Tag Archives: Westboro Baptist Church

Sunday Sermonette

Given that it’s Sunday, what better time to hear from one of those folks who claim to speak for God? Today’s topic is the latest shooting rampage south of the border that, ironically, took place outside a Safeway in Tuscon, AZ.

Unsurprisingly, “Reverend” Phelps has his facts wrong. The shooter wasn’t an Afghanistan War veteran, but does claim to have been a military recruit in Phoenix. At least that’s what he writes in his “Final Thoughts” video that you can watch on his YouTube channel – how weirdly chilling is that?

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Filed under Religion, Wingnuts

Absolutely Positively Prohibited?

As we know, some members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church managed to evade our border security officials by cleverly not making their derangement completely obvious. Yesterday, Shirley Phelps-Roper told CTV News that the church was trying to courier protest signs to Winnipeg. After reading that, I wondered what unfortunate delivery firm she might select. According to a piece today in the Winnipeg Free Press, Phelps-Roper “said they sent their picketing signs into Manitoba by Federal Express.”

If that’s true, it would be interesting to know how the group’s signs and leaflets were cleared through Customs because, in my opinion, the materials in question should have been considered “prohibited goods” and properly classified as such under Tariff Item 9899.00.00 of the Customs Tariff which provides for “Hate propaganda” within the meaning of subsection 320( 8 ) of the Criminal Code.

Given the well known content of the protest materials, there seems little doubt that they would qualify as “hate propaganda” in accordance with the definition outlined in paragraphs 6-8 of Departmental Memorandum D9-1-15 (PDF); specifically, “Goods…that publicly incite or wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

Invoking the one possible defense provided for by para. 11(b) that allows an exception in the case where the goods “predominately express, in good faith, an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text” would be a bit of a stretch. Any claim to “good faith” on the part of a group that regularly protests the deaths of US servicemen would be pretty laughable. But even allowing for there conceivably being some doubt about whether the materials constituted prohibited goods, they should have been detained by Customs for determination in this regard, a process that could, unfortunately for the protesters, take up to 30 days…

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Free Speech