CIIT-DT (HopeTV) re Truth of God

ENGLISH-LANGUAGE PANEL
CBSC Decision 16/17-0048
2017 CBSC 6
July 20, 2017
A. Noël (Chair), J. Haskins, H. Montbourquette, L. Nagel

THE FACTS

Truth of God is a paid religious program featuring the sermons of Pastor Gino Jennings from First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CIIT-DT (HopeTV, Winnipeg) broadcast an episode of the program on September 10, 2016 at 8:00 am Central Time.  It displayed a G classification icon at the beginning of the program.

The broadcast was preceded by the following visual-only advisory:

In accordance with the requirements of its CRTC license, Hope TV makes airtime available for purchase by faith groups and reviews such programs to ensure they comply with CRTC policies and our code of ethics.  Otherwise, their opinions are their own.  No endorsement by HopeTV is implied.

There was then another advisory in video and audio formats:

The following religious program is being brought to you by the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The contents of this program are solely those of the sponsor, First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The majority of the program consisted of a sermon by Pastor Gino Jennings recorded on July 24, 2016.  Jennings had beside him Minister Steven Williams, who read scripture which Jennings then commented on.  Jennings talked about how the word of God should not be modernized and pastors should not deviate from the original teachings, such as by allowing praise dancers in the pulpit or excusing polytheism or adultery.  He also said that people must stay on God’s straight path and not be tempted by crooked ways.  He then raised the issue of allowing transgendered people to use the public bathroom of their choice, an issue which had been the subject of public controversy at the time.  His statements were as follows:

Jennings:              I refuse to endorse bathrooms –

Williams:               Yeah!

Jennings:              – where a man who thinks he’s a woman –

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              – can go in the ladies’ room.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              We refu-, we refuse to endorse a woman who thinks she’s a man –

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              – and want to go in the men’s room.  Now, now, yeah, yeah.  Hear me.  All of you that are watching in the business world who claim you are saved, I’m about to challenge your so-called Christianity.  You got a job.  And you know that a woman, name is Dana.  And now when she come, she wants you to call her “Dan”.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              Am I right?

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Every time you call him or her “Dan”, if you just call her “Dan”, it’s a lie.

Williams:               That’s a lie.

Jennings:              And if you call her “him”, it’s a lie.

Williams:               It’s a lie.

Jennings:              And if you sign a marriage licence endorsing her as a husband, it’s a lie.

Williams:               It’s a lie.  That’s right.

Jennings:              Talk to me!  [crowd applauds]

Williams:               Amen.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You weak, spineless governors!  And mayors!

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              That is so much of perversion.  Perverseness that you will want to pass a bill to make a law just to accommodate those who live in abomination to have their body changed!

Williams:               Oh Lord.

Jennings:              You didn’t move that quick when all bathrooms was white!

Williams:               Amen.  [applause from crowd]

Jennings:              Talk to me!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Look how many years you filibustered in Congress.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              You didn’t move that quick to get rid of “whites only”.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              “Colored only”.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Black in the back of the bus, white in the front!

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              White got their water fountain.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              Black got theirs.  Ya’ll didn’t move that quick!

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              Because some of you congressmen are faggots yourself!  [crowd applauds]  Talk to me!  You move quick.  What it look like?  A man dressed like a woman.  Trying to share a toilet!

Williams:               My Lord.

Jennings:              Next to your daughter!

Williams:               My Lord.

Jennings:              And his genitalia is not the same!

Williams:               No, no.  Not the same.

Jennings:              Thus opening the doors to rape!  Yes, it is!

Williams:               Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.

Jennings:              You congressmen, you congressmen, and preachers that are endorsing.  You are pedophiles!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You are Democrat and Republican pedophiles!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              If you the president, you the White House pedophile!

Williams:               Amen.  Amen.

Jennings:              Am I right?  You didn’t move this quick to segregate the –, to get school segregation straightened out.

Williams:               No, they didn’t.

Jennings:              They never move this quick.  They dragged on for years.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              And after they passed the bill to de-segregate schools, they didn’t enforce it.

Williams:               They didn’t enforce it.

Jennings:              Democrat and Republican bums.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              You ain’t never moved this quick.  That’s why you want me off the air.

[…]

Jennings:              The government of America ain’t never moved this quick.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              You would accommodate the homosexual.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              But won’t accommodate Blacks who may not have what they need and poor Whites.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Won’t accommodate them.  It’s very slow.

Williams:               Very slow.

Jennings:              Drag on for years.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              But it is amazing how that bill can pass through Congress.  The spirit that is now flowing in the air.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              And when you speak against homosexuality, right away they say you homophobic.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Nothing homophobic about me.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              I’m just preaching the word.

Williams:               The word.

Jennings:              If God say you a man, you a man!

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You can walk around and say “I don’t know what I am”.  You can play dumb all you want.

Williams:               You can.  That’s right.

