The flag, again
Did the premier of this province tell a whopper in March? There is plenty of evidence to suggest he did. Dwight Ball said on radio, and elsewhere, that there was no clear policy on what sort of flags can be raised on the courtesy flagpoles at Confederation Building.
Not only is that not true, but email exchanges divulged through an access-to-information request reveal Ball was informed of the stated Protocol Office policy on courtesy pole usage in March 2015.
That policy excluded all flags of a commercial, religious or political nature.
It was sent to him by Tolson Chapman, a member of the St. Stephen the Martyr church in St. John’s. Chapman has been vocal for years about his Christian beliefs regarding everything from abortion and sexual orientation to evolution. He has written several letters to the editor.
“(Judges) have changed or altered our God-given natural rights, and as a result it has led to the moral decline of Canadian society,” he wrote in June 2015.
Those “rights” include recognizing only male and female genders, and restricting marriage to that between a man and a woman.
Chapman believes there is no flexibility in God’s plan.
“He did not accept sinners 2,500 years ago and does not today,” he wrote in December 2012.
“God has given us free will to choose eternal life or eternal death (Hades).”
Chapman has been the driving force behind the plan to have local legislatures fly the so-called Christian flag at Easter. He is the sender or recipient in most communications contained in the released documents.
In defending the idea, he says all groups should be tolerant of each other, and should have a right to express themselves in a public forum. The flag this year was meant to acknowledge the persecution of Christians around the world.
Yet in communications to TC Media, the only comparison Chapman has ever drawn is to the Gay Pride flag. He has emphasized the LBGT community only represents one per cent of the world population (a very low estimate) whereas Christians represent more than 30 per cent.
On March 30, 2015, Dwight Ball replied directly to Chapman’s question as to what his government’s policy would be.
“Our society must be tolerant and respectful of all groups, regardless of their religious, racial, gender based or other origins,” he wrote.
“A Liberal government would operate based on a policy of tolerance and strive to accommodate as many requests as reasonably possible to raise a flag at Confederation Building.”
There are only two conclusions: either Ball ignored the clear policy about courtesy flags, or he pretended not to have seen it.
Meanwhile, the person behind its promotion locally clearly seems to have a fixation on society’s acceptance of LGBT rights.