Who is Bill Whatcott, and what does he do?
What in the fucking-fuck is “homofascism?”
William “Bill” Whatcott is a Weyburn-based Christian crusader against homosexuality, abortion, the Islamic faith, and numerous other things the modern world acknowledges have legitimacy. Whatcott’s last encounter with University of Regina security happened on April 14 and ended with himself and his pal, Peter LaBarbera, being ejected from university property by municipal police.
Leo Keiser, executive director of UR Pride Centre, a non-profit LGBTQ centre at the U of R for sexuality and gender diversity, considers the mischief charge to be “minimizing” the effect of Whatcott’s actions and language on-campus.
“This was something that ended up being a bit minimizing. In terms of the impact of what happened. I feel like it was probably a bit more than just mischievous.”
On Feb. 27, 2013, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission took Whatcott to the Supreme Court of Canada over his unsolicited distribution of flyers, which were said to be spreading a hateful message.
“I feel like the fine he ended up incurring was not very large. That was the charge where he was distributing pamphlets to homes in a really unsolicited way, so he had less of a leg to stand on in terms of being on ‘public property.’ The things on his pamphlets were really quite vile and directly attacking faculty members at the University of Regina.”
Keiser takes offense to Whatcott’s framing of this as a rights and freedoms issue.
“Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. It does not mean that people have to provide you a venue and platform from which to say things. Bill is not being imprisoned on the basis of anything he has said. So, technically, he is still free to say those things, just not here. I think the university has the right to maintain its domain and property as something to not be used in this way. I don’t think I can say that enough.”
Ever the good Christian, Whatcott signs his fiery denunciations of perceived abominations and heretics with “In Christ’s Service.” Whatcott is administrator of his own online utopia at freenorthamerica.ca, which is described in its header as, “North America’s Ultimate Social Conservative Online Community.”
In light of his recent court victory against the University, Whatcott will be making an appearance on campus on Monday, Jan. 12. Shortly after his announcement, progressive students began to organize a protest against a man many see as representing some of the most repressive and intolerant aspects of Western culture.
Deidre Brandt is a U of R student and one of the organizers of the event, “Block Whatcott,” occurring Jan. 12. The event can be found on Facebook.
Brandt had the following to say about Whatcott’s impending visit to the school: “He spreads religiously-based, homophobic, anti-choice, anti-woman messages. Why we want to block him is about his views, but also about his approach to those views. He seeks to disturb and bother people with what he says. He is very triggering and unconcerned with others’ emotions and well being. We wanted to block him with some positivity.”
Brandt broke down some of the contradictions in the rhetoric of Whatcott and his ilk, saying that “it’s really odd in the way he chooses to present it because he sees himself as being very oppressed while he is oppressing others. He sees his word as more important than peoples’ lives. It’s just very odd he seems to think he has the absolute right to say these things, but people don’t have the right to be who they are.”
The University has stated they will not comment on the ruling by the Provincial Court, but are “committed to providing a safe, respectful, and inclusive place for our students to study and live, and for our faculty and staff to work,” according to a statement released the day of the verdict. The statement then asks campus guests to conduct themselves in a respectful manner, directing them to the Respectful University policy.
During Whatcott’s recent trial over his perceived trespass and mischief in April, he stated, “I wish more Canadians would be as I.” The Carillon will endeavour to speak with Whatcott on Jan. 12 to gain further insight into who “I” is.