Jennings:              The Bible says he that made them at the beginning made male and female.

Williams:               Made them male and female.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You can play dumb all you want.  But if you’re that confused, walk around, take your clothes off.  And just walk around, look at yourself.  Am I right?  [crowd applauds & cheers]  Talk to me!  [crowd applauds louder]

Williams:               Hallelujah.  That’s right.

Jennings:              If you don’t know what you are, go in the mirror, strip down.

Williams:               Strip down.

Jennings:              Look at yourself.

Williams:               Look at yourself.  Amen.

Jennings:              You men.  You boys.  Who say “I’m a girl inside”.  That’s Satan inside of you!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You young lady that says you’re a man inside.

Williams:               Man inside.

Jennings:              That’s Satan inside of you.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Because God is designing for straightness.  And Satan designs the altered change to ourselves.  All the wisdom and the knowledge and the perfect infallible understanding of God’s creation.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings went on to state that the true spirit of God seems to be missing in churches in the modern day.  He touched on other topics, using scriptures as the basis for his comments.  At the conclusion of the program, there was the following advisory:

The preceding was a paid program brought to you by the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The opinions expressed were solely those of the sponsor, First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

A more complete transcript of the relevant segment is available in Appendix A.

The CBSC received a complaint about this broadcast on September 10 from a viewer who characterized the content as “homophobic hate speech”.  The station responded to the complainant on September 14.  It apologized for allowing the “faggots” comment to go to air, explaining that it was missed by the station’s screening process, but would be edited out in any rebroadcast of the episode.  HopeTV also explained that it “provides equal opportunity to various faith groups to express their religious beliefs on air” and they “do not judge the validity of [any group’s] claim based on a single-faith perspective.”  The complainant was not satisfied with this response, and filed a CBSC Ruling Request on September 15.  The complainant also expressed concern that Truth of God was still airing on the station.  (The full text of all relevant correspondence can be found in Appendix B.)

THE DECISION

The English-Language Panel examined the complaint under the following provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code:

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 2 – Human Rights

Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 8 – Religious Programming

Broadcasters should endeavour to make available to the community adequate opportunity for presentation of religious messages and should also endeavour to assist in all ways open to them the furtherance of religious activities in the community.  Recognizing the purpose of the religious broadcast to be that of promoting the spiritual harmony and understanding of humanity and of administering broadly to the varied religious needs of the community, it shall be the responsibility of each broadcaster to ensure that its religious broadcasts, which reach persons of all creeds and races simultaneously, shall not be used to convey attacks upon another race or religion.

CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, Clause 2 – Human Rights

Recognizing that every person has the right to the full enjoyment of certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, Clause 5 – Stigmatization and Victimization

Recognizing that members of certain of the following identifiable groups face particular portrayal issues, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming does not stigmatize or victimize individuals or groups on the basis of their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, Clause 7 – Degrading Material

Broadcasters shall avoid the airing of degrading material, whether reflected in words, sounds, images or by other means, which is based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, Clause 9 – Language & Terminology

Broadcasters shall be sensitive to, and avoid, the usage of derogatory or inappropriate language or terminology in references to individuals or groups based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

[…]

b) It is understood that language and terminology evolve over time. Some language and terminology may be inappropriate when used with respect to identifiable groups on the basis of their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.  Broadcasters shall remain vigilant with respect to the evolving appropriateness or inappropriateness of particular words and phrases, keeping in mind prevailing community standards.

CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, Clause 10 – Contextual Considerations

Broadcasts may fairly include material that would otherwise appear to breach one of the foregoing provisions in the following contextual circumstances:

a) Legitimate artistic usage: Individuals who are themselves bigoted or intolerant may be part of a fictional or non-fictional program, provided that the program is not itself abusive or unduly discriminatory;

b) [not applicable, deals with comedy & satire]

c) Intellectual treatment: Programming apparently for academic, artistic, humanitarian, journalistic, scientific or research purposes, or otherwise in the public interest, may be broadcast, provided that it: is not abusive or unduly discriminatory; does not incite contempt for, or severely ridicule, an enumerated group; and is not likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against an enumerated group.

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 6 – Full, Fair and Proper Presentation

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster.  This principle shall apply to all radio and television programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers.

