Television evangelist Charles McVety censured for claims of gay government agenda

Charles McVetyGay Pride parades, the shooting at the Fort Hood military base and the show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" were among the topics that found evangelical Rev. Charles McVety under the recent scrutiny of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

The ruling from the CBSC, one of its harshest censures to date, concluded he repeatedly violated the Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code over comments that gays and lesbians "prey on children," while mischaracterizing the revision of the Ontario sex education curriculum, and government funding of Pride parades.

"McVety may not like homosexuality," stated the CBSC panel ruling. "That is his entitlement, but to leave the totally unsubstantiated impression that gay and lesbian adults have a predilection toward young, underage people is insidious and unacceptable."

"Word TV," broadcast on the Crossroads Television System (CTS) across Canada, is required to formally announce the decision during two forthcoming episodes. But intrigued viewers will likely have to go online to investigate what the fuss was about.

Complaints over comments made by McVety on 14 different episodes of "Word TV" from July 2009 through Feb. 2010 were submitted by one person.

The treatment of other topics by the Toronto-based president of Canada Christian College also came on the radar during the monitoring process.

Critical discussions of radical Islam in November 2009, after a Muslim army psychiatrist killed 13 and wounded 30 at the Fort Hood base in Killeen, Tx., were found by the CBSC to be a "defensible perspective" on the religion.

Similarly, arguments against the legalization of euthanasia and the suggestion Satanism and witchcraft contributed to the January 2010 hurricane in Haiti, were not ruled as violations of broadcast codes.

McVety also featured clips from the sitcom "Curb Your Enthusiasm," involving Larry David accidentally getting a drop of urine on an image of Jesus, and an awkward encounter between a Holocaust survivor and a contestant from the show "Survivor."

Complaints of copyright violation were dismissed, as McVety noted "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was broadcast by HBO Canada, which he encouraged viewers to cancel.

A comparable flurry of complaints over "gay agenda" comments made by Los Angeles-based host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, broadcast on Canadian radio, led to an unfavourable ruling a decade ago by the CBSC, an independent body established by broadcasters in 1990 to field audience concerns over radio and television programming.

While the blunt style of Dr. Laura eventually fell out of favour in Canada, the political influence of Rev. McVety has grown. Last month, he accused the federal Conservatives of helping to fast-track a bill to extend human rights protection to people who identify themselves as a different gender than the one they were born with.

A recent profile in the National Post portrayed him as a fringe character, to the right of most evangelicals, while also noting his charismatic communication skills and populist views on stifled free speech, declining morality and over-saturation of sexual images.

"I'm a small guy sitting in an office," he said.

UPDATE: "Word TV" was temporarily pulled off the air by CTS; McVety fired back at the CBSC.