Wildrose candidate predicts ‘eternity in the lake of fire’ for gays and lesbians; polls predict Wildrose victory


A year-old blog post by a preacher and Wildrose candidate lit up the Alberta election trail Sunday, prompting renewed charges from opponents that the upstart party is more extreme than it lets on. Musing on the Lady Gaga song ‘Born This Way,’ which preaches tolerance, David Allan Hunsperger wrote that: “You can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”

At a campaign event in Calgary, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith refused to condemn Hunsperger’s views. From Postmedia:

“When a person is making personal statements in their capacity as a pastor, which he was, I don’t think anybody should be surprised that they’re expressing certain viewpoints,” she said outside a Wildrose photo opportunity at the Calgary Hindu Society’s temple.

“It was a year ago when he was talking in his capacity as a pastor. He now understands, we’ve spoken, we’ve communicated on this, that we will not be legislating on contentious social issues. He understands that. He accepts that.”

Hunsperger’s personal views, however, also extended to the very public Edmonton school system, which he called “godless,” a state he equated to “profane or wicked.”

With only one week remaining in the most competitive Alberta election in a generation, most polls continue to predict a comfortable victory for the Wildrose Party.

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Wildrose candidate predicts ‘eternity in the lake of fire’ for gays and lesbians; polls predict Wildrose victory

  1. David Hunsperger must live in a constant state of fear of his own damnation in order to condemn others. He would probably say yes, that he was afraid of God’s judgement, but that he had been saved and therefore had the right to condemn others. Poor sucker, trapped by his own terror.

    • So people that accuse others of things are guilty of those things themselves. What does that make you?

      I support gay marriage – and heck I’m not at either extreme end of the Kinsey scale. But I don’t see why, when faced with intolerance, the natural reaction is to tar and feather. Why not engage anti-gay politicians on the facts? Do so and you’ll win. Increasingly, we make these debates far more polarizing than they have to be. Can’t we all just get along?

      • When have you ever engaged an anti-gay (anti-woman, anti-race, anti-choice, anti-anything) person–let’s not let politicians have all the fun–and managed to change their minds with facts and logic?  And then, please divulge which facts and what logical steps you used, so the rest of us who have tried that and failed, can copy your methods precisely.

        • According to the 2008 Canadian Election Survey data, 20% of Christians who believe the bible is the literal word of God, support gay marriage. 25.4% of those saying religion is very important and 63.3% of those saying religion is somewhat important in their lives support gay marriage ( 
          http://sda.chass.utoronto.ca/cgi-bin/sdapub/hsda?harcsda+ces08  ). 

          Clearly there are many religious Canadians that believe homosexual relations and marriage are morally wrong, but are simultaneously willing to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. You don’t have to convince anti-[insert group] folks that the people they disapprove of are good people. You simply have to convince them not to actively discriminate against [insert group]. 

        •  I once changed someone’s mind about evolution by talking about St. Augustine and his rejection of biblical literalism, and by pointing out that evolution makes life more resiliant to mass extinction and thus if life and creation does have its origin in God, then the evolutionary process would be a more perfect creation.

          I have never been able to convince people to change their mind by calling them evil, their culture evil,their religious beliefs are evil and that they were a threat to the future of society.  It generally doesn’t go over well.   So don’t do that.

          • Evolution is still at the level of theory and still has plenty of explanatory details, even amongst scientists who are committed evolutionists. Scientists and others who are not blinded by magic and superstition, (and literalism, whether Biblical, constitutional or whatever) are willing to replace their present theory with the emergence of new, more convincing or more complete information. It’s 2012. Do you honestly think that someone who preaches that gays, lesbians and bisexual are going to burn in hell for their sexual preferences is going to have their minds changed due to an academic/logical argument? Either you have more faith in people’s capacity to succumb to miracles, or you’re suffering from blind optimism. As Hitchens says, ‘religion is poison. It poisons everything. It is the bane of all attempts at humanity to emerge from a state of childlike innocence and dependence into something resembling maturity, wisdom and enlightenment. It’s time for people to grow up”. I would personally substitute the word ‘fundamentalism’ for the word ‘religion’, and then everything Hitchens says I am in full agreement with. Hunsperger is unquestionably a fundamentalist, of the most odious and reactionary kind, and his Church is also raking in a busload of money each year. The only thing more frightening than a zealot is a wealthy zealot. And one final thing: he’s running for public office, and in Canada, there is a separation of Church and state. Electing someone like this will totally blur what is left of that distinction.