The Panel Adjudicators read all of the correspondence and viewed a recording of the challenged broadcast.  The Panel concludes that the comments about transgendered people and homosexuals violated Clauses 2 and 8 of the CAB Code of Ethics, as well as Clauses 2, 5, 7 and 9 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.  The criticisms of the lawmakers using offensive language also violated Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

Religious Programming – Abusive or Unduly Discriminatory Content and Conveying Attacks on Groups

Both freedom of expression and equality rights are fundamental to Canadian society.  When, as in this broadcast, they come into conflict, the CBSC must find the appropriate balance.  In past decisions, CBSC Panels have generally allowed great leeway for religious speech, but have set limits where that speech has amounted to abusive or unduly discriminatory comment about an identified group.  Therefore, although hosts of religious programs are entitled to fully express their views on and speak out against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gay lifestyles, and to criticize policy-makers whom they feel are being too permissive on these issues, they cannot utter extremely negative generalizations about an entire group.[1]

In this particular broadcast, the station was fully entitled to broadcast Pastor Jennings’s objections to the establishment of gender-neutral bathrooms, sex reassignment and related topics.  The Panel Adjudicators found, however, that Pastor Jennings violated Canadian broadcast standards when he used inflammatory language in his sermon, such “faggots”, “perversion”, “perverse” and “pedophiles”, when referring to homosexuals and transgender people.  As well, the reference to gender-neutral bathrooms opening the doors to rape was unacceptable.  All of the above constitutes “abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of […] sex, [or] sexual orientation […]”.  The broadcaster, therefore, clearly violated Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics on Human Rights and Clause 2 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code on the same subject.

In addition, based on the CBSC’s precedent decisions regarding religious programs,[2] the Panel Adjudicators found that, by allowing the broadcast of such a program, the broadcaster did not exercise its responsibility to ensure that religious programs shall not be used to convey attacks on identifiable groups, thereby violating Clause 8 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

Stigmatization and Degradation

The Panel Adjudicators found that the use of language including “faggots”, “perversion” and “pedophiles” clearly stigmatized and degraded the people who were targeted by the pastor, therefore violating Clauses 5 and 7 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code on Stigmatization and Degrading Material, respectively.[3]

Language and Terminology

The CBSC has confirmed that the word “faggot” is abusive and unduly discriminatory as well as degrading on the basis of sexual orientation.[4]  Unless there are extenuating reasons for the inclusion of the word, such as those outlined in Clause 10 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code, the word is unacceptable on Canadian airwaves.  In this case, Pastor Jennings was clearly using the word as an insult directed at an identifiable group.  The broadcaster is thus in breach of Clause 9 regarding Language and Terminology of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.

Full, Fair and Proper Presentation

Finally, the Panel Adjudicators reviewed the insults directed by Pastor Jennings towards law-makers.  Politicians are not a protected class under Clauses 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.  However, in circumstances where extremely nasty, gratuitous personal insults are directed against individuals, the CBSC has decided that such insults violate Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics regarding Full, Fair and Proper Presentation.[5]  Considering the language used by Pastor Jennings in reference to law-makers in the United States who authorized the use of gender-neutral bathrooms, in particular statements that those lawmakers were “faggots” and “pedophiles”, the Panel Adjudicators found the broadcaster in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

Broadcaster Responsiveness

In all CBSC decisions, the Panels assess the broadcaster’s response to the complainant.  The broadcaster need not agree with the complainant’s position, but it must respond in a courteous, thoughtful and thorough manner.  In this case, CIIT-DT (HopeTV) provided a reply to the complainant, explaining its approach to religious programming and apologizing for allowing the offensive remarks to be broadcast.  The broadcaster fulfilled its obligations of responsiveness and, subject to the announcement of this decision, nothing further is required in this regard in this instance.

Announcement of the Decision

HopeTV (CIIT-DT) is required to:  1) announce the decision, in the following terms, once during prime time within three days following the release of this decision and once more within seven days following the release of this decision during the time period in which Truth of God was broadcast, but not on the same day as the first mandated announcement; 2) within the fourteen days following the broadcasts of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant who filed the Ruling Request; and 3) at that time, to provide the CBSC with a copy of that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by HopeTV.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that HopeTV breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its broadcast of Truth of God on September 10, 2016.  The broadcast contained abusive, derogatory and inappropriate comments about an identifiable group.

This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

[1] CHCH-TV re Life Today with James Robison (CBSC Decision 95/96-0128, April 30, 1996); CKRD-AM re Focus on the Family (CBSC Decision 96/97-0155, December 16, 1997); CFYI-AM re Focus on the Family (CBSC Decision 99/00-0724, June 28, 2001); Vision TV re Power Today (CBSC Decision 01/02-0617, September 13, 2002); CITS-TV (CTS) re John Hagee Today (“Diamonds for Successful Living”) (CBSC Decision 04/05-0177, April 19, 2005); OMNI.1 re an episode of the Jimmy Swaggart Telecast (CBSC Decision 04/05-0097, April 19, 2005); CITS-TV re Word.ca and Word TV (CBSC Decision 08/09-2142 & 09/10-0383+, June 22, 2010); CITS-TV re Word TV (CBSC Decision 10/11-0068, April 5, 2011); CITS-TV re It’s Your Call (CBSC Decision 10/11-2217 & 11/12-0442+, August 29, 2012)

