Wildrose candidate defends his 'religious view' on gays
A candidate for Alberta's Wildrose party who wrote that gays would suffer in hell says he is not intolerant, and defended his right to uphold his "personal religious view."
Allan Hunsperger raised eyebrows when a blog from June of last year -- which was recently taken down -- warned that instead of accepting gays and lesbians for who they are, they should be warned that their lifestyle will result in an eternity in hell.
"You will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering," Hunsperger said in the blog entry titled "Born this Way."
It was styled as a rebuttal to Lady Gaga's song of the same name, which is viewed by many as a gay anthem encouraging people to be true to themselves.
Hunsperger, who had not spoken publicly about the blog posting, told reporters at a party gathering Monday that he was merely expressing his personal religious views.
"I love people and everybody," he told reporters. "I have no intolerance about anybody but I do have a personal religious view."
A day earlier Hunsperger had issued a statement saying his comments were "my own personal religious views and were given in the capacity as a church leader."
"I fully support equality for all people, and condemn any intolerance based on sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic," he said in the statement.
Earlier on Monday, Hunsperger, who is running in the riding of Edmonton South-West, avoided a CTV reporter and left in a waiting van following a party photo opportunity.
Meanwhile Alberta's Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford said the blog was proof that the Wildrose party's social views would be dangerous for Alberta.
On Sunday, Redford told reporters she was stunned that a candidate for office could hold those kinds of views and warned that they represent a broader base within the Wildrose party.
"If we have people like this, making these sorts of comments in Alberta, I think it's absolutely wrong," Redford said when asked about the post.
"The fact that these people think that's a legitimate perspective just absolutely blows my mind."
Still, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith refused to condemn Hunsperger for his views.
"I believe in freedom of religion and I do believe that religious people do also have an opportunity and should run for political office," she said during the gathering.
Smith also responded to Redford's warning, saying her party has no intention of introducing any legislation on moral issues if it forms government after the April 23 election.