Herald article hateful, harmful, unacceptable

Published on August 9, 2014

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