[2] Vision TV re Power Today (CBSC Decision 01/02-0617, September 13, 2002); CITS-TV (CTS) re John Hagee Today (“Diamonds for Successful Living”) (CBSC Decision 04/05-0177, April 19, 2005); OMNI.1 re an episode of the Jimmy Swaggart Telecast (CBSC Decision 04/05-0097, April 19, 2005); CITS-TV re Word.ca and Word TV (CBSC Decision 08/09-2142 & 09/10-0383+, June 22, 2010); CITS-TV re It’s Your Call (CBSC Decision 10/11-2217 & 11/12-0442+, August 29, 2012)

[3] CFRB-AM re comments made on The City with Mayor Rob Ford (CBSC Decision 11/12-1881 & -1942, December 21, 2012)

[4] Review of the Atlantic Regional Panel decision in CHOZ-FM re the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits (CBSC Review of Decision 09/10-0818, May 17, 2011)

[5] CILQ-FM re John Derringer’s “Tool of the Day” (CBSC Decision 02/03-1465, February 10, 2004); CHMP-FM re a segment on Le Journal du midi (CBSC Decision 07/08-0553, April 7, 2008)


Appendix A

Truth of God is a paid religious program featuring the sermons of Pastor Gino Jennings from First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CIIT-DT (HopeTV, Winnipeg) broadcast an episode of the program on September 10, 2016 at 8:00 am Central Time (which was viewed by the complainant in at 9:00 am in the Eastern Time zone).  It displayed a G classification icon at the beginning of the program.

The broadcast was preceded by the following visual-only advisory:

In accordance with the requirements of its CRTC license, Hope TV makes airtime available for purchase by faith groups and reviews such programs to ensure they comply with CRTC policies and our code of ethics.  Otherwise, their opinions are their own.  No endorsement by HopeTV is implied.

There was then another advisory in video and audio formats:

The following religious program is being brought to you by the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The contents of this program are solely those of the sponsor, First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

During the introduction, a narrator stated the following:

Greetings everyone.  In the name of Jesus Christ, the worldwide Truth of God  television program is now on the air.  It comes to you from the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ with new international headquarters at 5105 North 5th Street on the corner of North 5th Street and Lindley Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States of America.  In this and all our programs you’ll hear the word of God in its purest form from the Holy Scriptures by the apostle pastor Gino Jennings.  So join us each week at this time to hear Pastor Jennings preach on a variety of subjects, all of which point you to God’s call to true holiness.

There were a few announcements regarding the opening of First Church’s new location, an anniversary event occurring in Alabama, and their new internet channel.

The majority of the program consisted of a sermon by Pastor Gino Jennings recorded on July 24, 2016 and the last one at First Church’s previous Frankford Avenue location.  Jennings has beside him, Minister Steven Williams, who reads scripture which Jennings then comments on.

The relevant segment runs from 08:05:25 to 8:26:33.  Note:  Any grammatical errors are accurate transcriptions and reflect Jennings’s speaking style.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Because the wall that he stood on, how did it get there?

Williams:               Made by a plumb line.

Jennings:              How did it get there?

Williams:               The Lord stood upon a wall.

Jennings:              How did it get there?

Williams:               Made by a plumb line.

Jennings:              It was made!

Williams:               Made by a plumb line.

Jennings:              Made by a plumb line.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              The wall was straight.  And he stood there because he was responsible for the straightness of it.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Now for God come back for his church, hit me, hit me now.  Church has to be straight.

Williams:               Straight.

Jennings:              Notice the location of the plumb line.

Williams:               With a plumb line.

Jennings:              With a plumb line.

Williams:               In his hand.

Jennings:              In his hand.

Williams:               In his hand.

Jennings:              What?

Williams:               And the Lord  said unto me, Amos what seeth thou?

Jennings:              Amos, what do you see?

Williams:               And I said a plumb line.

Jennings:              A plumb line.

Williams:               Thus sayeth the Lord.

Jennings:              What?

Williams:               Behold, I will set a plumb line.

Jennings:              I will set a plumb line!  Where, Lord?

Williams:               In the midst of my people.

Jennings:              Hallelujah.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              I’m going to set a plumb line in the midst –

Williams:               In the midst of my people.

Jennings:              That’s why the word of God, the gospel don’t change!

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              That’s why I say, moreover, we are notta change!

Williams:               Never change.

Jennings:              Because the straight message –

Williams:               Yes.

Jennings:              – makes a straight people.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              When preachers start to deviate from the message … you got to have crooked beliefs.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You cannot build wrong.

Williams:               Build wrong.

Jennings:              You know, when I see a wall, I stand on the edge of it and look out of one eye.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              I want to make sure there’s no bowing.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Heh?

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Can’t be no bow in the church.

Williams:               Oh no.

Jennings:              And the reason why God didn’t come for his church yet because he’s straightening the church out.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Now, get this.  I don’t care how modern things become.  The message will remain old.

Williams:               Oh yes.

Jennings:              How old is it?!

Williams:               Old.

