Wakeham column was offensive

Published on December 20, 2013

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.