UCP candidate says his views have evolved after NDP raises concerns over how newsletter portrays homosexuality
The UCP candidate for Livingstone-Macleod says “societal norms have evolved a great deal since then, as have my personal views,” after the Alberta NDP raised questions about how homosexuality was described in a 2003 religious newsletter connected to a church he was involved in.
The newsletter from the First Alliance Church, whom the NDP alleges Roger Reid was the director of communications for at the time, includes a book review for The Homosexual Agenda.
“The homosexual agenda has as its primary aim to ‘trump’ the rights of all other groups, especially those of people of faith,” the review reads. “The authors provide well-documented proof that America is not only becoming more tolerant of homosexual behaviour, it is becoming less tolerant of those who disagree with the lifestyle.”
The newsletter, published in December 2003, includes a holiday greeting from Reid on its first page.
In a statement the UCP issued to Global News, Reid said “Albertans are tired of revisiting old, divisive debates from many years prior.”
“Our leader and party have been clear: It doesn’t matter who you love or how you worship, all are welcome in our party, and I am fully supportive of that.”
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The NDP also raised concerns about a 2012 sermon of Reid’s, delivered at a church in Claresholm. In it, the NDP says he promotes a book called Being the Body by Charles Colson, which the NDP says it interprets as anti-Muslim.
“This spring I pulled out a book I read years ago when Chuck Colson passed away,” Reid can be heard saying in an audio recording of the sermon. “[It’s] one of my favourite books and a transforming book for me, called The Body. He updated it after 9/11 and called it Being the Body.
“One of the reasons it was such a great story for me was it told the stories of the persecuted church.”
In his statement on Wednesday, Reid said he was not referring to the post 9/11 version of the book when he delivered his sermon.
“In the sermon, I referenced a book from 1993 by Charles Colson,” the statement reads. “The book was later updated with a revised title and additional content, but I was referencing the original 1993 version specifically.”
In a news release, the NDP said there “is clearly a pattern with [UCP Leader Jason] Kenney’s candidates of promoting hate and extreme views.”
“Mr. Kenney cannot continue to deny that he has a problem in his own ranks. He must show leadership and address the racist and homophobic views of his candidate.”
Hours before the UCP provided Global News with Reid’s statement, another UCP candidate issued a statement to apologize for anti-gay and anti-abortion comments in a separate case.
Watch below: Voters in Alberta will head to the polls in two weeks and on Tuesday, another UCP candidate came under fire for questionable comments. Lauren Pullen has reaction.
Mark Smith, who is running for re-election in Drayton Valley-Devon, issued an apology after an audio recording of him surfaced on social media from a sermon he delivered in 2013.
In the audio recording, Smith can be heard asking how anyone who has an abortion could say it’s done out of love and suggesting TV shows try to convince people that love among homosexuals is “good love.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Kenney issued a statement in response to the criticism of Smith’s comments.
“I have been clear that ours is a party that respects human dignity of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, people’s faith, or their background,” the statement reads. “The United Conservative Party supports the human dignity of all, and the protection of everyone’s rights.
“The comments in question were made before Mr. Smith was a legislator. In Mr. Smith’s time as an MLA over the past four years, he has not, to my knowledge, made similarly offensive comments. Mr. Smith’s comments made prior to his election and the establishment of the United Conservative Party are not reflective of our party.
“I personally find his comments from 2013 offensive, and Mr. Smith has rightly apologized.”
Since the current Alberta election campaign first got underway, the UCP has already seen two of its candidates resign over posts made or shared on social media about race, refugees and people “accepting perversions as ‘alternative lifestyles.'”
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