Jennings:              It’s connected to the ancient of days.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              We will never modernize it.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              Never get no praise dancers in here.  No praise dancers in the pulpit.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              We’ll never change and say you can divorce now.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              We’ll never denounce one god and start making two gods and three gods.

Williams:               That’s right, that’s right.

Jennings:              Yeah?

Williams:               I will set a plumb line.

Jennings:              Where the plumb line gonna be?

Williams:               In the midst of my people.

Jennings:              We will always call fornicating for what it is.

Williams:               It is.

Jennings:              Fornication.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              And adultery for what it is.  Adultery.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Why the word of God says, where is it?

Williams:               In the midst of my people.  Plumb line.  Plumb line.

Jennings:              My wife asked me, “Well, are you excited yet?”  I said “No”.  “You’re not excited about Lindley yet?”  “No.”  “Why?”  “There’s too much work to be done.”  Maybe it’ll hit me when we dedicate it.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              We got plenty of time to be excited.  You’re excited?  Good.  Keep it so you can work harder.  Hey, Brother Mark.  Mark, every time he come on the campus he come in and smell.  It’d take him a while to start doin’ something, he’d smell.  I asked Mark last night “What you doin’?  Walkin’ around smellin’.  What you doing?”  He said “I’m getting my Trenton strut on.”  The instrument of straightness.

Williams:               That’s right.  Plumb line.

Jennings:              Plumb line is supposed to be in the church.  When the plumb line is in the church, the preachers will not denounce speaking in tongues.

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              Because it takes a straight spirit, a straight spirit.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              What do you think the word of God meant when the request was made to  create in me a right spirit.

Williams:               A right spirit.

Jennings:              A right spirit is a straight spirit.

Williams:               Straight spirit.

Jennings:              Because the way we think is crooked.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              The way we feel is crooked.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              The way we live is crooked!  The way we act is crooked!

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              Nobody can straighten us out like God can.

Williams:               Like God.  That’s right.  [applause from crowd]

Jennings:              Nobody.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You can’t straighten out yourself.

Williams:               Oh no.

Jennings:              That’s why you need the Holy Ghost!

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              And even after you have the Holy Ghost, you still struggle.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              Because the flesh yearns to be crooked!

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              The flesh yearns to be crooked.

Williams:               That’s right.  Hallelujah to God. Thus sayeth the Lord.

Jennings:              That’s why you got so many crooked false prophets.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              So many.

Williams:               So many.

Jennings:              Sent by the devil to keep the world crooked.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              Keep the world unrighteous.  Keep the world ungodly.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Keep the world wicked and untamed.  They called me a false prophet because I refuse to endorse the madness.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              I refuse to endorse bathrooms –

Williams:               Yeah!

Jennings:              – where a man who thinks he’s a woman –

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              – can go in the ladies’ room.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              We refu-, we refuse to endorse a woman who thinks she’s a man –

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              – and want to go in the men’s room.  Now, now, yeah, yeah.  Hear me.  All of you that are watching in the business world who claim you are saved, I’m about to challenge your so-called Christianity.  You got a job.  And you know that a woman, name is Dana.  And now when she come, she wants you to call her “Dan”.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              Am I right?

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Every time you call him or her “Dan”, if you just call her “Dan”, it’s a lie.

Williams:               That’s a lie.

Jennings:              And if you call her “him”, it’s a lie.

Williams:               It’s a lie.

Jennings:              And if you sign a marriage licence endorsing her as a husband, it’s a lie.

Williams:               It’s a lie.  That’s right.

Jennings:              Talk to me!  [crowd applauds]

Williams:               Amen.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You weak, spineless governors!  And mayors!

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              That is so much of perversion.  Perverseness that you will want to pass a bill to make a law just to accommodate those who live in abomination to have their body changed!

Williams:               Oh Lord.

Jennings:              You didn’t move that quick when all bathrooms was white!

Williams:               Amen.  [applause from crowd]

Jennings:              Talk to me!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Look how many years you filibustered in Congress.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              You didn’t move that quick to get rid of “whites only”.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              “Colored only”.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Black in the back of the bus, white in the front!

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              White got their water fountain.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              Black got theirs.  Ya’ll didn’t move that quick!

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              Because some of you congressmen are faggots yourself!  [crowd applauds]  Talk to me!  You move quick.  What it look like?  A  man dressed like a woman.  Trying to share a toilet!

Williams:               My Lord.

Jennings:              Next to your daughter!

Williams:               My Lord.

Jennings:              And his genitalia is not the same!

Williams:               No, no.  Not the same.

Jennings:              Thus opening the doors to rape!  Yes, it is!

Williams:               Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.

Jennings:              You congressmen, you congressmen, and preachers that are endorsing.  You are pedophiles!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You are Democrat and Republican pedophiles!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              If you the president, you the White House pedophile!

Williams:               Amen.  Amen.

Jennings:              Am I right?  You didn’t move this quick to segregate the –, to get school segregation straightened out.

Williams:               No, they didn’t.

