-page flyer, Caines replied: “Because it didn’t seem to be anything that was untoward when they looked at the cover of it.”

Caines did say, however, Canada Post will not distribute anymore of these particular flyers if they came into the system.

 “I can say that we apologize if anybody was offended by it and that we won’t deliver any more of it, if it comes in,” he said.

Caines would not admit a mistake was made by anyone at Canada Post for distributing the flyers. He suggested anyone who has concerns over the flyer should contact the person who wrote it.

 “Canada Post didn’t author this material … We did (distribute it) because it was properly prepared and when you look at the front, it says clearly where it came from and who published it. So, if anyone has concern with the content, they should talk to that party,” Caines said.

 

The Labradorian/TC Media

 

 

•••

(Earlier story)

Anti-gay flyers distributed through Canada Post in Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Flyers claim that God hates homosexuals

Canada Post in Happy Valley-Goose Bay distributed homophobic flyers through residents’ mailboxes late last week, causing an uproar in the community.

The eight-page flyer is called “Same-Sex Marriages And God’s word,” and, according to the address on the back of the flyers, was published by The Peoples Gospel Hour, a group based in Halifax.

A stamp on the front of the flyer bears the name Arthur A. Riche, a Happy Valley-Goose Bay man who has a reputation for handing out religious and anti-gay messages.

The Labradorian tried contacting Riche at his home, but nobody answered the door. The Labradorian also left a message with The Peoples Gospel Hour, but no one called back by press time.

The flyer uses several biblical references to condemn homosexuality and makes such statements as “God makes it clear from Romans 1:24-27 that homosexuality is a sin,” and “It is wrong for a court and a nation to give special status to any group of people who are identified in the Bible as sinners under the judgment of God.”

Perhaps most shocking is the flyer’s claim that homosexuality and violence are linked. Under a sub heading “Homosexuality And Violence,” the flyer states “. . . I want you to observe another truth about homosexuality. It is almost always violent. Homosexuality is still associated with violence.”

The flyer also makes several statements, which indicate that God hates homosexuals and the two are in conflict with each other.

“The homosexual is at war with God. Homosexuality is the culminating sexual practice of man’s apostasy and hostility towards God,” it reads.

“Notice the words God used to express His hatred of homosexuality . . . Every part of this description indicates the filthy nature of this perversion . . .”

Denise Cole, a member of the LGBT community in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, says she was shocked when she read the flyer and has made an official complaint with Canada Post.

“I thought that we were past this . . .we just flew the rainbow flag in our community for the past two weeks in support of diversity and inclusion and then Canada Post allows propaganda and hate mail to come through like this?” says Cole.

“Well it’s not just a little small community, you can let it slide and they (Canada Post) got to make 500 bucks or whatever they made off of him paying for those (flyers).”

Cole is also a member of he Safe Alliance, a group that raises awareness on homosexual issues throughout Labrador. She believes that Canada Post bears the majority of the responsibility for the distribution of the flyers.

“We are all responsible as agency people that we approve and actually review things that we are going to be sending out to our costumers,” says Cole.

“This isn’t just about being offended . . . there are laws in place now around hate crimes and around same-sex discrimination.”

A spokesperson for Canada Post agreed to speak with The Labradorian. But, when called back, the spokesperson said that he had to contact Canada Post’s legal department before commenting.