  2.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
    (2Ti 4:3-4)

    • And so which is it you consider the truth, and which the fable?

  3. I seriously doubt she would tolerate the religious convictions of a Muslim candidate who supports Al Qaeda. The party is open to deferential Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., but is happy to welcome a type of radicalism amongst Christians it wouldn’t countenance in other faiths.

    • If you are going to call this ‘radicalism’, just remember that the pope and Catholic religion espouse the same views about homosexuality and abortion.  Apparently, their MPs and MLA’s don’t let their beliefs interfere with their ability to govern…at least that is what Mr. Chretien and Mr Trudeau, both Catholics told us when they were running the country.
      Lest you doubt the strength of the beliefs (radicalism) of the Catholic Church in Alberta, just remember the Catholic school denied access to schools to public health officials who wanted to offer the HPV vaccination to junior highschool girls.  The church argued that the vaccine which protects against cervical cancer, would lead to sexual promiscuity..apparently those sex-starved teens need to fear some sort of devine retribution in order to convince them to keep their zippers done up.  So, how do you feel about electing a Catholic into government?

      • There’s a difference between an adherent to a faith and one whose job is to actively promote the interests of that faith. I’d be much less inclined to vote for a “man of the cloth” – esp. one who has been particularly vocal about following faith issues that are blatently discriminatory – than to vote for a lay member of the faith who has expressed a more tolerant viewpoint.

        • Okay, so what you are saying is that you would not vote for a Catholic school teacher who has “actively promoted the interests of that faith” in Catholic school classrooms.

          • My ex teaches religion in a Catholic school, so I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me :-)

            Seriously, though…

            I tend not to be a one-issue voter, but yes, it could potentially influence me negatively. It would depend on what was said, and how.

            There is a difference between explaining one’s own beliefs and aggressively telling someone “…and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.” I would be a little suspect of that person’s dedication to the equality of gays under the law.

            But as he would only be one MP (if elected) and if he has an otherwise sound reputation and I agree generally more with his party’s policies than those of the other guys, then I might take a chance.

            In short, for me it would likely depend on the degree to which his faith was put forth as one of his reasons for running. For Chretien and Trudeau their faith was clearly not central to their politics. With Hunsperger, I would’t be nearly so confident.

          • Hahaha!  I have a family member who was also a Catholic teacher so I know exactly what you mean.

          •  Is your ex wife re-married?   If so, she probably doesn’t let her Catholic faith influence her much either.   Which would be pretty much par for the course for teachers of religion in a Catholic school these days.

      • I think you need to consult the catechism.

        But yes, we know Christianity is a vile, hateful religion.

        • In what way should I consult the catechism.  Are you saying that the Catholic religion embraces homosexuality and is pro-choice?  Are you saying that Catholic schools teach students about birth control and sexuality transmitted diseases?  Are you saying that the Catholic diocese does allow public health to vaccinate against sexually transmitted diseases within their schools?
          OR perhaps you are saying that Catholics can more easily be government representatives and keep their private religous beliefs out of their jobs than evangelical christians can.

      • Um, why are you singling out Alberta catholic schools?  They did that in my Region in Ontario back when my kids were in school.  Don’t know if public health nurses are welcomed back yet or not.

        • I am not singling out Alberta Catholic schools for any reason except that I am familiar with their practices.  I am not surprised that the practices take place in other provinces.

    • So, if I am to summarize… it is inconsistent to accept an MP that believes gay people are going to Hell (a position held by most Christians, assuming they believe the Bible) while rejecting a Muslim member that supports a terrorist movement that actively kills civilians (including Canadian citizens). 

      Look, I think intolerance is bad. But actively killing innocent people… that’s probably worse. I recommend that you take a remedial course in drawing ad hoc moral equivalencies. 

