Swaggart earns swipe from TV watchdog

Ottawa, Canada - Comments made by televangelist Jimmy Swaggart about homosexuals violated the code of ethics of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, an industry watchdog said yesterday.

The comments were made on a Sept. 12 program that was broadcast by Omni 1 in Toronto, and a complaint was later filed with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

Swaggart's ministry, based in Baton Rouge, La., also received complaints from gay groups over his remarks, in which he said he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.

"I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said in the broadcast.

He also remarked politicians and lawmakers who are undecided about same-sex marriage "all oughta have to marry a pig and live with him forever."


About a week after the broadcast Swaggart apologized and said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people.

He said the expression was figurative and not meant to harm.

"If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology," he told The Associated Press.

The panel investigating the complaint said the station was entitled to broadcast Swaggart's views against same-sex marriage and his criticism of lawmakers who fail to take a stand on the issue.

But it found the television station in breach of the CAB's human rights and religious programming clauses "on the basis of Swaggart's suggestion that killing someone would be the proper way for one to respond to homosexuality."

The panel described the debate over same-sex marriage as "more than legitimate" and "democratically essential."


"The negativity was so visceral that Swaggart asserted that, despite his own religiosity, he would feel justified in killing the man and in lying to his God that the victim had simply died," the panel said in its decision.

"The problem of Swaggart's language is, in a sense, exacerbated by the fact that he, as a religious figure, can be presumed to set an example for his community. It would, therefore, be easy for someone to infer that this might be the proper way for a Christian of this sect (or possibly of any sect) to respond to homosexuality."