Goodbye, Bill

Canada lost its best anti-gay crusader but we’ll be okay

EDITORIAL by Stephen Whitworth

Bad news: we’ve lost one of our most entertaining hatemongers.

On March 10, legendary heterosexual rights activist and one-time Daily Show subject Bill Whatcott announced on his Free North America Web page that he’s spent enough time banging his head against Canada’s stubborn brick wall of tolerance and sanity.

He’s moving on. To the Philippines, in fact.

“My ministry to Canada has come to an end, at least for the foreseeable future,” Whatcott wrote.

And lo, many did cheer.

I didn’t. I interviewed Whatcott back in January (you can read my story, “Freedom To Preach: An antigay charmer brings his whack facts to campus” on our website) and I enjoyed meeting him. I’ll even miss him a little bit.

When I met him at his sad little University of Regina info booth, Whatcott was pleasant, charismatic and honest in his bigoted, ignorant and whackadoo beliefs. In Canada, only a cartoon character would fight against legal divorce, sex outside of marriage and the other freedoms a non-religious society has given us. I’m fond of cartoons, so it’s hard for me to hate Whatcott.

Then again, the fact remains that Whatcott is a sociologically significant vector of bullshit. He spreads harmful and factually incorrect information about topics from sexuality to climate change (trivia: he supports pipelines and Alberta’s tarsands, even though the Bible doesn’t tell him to!). He gets attention for his opposition to  abortion and same sex marriage, but he and his fellow religious extremists also hate sex education, want birth control to be illegal and hope to shame LGBT people into opposite-sex relationships — or, at least, lifetimes of lonely celibacy.

Whatcott also uses dehumanizing language — his fondness for the term “sodomite” (the LGBT version of the N-word) is despicable, especially given that people still get beaten up for being (or appearing to be) gay. Unsurprisingly, the slurs continue in Whatcott’s self-pitying, “I’m packing up my toys and leaving for the Philippines” open letter, where he writes about his failed “efforts in defending Canada against the homosexual onslaught.”

Whatcott is also rudely prideful, confident that HIS (rather extreme) interpretation of Christianity is the “correct one”. There are a lot of Christians in this city who take exception to such uppity attitudes.

Oh well. Whatcott is gone, at least for a while, and Canadians can feel proud that people like Whatcott no longer feel welcome in this country we’ve built. It’s worrying he’s moved to a place where there might be a bigger audience for his beliefs, though.

2015-03-19