  4. Context is always helpful, a point seemingly not taught in journalism schools any longer.  Hunsberger’s comments were in the context of a universal “anti-bullying” measure the Edmonton Public School Board was proposing to introduce that supporters of Edmonton religious schools within the public system thought went beyond “anti-bullying” and into “affirmation of lifestyle”.

    Religious schools have been part of the Edmonton public system for over a decade as a result of a revolutionary approach put forward by a former superintendent that saw school choice introduced as part of the public school system.  Although this change has been highly successful and has brought the Edmonton system considerable international accolades, the battle over whether specialty schools in general, and religious schools in particular, are appropriately incorporated into a “public” system rages on. 

    Most strident in this battle are the usual “progressive”/teacher unionista types who are willfully blind to the success the introduction of school choice has brought because of their rage that a couple of schools that their kids don’t attend have constituent elements they find abhorrent.  Fighting the same battle, but from an opposite perspective (describing them as “strange bedfellows” would be unnecessarily inflammatory) are the likes of Hunsberger – an evangelical Christian pastor who founded several Christian schools – who also opposed the incorporation of religious schools into the public school system for the reasons he puts so clumsily in his blog post – that the public system is “godless” and will eventually compel religious schools to abandon the tenets of their respective faiths if they wish to remain a part of it.

    So how is any of this relevant to the imminent Alberta election?  It isn’t, really – the governing PCs started the demonization tactic weeks ago out of desperation and it hasn’t found much traction.  Albertans are still more offended by Tory ministers voting themselves a 30% raise than a Christian pastor saying things Christian pastors say.  Hunsberger was unlikely to win a seat in Redmonton anyway and the over-the-top condemnation of him will probably shore up Wildrose support in the rest of the province.

    •  Surely the poster here meant “makes the impugned comments just as loathsome” rather than “helpful” in the fist sentence, and certainly did not mean to imply “makes excusable.”

      • Nope, meant “helpful”, but obviously should have qualified it:  “helpful in that it will explain why the founder of a Christian school felt the need to speak out against a measure he didn’t support”.  Context clearly isn’t helpful to those with an ideological (and, for purposes of the Alberta election, highly irrelevant) axe to grind.

        •  So are Albertans generally proud of the disgusting bigotry on display on this candidate’s words?   Why don’t tehy speak out against it more?

          • Albertans generally have never heard of him and, upon being inundated this a.m. by stories about him, most quickly turned to the sports section.  The majority of the exceedingly few that bothered to read what he wrote I suspect dismissed it as the sort of thing Christian ministers say, especially the more fervent ones.  I’m confident they say it as often in other provinces as they do in Alberta.

          •  So quiet approval of bigotry is common in Alberta.  I am upset to hear it.

          • Perhaps defer a week and until after you see how well Hunsberger fares before slagging us again.

          •  That’s fair to a point, although I’d like to hear more albertan citizens and politicians decrying this kind of crap.

          • There’s a fine line between bigotry and personal opinions that go against the grain of popular thought. If Huntsperger thought that, for example, school cafeterias should be condemned for serving meat, and that those who condone the slaughter of animals are condemned to eternal fire&brimstone, you’d likely be less upset–but is what he said actually any more “bigoted” than that? If he had–as a pastor–said “Atheists are going to hell,” would you respond differently?

            He wasn’t saying “We need to bully more homos”, or “we need to keep our kids from watching Glee”; he was saying “I think that homosexuality is an example of human failing, and a failing that can’t be helped by anyone but Jesus.” Read the whole piece, not just the headline-grabbing excerpts. Huntsperger might be wrong, but (at least in this case) he’s not a bully, nor is he saying anything that encourages any kind of discrimination or hatred. 

            I know that the rhetoric that’s used in “dialogue” between GLBT and Christian communities is, at best, unhelpful. *That’s* why it’s ignored by the consumers of newsmedia–there’s no conversation here, just empty ‘blog comments and bad pop songs.

          •  Don’t tell me what I likely think, dumbass.

    •  Why is this man allowed to call himself a christian, much less a pastor?

