Often cultural and political analysts will look at what is happening in Europe and our surrounding neighbors for a forecast of what will take place here in America within a few years. So far, as it relates to health-care, civil law, and religious freedom, the outcome has not been pleasant. As the European government expands and implements socialistic policies, the U.S. seems to think we should follow suit. I disagree.
Just as troubling for me is the state of religious freedom in Canada. Our neighbors to the north have been restricting religious freedoms for the last decade. And within the last few years there has been an aggressive movement to not just restrict, but to criminalize speech and actions that are otherwise protected in a free society. An example of this is the case of William Whatcott being convicted of a “hate crime” for distributing flyers opposing homosexuality. A recent article explains:
“On Wednesday, the court upheld the conviction of activist William Whatcott, who found himself in hot water after distributing flyers regarding the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality throughout the Saskatoon and Regina neighborhoods in 2001 and 2002. ‘The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,’ one flyer that was found to be in violation stated, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9…Another flyer, entitled Keep Homosexuality Out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools, was written in response to the recommendation of the Saskatoon School Board that homosexuality be included in school curriculum.”
Here’s a former homosexual, now a Christian activist sharing his personal convictions by handing out flyers and he is convicted. The disconcerting part of this case is that if the Canadian courts can convict this man of a hate crime for sharing his views on a flyer, how long before they consider sharing the Bible itself as a hate crime and make it illegal? It’s not too far-fetched a conclusion.
Any cultural observer would admit that Canada has become more hostile to Christianity and the religious convictions of professing believers. Just recently, Canada’s New Democrat Party leader made the comment that opposing homosexuality “goes against Canadian values, it goes against Canadian law…” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said he wanted a grant to a group that provides humanitarian aid and services in Uganda stopped because of the group’s belief that homosexuality was wrong. Such a picture of tolerance.
Forgetting Canadian law for a moment, making the statement that opposing homosexuality goes against Canadian values is erroneous. It’s an attempt to assert that every Canadian supports homosexuality, something the media and liberal lawmakers are attempting to do here in the U.S. The idea is that if they make it “appear” that everyone supports homosexuality then anyone who doesn’t will be considered un-American, or in this case un-Canadian.
Going back to the Whatcott incident; Joe Carter, writing at The Gospel Coalition, reports facts from this case that should trouble every American and every Canadian for that matter. Carter writes:
“The ruling also states that suppression of ‘hate speech’—such as claiming that homosexual behavior is immoral—is so important that it justifies infringing on religious freedom and provides a basis for a ‘reasonable limit on freedom of religion and is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.’ The court also explained that truth was no defense since ‘Truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech, and not all truthful statements must be free from restriction.’”
Did you get that? What the Canadian court said was that adhering to a belief that homosexuality is wrong as part of a religious system can now be classified as “hate speech;” punishable as a crime. Furthermore, claiming that it is a religious freedom or free speech right to state the truth of your convictions can also be classified as “hate speech.”
In other words, the rights of homosexuals now trump all others; even Christians teaching the truth of God’s Word. The logical conclusion here is that pastors can now be prosecuted for simply preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality.
The Alliance Defending Freedom records a small victory for free speech in light of this case as it appears at least one statute was struck down in Canada’s Human Rights Code. But it is indeed a small victory as the overall tenor of this case is foreboding at best.
The takeaway from this is that events like this are happening right now in America. There is a concerted effort to not just limit free speech and religious freedoms, but to elevate the “rights” of minority groups like homosexuals and transgender people above all others. This is the ultimate end of “anti-bullying” laws that equate changeable aspects of a person, such as sexual orientation, with permanent aspects such as race or nationality.
It’s not absurd to conclude that unless we alter our course there is coming a day when Christians stating the truth of God’s Word and preaching from the Bible will be in jeopardy of prosecution. Already we’re seeing persecution, prosecution is all that’s left.
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About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.