Jennings:              They never move this quick.  They dragged on for years.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              And after they passed the bill to de-segregate schools, they didn’t enforce it.

Williams:               They didn’t enforce it.

Jennings:              Democrat and Republican bums.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              You ain’t never moved this quick.  That’s why you want me off the air.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              “Oh, you shouldn’t be talking about the [????]”  This message’s going from here right over there.

Williams:               Right over there.  [crowd applauds]  Hallelujah.

Jennings:              God just gave us more elbow room.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              To swing a little wider.  Swing a little harder.

Williams:               Hallelujah.

Jennings:              Yeah?!  [crowd applauds]  [??] Do you understand?

Williams:               Hallelujah.

Jennings:              And sayeth the Lord.

Williams:               Build the house.  Amen.  Said the Lord, build the house.

Jennings:              God made this possible for the Truth of God.  That’s why I don’t change.  It’s the Lord’s doing.

Williams:               Oh, yes, it’s God.

Jennings:              I’m determined to do it God’s way.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Who get offended don’t matter.

Williams:               No.  No.

Jennings:              The government of America ain’t never moved this quick.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              You would accommodate the homosexual.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              But won’t accommodate Blacks who may not have what they need and poor Whites.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Won’t accommodate them.  It’s very slow.

Williams:               Very slow.

Jennings:              Drag on for years.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              But it is amazing how that bill can pass through Congress.  The spirit that is now flowing in the air.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              And when you speak against homosexuality, right away they say you homophobic.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Nothing homophobic about me.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              I’m just preaching the word.

Williams:               The word.

Jennings:              If God say you a man, you a man!

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You can walk around and say “I don’t know what I am”.  You can play dumb all you want.

Williams:               You can.  That’s right.

Jennings:              The Bible says he that made them at the beginning made male and female.

Williams:               Made them male and female.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You can play dumb all you want.  But if you’re that confused, walk around, take your clothes off.  And just walk around, look at yourself.  Am I right?  [crowd applauds & cheers]  Talk to me!  [crowd applauds louder]

Williams:               Hallelujah.  That’s right.

Jennings:              If you don’t know what you are, go in the mirror, strip down.

Williams:               Strip down.

Jennings:              Look at yourself.

Williams:               Look at yourself.  Amen.

Jennings:              You men.  You boys.  Who say “I’m a girl inside”.  That’s Satan inside of you!

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You young lady that says you’re a man inside.

Williams:               Man inside.

Jennings:              That’s Satan inside of you.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Because God is designing for straightness.  And Satan designs the altered change to ourselves.  All the wisdom and the knowledge and the perfect infallible understanding of God’s creation.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              God says –

Williams:               And said the Lord, build the house.  Amen.

Jennings:              Hallelujah.  He’s building it.

Williams:               He’s building it.

Jennings:              Except the Lord, do this.

Williams:               They labour in vain that build it.

Jennings:              Wait a minute.  What is the word?

Williams:               They labour in vain that build it.

Jennings:              We’re not competing with nobody.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              We’re not worried about work somebody else is doing.

Williams:             No.

Jennings:              We focus on the work of God.  So our labour don’t be in vain.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Except the Lord build the house.

Williams:               They labour in vain that build it.

Jennings:              Now do you understand the importance of joining the way the word of God requires?

Williams:               That’s it.

Jennings:              So your labour don’t be in vain.

Williams:               In vain.

Jennings:              So your work don’t be in vain.  So what you venture out to accomplish don’t be in vain.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              You don’t want to walk around wasting time.

Williams:               No.

Jennings:              There’s too much out there you could be doing.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              I ask you, what else except the Lord do?

Williams:               Except the Lord keep the city.

Jennings:              What?

Williams:               Except the Lord keep the city.

Jennings:              Except the Lord keep, protect, cover, watch over, look out for.

Williams:               The city.

Jennings:              The city!

Williams:               The watchman waketh but in vain.

Jennings:              Now, the watchman waketh in vain.  God make a preacher a watchman.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              But he only can watch what God allows him to see.

Williams:               It’s true.

Jennings:              So if you are out here on your own trying to be some leader, some overseer, some preacher, some elder, some bishop, but yet God hasn’t put you as a watchman.  You only can see what’s in front of you.

Williams:               What’s in front of you.

Jennings:              All your vision don’t go no further than your experience.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              But when God did it –

Williams:               That’s it.

Jennings:              When God’s eyes is in your eyes.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              God said I saw four beasts.

Williams:               Full of eyes.  Glory to God.

Jennings:              Full of eyes.

Williams:               Before –

Jennings:              Before!

Williams:               And behind.

Jennings:              And behind!

Williams:               And behind.

Jennings:              Better give me another revelation, quickly.

Williams:               Amen. Book of Revelation, chapter 4.  And we’ll start reading at verse 5.

Jennings:              Come on, [?]

Williams:               And out of the throne proceeded lightning –

Jennings:              Begin at verse one.

