The complainant felt personally insulted and thought a column by Neil Macdonald was hateful and anti-religion.

By Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman

The complainant, Karen Howells, felt personally insulted and thought a column by Neil Macdonald was hateful and anti-religion. It dealt with fundamentalist attitudes to homosexuality in the context of the Orlando shootings in a gay club. The article was powerful but it did not violate policy. I did recommend that CBC add to the number of columnists to ensure that there is a range of voices on matters of public concern.

COMPLAINT

You strongly objected to a column by Neil Macdonald published on cbcnews.ca of June 13, 2016. You thought the piece, entitled After Orlando, time to recognize that anti-gay bigotry is not religious freedom, was an example of CBC’s “anti-faith bias.”

The CBC has really gone over the top in its ongoing anti-faith bias. Neil Macdonald’s column coming, right after the Orlando terrorist attack is not only unkind, it espouses prejudice and bigotry. It is outrageous to accuse all Muslims of culpability in radical islamic terrorism, but Neil goes further to blame all Jews and Christians as well. He builds the argument that what we ‎believe is de facto homophobia, regardless of our individual attitudes and behaviour towards the LGBTQ community or individuals we encounter in our lives.

You thought that Mr. Macdonald was displaying a strong personal dislike of organized religion. You also thought his argument was a weak one because “most of victims of radical Islamic terrorism are members of the faith communities he accuses as being at fault for the Orlando terrorist.” You added that this was tantamount to blaming the victims. You added that you were deeply moved by the tragedy in Orlando. You felt it was offensive to blame members of faith communities in general and your Catholic faith in particular. You felt personally deeply offended and felt Mr. Macdonald had judged you as “homophobic and a purveyor of hate speech.” You considered this column a violation of human rights because it was “advocating clear prejudice against me as a member of a religious faith community.”

You also challenged his interpretation of certain biblical texts and said he failed to understand their context within the teachings and interpretation of your church. You said Mr. Macdonald’s column was not analysis but opinion.