A Christian bus driver in Toronto has been charged with a “hate crime” for distributing pamphlets saying homosexuality can lead to diseases and that Jesus can save gay people if they repent.
Bill Whatcott “distributed anti-gay material which promoted hatred toward the gay community,” Toronto Police Service said in a statement, adding that he was arrested in Calgary and later returned to Toronto.
The 51-year-old Christian man was charged with “willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, namely the gay community.”
The pamphlets he allegedly distributed said homosexuality is associated with sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV of the rectum, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says is true, according to The Federalist.
The pamphlets, which reportedly included negative remarks against the Liberal Party and left-wing politicians, also said that supporting homosexual acts without repentance could lead to “eternal peril,” and repentance to “the free gift of eternal life.”
However, reports say that the pamphlets neither encouraged hate against homosexuals, nor advocated violence.
Whatcott, who has been fired from his job, said he wasn’t given food for 24 hours while in jail, according to The Daily Wire.
“It might have been on purpose, because it didn’t happen, like — some inmates did go half a day without food — but they actually made me go a full 24 hours,” he was quoted as saying.
He said he was also denied medical attention for a leg injury. “I had a leg infection, and it was bad enough that I was brought to the hospital, but they simply refused to fill the prescriptions. So for four days I had no medications. The infection was actually going up my leg. I was a little concerned it was gonna go systemic.”
In July 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Roman Catholic, became the world’s first national leader to march in a gay pride parade when he took part in Toronto’s event.
Trudeau has also supported Canada’s embrace of same-sex marriage, which stands against the Catholic Church’s definition of marriage between one man and one woman.
Months later that year, a poll showed that the majority of Canadians supported the expansion of the country’s non-discrimination laws to include gender identity. The Angus Reid Institute survey was conducted four months after Trudeau’s Liberal Party introduced a bill that would punish transgender discrimination with up to two years in prison for violators.
Earlier this year, Ontario Province started allowing individuals born there to remove “male” or “female” on their birth certificates or opt for a “nonbinary” designation.
Evangelical leaders, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, have strongly condemned such actions, saying that God created people as men and women.