Polygamy charges have no bearing on moral advice, Blackmore says

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives him the right to live his religion, B.C. man says

The Globe and Mail, Canada/September 10, 2009

Winston Blackmore says charges of polygamy against him have not undermined his authority to offer advice on moral issues.

"I have been a Minister for 30 years now and am just as qualified as any other Minister of 30 years to answer questions directed to myself," Mr. Blackmore stated in a new posting on his blog at sharethelight.ca.

The Globe and Mail earlier this week reported that Mr. Blackmore was offering online advice to women in abusive relationships. Limiting his response to physical abuse, he suggested victims of "hitting, hurting, bruising, hair pulling and so on" should contact police and find a counsellor to fix the relationship, help children who may have seen the abuse and help the abuser.

Nancy Mereska, who has campaigned against polygamy, was startled by Mr. Blackmore offering moral advice. All polygamous relationships are abusive, she said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Blackmore in his posting reiterated his response to the outstanding polygamy charges against him. Police allege Mr. Blackmore, who lives in Bountiful. B.C., had 25 wives and 101 children. He is charged with polygamy with 19 wives. He is currently waiting for a court ruling on a procedural challenge to the criminal charges.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives him the right to live his religion, Mr. Blackmore said.

"I read that I have the right to enjoy all those privileges guaranteed by our Charter, and when I am denied those rights, I naturally feel that someone is involved in discrimination and religious persecution," he said.

"Just suppose for a moment that, if the federal government made a law against any other religion, just as the one made against our faith in 1892, would discrimination and persecution of that religion then become right in Canada?" he also stated.

Mr. Blackmore offered his remarks in respond to a question asking why he is qualified to give moral advice. He has not responded to a request for an interview.

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