      Jesus never said anything like that.

      • Then you should contact the International Decider of Who Gets to Call Himself/Herself a Christian and complain.

        I actually think there is an minor apocryphal book in which Jesus is attributed with negative comments about the Edmonton public school board.

        • There is an actual bible that prints everything Jesus said in red ink….surely the word of Jesus himself is sufficient authority.

          • Then I suggest you take it up with Reverend Hunsberger after the election.  In the meantime his (and your) interpretations of gospel doctrine aren’t really first and foremost in Albertans minds as we contemplate who to vote for. 

          •  Oh, I’d say religion is playing a big part in Alberta elections…as always.

          • Perhaps from your non-Albertan perspective.

          •  @GreatWallsofFire:disqus

            I’ve lived there and travelled there….plus of course the ROC has media and computers and such.

          • So what media are you reading that cause you to conclude religion is playing a big part in this Alberta election (unless you define religion to include “nannie statism”)?

          •  @GreatWallsofFire:disqus

            All the ones that mention ‘conscience rights’.

          • You mean the ones in the Charter or some other ones?

          •  @GreatWallsofFire:disqus

            I know you’re trying to be cute with the Ontarian, but if you’ve been following the Alberta election as closely as you claim you are well aware of her ‘conscience rights’

            Everyone else is:


          • No, they’d be the Charter ones – perhaps you nodded off when Smith made this clear during last week’s leadership debate.

            Don’t worry, though – given their propensity for reading in rights that aren’t in there, I’m sure there’s lots of judges chomping at the bit to read a few out as well.

          • @GreatWallsofFire:disqus

            No, they’d be these.

            On abortion: “…abortions are a horrific practice… Any
            politician who challenges the status quo gets pilloried by the media, abortion-rights groups and opposing politicians…the taxpayer should not be on the hook to pay for it.” Windsor Star, December 4, 2000

            On university behaviour codes: “It is perfectly reasonable
            [to] expect its students to refrain from practices that are biblically condemned, and sign a pledge not to get drunk, swear, harass, lie, cheat, steal, have an abortion, practise the occult, or engage in sexual sins such as premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behaviour and viewing of pornography.” Calgary Herald May 21, 2001

            On two-tier health care: “Bring it on.” Calgary
            Herald, June 1, 2003On queue jumping: “We already do have this two-tier system, so why not allow people to pay for private services?” Global TV, June 1, 2003

            On democracy: “Democracy is pure theatre.” Calgary Herald, August 3, 2003

            On the courts: “The courts are out of control [because they have been] striking down the abortion law, the
            change in the traditional definition of marriage, the legalization of swingers’ clubs.” Calgary Herald January 14, 2006

            On overriding Charter rights: “There are ways around the
            [notwithstanding] clause.” Calgary Herald January 14, 2006

            …and on
            what she really thinks of the leader she now claims is a friend?

            On Stephen Harper: ”He’s blown his
            moderate credentials, he got some of his facts wrong and he has come across as a kooky conspiracy theorist.” Calgary Herald, September
            14, 2003

          • Someone’s been a busy beaver!  Shame every one of the articles predates the existence of the Wildrose party and none reference “conscience rights”.  By all means, though, keep telling yourself there’s a connection.

          •  @GreatWallsofFire:disqus

            Same person.

      • You are absolutely right as always. The Bible strongly encourages homosexual relations. When Deuteronomy 23:17 declared
        “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel”, it meant to say that whores and sodomites are equally… awesome. 
        Christianity is pretty clear in its belief that homosexuals are bound to hell. So too are all non-Christians, adulterers, people that don’t honour their parents, and those that commit software piracy. Why is the belief that these people will go to hell incompatible with being a good citizen, and working with these people (even if one believes they are hellbound)? Most Christians do the very same every day.

        •  That’s the old testament….Jewish ‘history’ and law…..nothing to do with the new testament which is christianity….the one that threw out all the old laws.

          • That is great news! I can finally start coveting my neighbour’s wife.

          •  Our entire consumer society is built on coveting….that’s why we have commercials.

