The Gagging of Canadian Christians: Bill C-415
by Rev. Royal M. Hamel
Canada at this very moment is in the middle of a moral crisis. For many years now gay activists with the help of the media have systematically undermined the traditional Christian view of homosexuality. Historically, Canadians, influenced by Christianity and Judaism, and more recently by Islam and Sikhism have believed that homosexual practice was immoral. But very soon it may be a criminal offense in Canada to preach, teach, or publish negative commentary about homosexuality.
On May 29, 2002 Svend Robinson's private members initiative, Bill C-415, passed second reading in the House of Commons. This bill if passed into law would in effect criminalize public criticism of homosexuality (certain exceptions supposedly being allowed) and produce a serious chilling effect on the public discussion of this serious moral issue. Gwen Landolt, Vice-President of REAL Women of Canada is convinced that Bill C-415 will become law, and she sees this as a watershed issue for Canadians on the same level of importance as the imposition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that Svend Robinson's hate speech bill is passed into law. Under this new legislation it is virtually certain that pastors and priests who dare to preach against homosexuality will be charged with the crime of hate. They will be in danger of spending two years in prison, and will carry a criminal record for the rest of their life. The same fate could befall any person who writes a letter to the editor of a newspaper or publishes an article that is in any way critical of homosexuality. Furthermore it will be far too dangerous to publicly read certain Bible passages that condemn homosexual practice, and in fact the Bible itself may be banned for being homophobic literature.
Some will mistakenly conclude that this is alarmist. But Christian leaders like Gwen Landolt and others see that Christians are facing a very real danger. In fact, Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of Canada Family Action Coalition, says, "If this law passes, within six months to a year we will see Christians in jail."
Given the seriousness of this unprecedented attack on religious freedom can we assume that Canadian Christians will wake up to their danger and seek to preserve freedom while there is still time? Alas, it is highly unlikely. Tragically, faulty theologies and mindsets literally bind Christians to continue in passive mode, and so, to collaborate with their own demise.
One of these theologies claims that Christians must not get involved in politics. Proponents of this view believe that political involvement is unspiritual, and no part of a Christian's mandate. But is it not clear to everybody that issues like homosexuality and abortion were moral and spiritual issues long before the government tried to claim them as political issues? Did not Jesus call us to be salt and light so that the putrefaction of sin in society would be held back? Can we in good conscience conclude that killing and sexual perversion have nothing to do with biblical morality? The Christian is a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, but as well an earthly one, and when we ignore our duty to act as responsible citizens we do a disservice to God, and we sin against our neighbor.
Tragically, there is a real possibility that believers will sleep right through the present moral crisis. For if Christians in the past thirty years were unwilling to stir themselves up to confront government sanctioned murder as in the case of abortion, will they be any more willing to wake up and protest government sanctioned perversion of sexuality and marriage? Will they even be willing to speak in protest to guard their right to speak biblical truth? Or will Canadian Christians be muzzled in silence?
The hour is five to twelve for Christians in Canada. The immoral revolution marches directly toward them. Legislation is prepared and poised to muzzle pulpits, pens and yes, even Bibles. But there is still time to resist, still time to fight. Yes prayer is fundamental, but believers must as well talk to those who make the laws.
At this moment Bill C-415 is still in the hands of the Justice Committee. Christians who want to preserve our religious freedom should bombard members of this committee with e-mail, letters and phone calls. Your letter to the editor of your local paper protesting this loss of freedom could do wonders. Finally, you might strike a blow for continued freedom by personally calling your Federal MP and demanding that they vote against Bill C-415.
How much time is there? We don't know for sure, but the bill will be debated this Fall and could well be law before Christmas.
The time is far advanced. The revolutionaries are coming, coming with muzzles and gags. They despise God's truth on homosexuality. They will shred like a rag freedom of speech, and freedom of religion to silence that truth.
May Christians everywhere wake up from deadly sleep and take a stand to preserve present freedoms.
For nobody, absolutely nobody, has any right to gag Christians from speaking any part of God's truth in Canada's public square.
Royal Hamel makes his home in Guelph, Ontario. He is an occasional free-lance writer.
"When the principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then the battle is your calling, and peace has become sin. You must at the price of dearest peace lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy with all the fire of your faith." Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920
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