Williams:               At verse one.

Jennings:              Be quick!

Williams:               After this, I looked and, behold, a door was opened in Heaven.

Jennings:              A door.  Look at the titles that God had.  Look at the titles that God had.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              What do you do with that door?  Open and close it.

Williams:               Close.

Jennings:              Jesus said I am the what?

Williams:               The door.

Jennings:              What was opened in Heaven?

Williams:               A door was opened in Heaven.

Jennings:              That means something was revealed to him.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              God wanted John to see something.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              A door was revealed.  Something, God was making something known to John.  And?

Williams:               And the first voice which I heard was, as it were –

Jennings:              The first voice was, as it were –

Williams:               – as of a trumpet talking with me.

Jennings:              Well, look at here.  Trumpet.  That was to get your attention.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              That’s what causes you to stand up.  And get up.  And wake up.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              It is written lift up your voice as a trumpet.

Williams:               A trumpet.

Jennings:              So if it came as a trumpet, that means God wants to show the apostles something.  Because it is written, lift up their voice as a trumpet and show my people –

Williams:               Right.

Jennings:              – their transgressions.  So God was about to show the apostle something.

Williams:               All right.  Which said come up hither.

Jennings:              Come up hither.

Williams:               And I will show thee things.

Jennings:              And I will show thee things.

Williams:               Which must be hereafter.

Jennings:              It’s got to happen.

Williams:               And immediately —

Jennings:              Right away.

Williams:               I was in the spirit.

Jennings:              That’s what’s missing in church.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              That’s what’s missing in church now.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Hardly no spirit now.

Williams:               No spirit.

Jennings:              All you got is racketeering, Christian comedy clubs.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              Praise dancers.  Preachers now want to get in the hip-hop world.

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              They call First Church a primitive church.  That’s all right.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              If it feel like a caveman and get into the cave, that’d be all right.

Williams:               That’d be all right.

Jennings:              Let me stay primitive.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Listen.

Williams:               And immediately I was in the spirit.

Jennings:              And?

Williams:               And behold the throne was set in Heaven.

Jennings:              How many did he see up there?

Williams:               And one –

Jennings:              How many?

Williams:               One.

Jennings:              One.

Williams:               One.

Jennings:              Listen [?]!

Williams:               One.

Jennings:              How many?

Williams:               One.

Jennings:              Yeah.  You didn’t got two gods, three gods, four gods.  Mormons, they’ve got five gods.

Williams:               Yeah.

Jennings:              It’s hard enough to obey one.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              Don’t go giving me two more, don’t go giving me four more.  Please don’t give me five more.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              Just one is tough enough.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              If you obey what he says, you’ll be crying sometimes.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              If you start, if you start doing what he says, you start, you’ll find yourself going without food.

Williams:               Yes, you will.

Jennings:              Start fasting.  Denying your gut.

Williams:               Oh yeah.

Jennings:              Why?  You’re just trying to do what he says.  All right.

Williams:               And one sat on the throne.

Jennings:              And what?

Williams:               And he that sat –

Jennings:              And they that sat.

Williams:               And he that sat –

Jennings:              Still stuck with one.

Williams:               He.

Jennings:              And he that sat.

Williams:               Was to look upon like jasper and a sardine stone.

Jennings:              Was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.  John, look at John the apostle.  Blessed be the name of God looking right in Heaven.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              But it took God to put him in the spirit, to do it, because Heaven is not made for carnality.

Williams:               Right.

Jennings:              Now, let me just interject this Revelation then.  If it takes the spirit to look into Heaven –

Williams:               Into Heaven.

Jennings:              – then you know nothing carnal can get into Heaven.

Williams:               That’s right.  That’s right.

Jennings:              You gotta be put in the spirit just to look in there.

Williams:               Just to look in there.

Jennings:              You know no flesh and blood that’s going there!

Williams:               No, no.

Jennings:              Hey?

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              If you got to be put in the spirit just to look in there –

Williams:               Just to look in there.

Jennings:              – and those explain what’s there –

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              – you got to bet there ain’t no flesh and blood goin’.

Williams:               And immediately I was in the spirit.

Jennings:              What?!

Williams:               I was in the spirit.

Jennings:              I was in the spirit!

Williams:               And, behold, a throne was set in Heaven.

Jennings:              And behold a throne was in Heaven.

Williams:               And one sat on the throne.

Jennings:              One sat on the throne.

Williams:               And he that sat –

Jennings:              He that sat.

Williams:               Was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

Jennings:              Was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

Williams:               And there was a rainbow round about the throne.

Jennings:              There was a rainbow round about the throne.

Williams:               In sight like unto an emerald.

Jennings:              Uh heh.

Williams:               And round about the throne –

Jennings:              I’m going to believe John.  You folks that can’t even see round the corner, they won’t believe you.

Williams:               No, no.

Jennings:              And you tell me you got three gods and you can’t even see round the corner.