    • Students have a right not to be brainwashed in religious hate speech. Governments have an obligation to protect them

    • I remember watching the school board’s hearings. Completely appalling how these religious schools are happy to avail themselves of all the benefits of being included within the Edmonton Public School System, but don’t care to do what’s expected of everyone who operates within that system.

  5. Surely Abertans by the score will pipe up to admonish this vile candidate and do the rest of the country proud.  

  6. Very recently I posted about how reports of Alberta politics reflect very poorly on Albertans.

    I bet the people who took umbrage are feeling pretty stupid, right now.

    • Only if “slight exhilaration at the prospect of a true conservative government” feels like “stupid”.

      • ‘Real conservative’-  jeezus you guys fall for that snake oil everytime. 

      • It should, really. 

  7. “More fiscally responsible than the poorly-trending mismanagement of the last six years, not to mention more accountable on policy concerns” doesn’t really play as well in the comments section, but I think I understand your skepticism. The WRP is, as are all the others, still a political organization with ambitions to legislative power. The question before AB voters is: whom do you *distrust least*…

  8. When I read the headlines on the paper I figured this guy did something like advocate banning homosexuality or something. But no, he said gay people are going to Hell. And if the Bible is correct, guess what – they are. I fail to see what the issue is here. Lots of people are going to Hell in the Bible, and adherents to most Christian faiths presumably believe that. Is it illegal, or even immoral, to believe that others will face negative consequences (temporal or otherwise) for their actions?

    It isn’t as if liberal secular humanists are without their own version of Hell, either. We all know that a fiery fate awaits fat people, Christians, gun owners, rich people, white people, housewives, litterers,  religious folk, southerners (Albertans in Canada) and people that eat supermarket chicken. Not to mention the need for public executions of intolerant people. Are they illegitimate public representatives as a result? Not until they try to legislate their vindictive and arbitrary morality. 

    • The issue is that it’s a personal religious belief, and has no place in govt.

      You represent ALL the people, not just the ones you approve of.

      And christianity is only one of many religions in Canada

      PS…and Jesus never said anything like that, so it’s not christianity either.

      • Why can’t you represent people who you believe are immoral? Most vegan MP’s represent meat-eaters whom they believe are guilty of murder. You are proposing that religious MPs are illegitimate, which is in fact, a massive violation of the separation of church and state. The idea of separation isn’t that we would have representatives without religion, it is that we would not mandate a state religion. Most statesmen in Canadian history have, among other things, been inspired by their religious faith. 

        Also you are way off on your notion that anything from the old testament is not Christianity. If that were the case, why are Christians so big on the Ten Commandments?

        •  Well Baird is a vegetarian….but I doubt he believes you’re guilty of murder.LOL

          I don’t have a problem with religious MPs…..they can believe in pink unicorns for all I care…..I do have a problem with MPs who try to force their religion on to other people through the mechanism of the state.

          The idea of not mandating a ‘state religion’ is American, not Canadian.  The UK has a state religion….we refused both.  In Canada we have freedom FROM religion. Any religion whatever, or none at all.  It’s individual.

          I have no idea why so-called christians would be big on the ten commandments….they aren’t part of christianity.

    • If the bible is correct the good pastor needs to spend at least some of his time, I would suggest proportionately more time, warning his affluent parishioners that they won’t be able to enter heaven either.

      • What makes you think he doesn’t?

        I strongly suspect the good pastor is equally concerned for all sinners not being able to enter heaven.  His concern about neighbour’s wife coveters not getting in, however, doesn’t seem to prompt the heated accusations of intolerance from people who can’t tolerate him.

        •  And I suspect he just hates gays.

          Betcha I could make a lot of $ betting against you on this one.

          • Because it’s always and evermore about them.

          • I’ts like what they say about the right wing in the U.S. – it’s all about  God, guns and gays.

    •  Your comment was breathtaking stupid.


  9. Canada needs more Alberta. Ontario needs more Alberta.

  10. only superstitious nincompoops believe in the afterlife

  11. Religious people should SHUT UP in public because they have NO RIGHT to express unwelcome opinions in the public sphere.