Williams:               That’s right.

Jennings:              And you see three gods.  Here’s a man looking right into Heaven.

Williams:               Heaven.

Jennings:              I believe everything he says.

Williams:               Amen.

Jennings:              Someone says why is that?  Because all scriptures are given by the inspiration of God.

Williams:               That’s right.

The sermon continues, but nothing else raises any issues under the codes.  At the conclusion of the program, there is the following advisory:

The preceding was a paid program brought to you by the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  The opinions expressed were solely those of the sponsor, First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Appendix B

The Complaint

The CBSC received the following complaint on September 10, 2016 via its webform:

Station Name:                      HopeTV (CIIT)

Program Name:      Truth of God

Date:                          2016/09/10

Time:                          9:00-10:00 EDT

Specific Concern:    Homophobic hate speech.  Specifically, the preacher, addressing the issue of transgender washroom access, called members of the U.S. legislature “faggots” which I believe, in this context, serves to encourage discrimination, and constitutes hate speech.  This is clearly NOT the “Truth of God,” and IS deeply offensive to a majority of Canadians.  Also, probably illegal.

Broadcaster Response

The station responded on September 14 with the following:

We are replying to your complaint regarding the program Truth of God aired on HopeTV last September 10th 2016 at 8:00am CT.  We have reviewed the episode in question and wish to provide the following response.

Truth of God is a weekly religious program hosted by Pastor Gino Jennings, head of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Philadelphia, PA.  Pastor Jennings delivers the Word of God in a very passionate and direct way.  He believes that the fundamental teachings of the Church should not be changed despite the prevailing modern views.

Some of the many modern views that Pastor Jennings is against due to his religious beliefs include:  same-sex marriage, divorce, dancers in the pulpit and preachers who turn into hip-hop artists.  He believes that these acts are “ungodly”.  During the episode in question Pastor Jennings spent a great deal of time criticizing legislators over transgender bathroom access.  In his opinion, it took legislators no time to pass such law while equal rights for the black community took so many years to accomplish.

We recognize that Pastor Jennings’ poor choice of words when he referred to some US congressmen as “faggots” was offensive.  We sincerely apologize that this was missed in our screening process.  This portion of the sermon should have been edited out, per our guidelines.  We have given strict instructions that said language will be removed should the same episode air again in the future.

As a multi-faith broadcaster, HopeTV provides equal opportunity to various faith groups to express their religious beliefs on air.  We do not judge the validity of their claim based on a single-faith perspective.  Please also note the following viewer advisory that was aired at the outset of the program in question:

“In accordance with the requirements of its CRTC License, HopeTV makes airtime available for purchase by faith groups and reviews such programs to ensure they comply with CRTC policies and our Code of Ethics.  Otherwise, their opinions are their own.  No endorsement by HopeTV is implied.”

We are hopeful this response addresses your concerns.

Additional Correspondence

The complainant was dissatisfied and submitted his Ruling Request via the webform on September 15.  He added only the following at that time:

Obviously, this is completely unacceptable.  Sorry.

On September 16, following the CBSC’s email acknowledging receipt of his Ruling Request, he wrote a lengthier email to the CBSC:

Thank you for your timely correspondence.

I certainly understand that an appropriate review of this nature takes time, and am confident that your organization will accord due process in a timely and efficient manner.

I am alarmed, however, to see in my upcoming ROGERS TV listings for 2016/09/17, listed again is Truth of God, the offending title, with no further clarification.  Am I to expect a re-broadcast of this previously offensive material, or will I be subjected to entirely new obscenities?  In either case, would I create a new complaint, or seek to amend the existing one?

I wonder if it would perhaps be simpler for CIIT-DT to refrain from broadcasting ANY further instances of this content until such time time as the CBSC’s review is completed.

I will of course defer to your expert opinion in this matter.

The CBSC explained that the station is allowed to continue airing the program because the CBSC has yet to rule on the matter and not all episodes necessarily contain the same offending language.  The complainant wrote back again on September 21:

Thank you once again for your timely correspondence.

I certainly understand that the CBSC operates on a complaint-driven basis, and is not responsible for mass censorship.  I am concerned, however, that in this case, it appears that this station (CIIT-DT), as referenced in their aforementioned letter to me, is violating their own policy by airing programming, for pay, that they themselves have not vetted.  This places me in the position of doing their job for them without compensation or consent.  In this case they are violating the trust of the Canadian people, supporting hate speech for profit, and committing theft.

Admittedly, I am no expert on CRTC licensing requirements, policies, or code of ethics, but this would appear to be incongruent.

Thank you for your time, and seemingly unending patience in this matter.

The CBSC confirmed receipt of that email, but did not make any further comments about his concerns.  The complainant wrote back again on September 22:

Thank you very much for your highly professional assistance in this matter.  I confidently and patiently await the results of your review.

Please convey my best wishes to your colleagues at the CBSC.