Religious freedom in Canada is seriously compromised and the assault on Clergy has begun. Today Bishop Fred Henry of Alberta is in the process of being prosecuted for expressing Biblical teachings to his flock. If the government will be so bold as to prosecute a Catholic Bishop it may certainly place you or myself on trial. We must act now to protect religious freedom and preserve the definition of marriage.
In January Bishop Fred Henry wrote a letter to his parishioners stating 'since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to . . . curtail them in the interests of the common good,''. Two individuals filed complaints and now the Alberta Human Rights Commission is investigating the Bishop. The Bishop believes this is an attempt to 'shut the churches out of this important debate on redefining marriage''.
This threat of prosecution is taking place before the Government redefines marriage and makes Bill C-38 law. All law schools teach the Biblical principle that 'the law is a teacher?. If Bill C-38 becomes law it will teach our society to further disallow Biblical teaching on morality. In addition the new law will produce a generation of children inundated with teachings on same sex relations. A plethora of same sex marriage text books such as 'mom and Mum are getting Married? are already printed and being taught. It only goes to reason that prosecutions will increase exponentially if Bill C-38 is passed.
The proposed law places Clergy and people of faith at great risk and offers no real protection. Bill C-38 puts forward a guise of protection for Clergy; however, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Federal Parliament cannot implement any protection. On December 9th, 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada advised Prime Minister Martin that protecting Clergy from being forced to marry same sex couples is ?ultra vires parliament?, beyond parliament's jurisdiction. The Prime Minister knows that the proposed protection is not worth the paper it is written on.
In addition, the proposed legislation provides no protection for religious facilities, church workers, congregation members or any other Canadians from being forced to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies. Several examples such as the Knights of Columbus, in B.C., Printer Scot Brockie in Toronto, Marriage Commissioners in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and several others prove the lack of religious freedom for your congregation members. It is very possible that your Church facility, workers or even yourself will be forced, in the near future, to participate in activities that violate your conscience.
It is our obligation to take a stand against this assault on religious freedom. Some believe it is hopeless however we know that ?if God be for us who can be against us?? The vote on Bill C-38 is very close and your efforts could make the difference. I would like to ask you to do three things:
1. Pray. The great preacher J. Sidlow Baxter once said 'men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.?
2. Teach. We must educate our parishioners to be good citizens and participate in democracy. On average just 50 committed workers help elect a Members of Parliament. Are there fifty righteous among us? If so then Canada will be healed. People also need to be taught biblical principles to defend marriage - we encourage you to do so.
3. Take Action. Canada's needs to hear from her spiritual leaders. In fact, one ethnic community leader recently asked Defend Marriage Coalition representatives, "where is the Caucasian Church on this issue"? It was an interesting perspective coming from ethnic leaders - the expectation is that the Church should provide leadership.
A PDF document (http://www.familyaction.org/PDFs/dM_CLERGYBRIEFING.pdf) has been produced by The Defend Marriage Coalition and provides suggestions for specific and meaningful actions that the spiritual leaders of Canada can take. As we know, ?faith without works is dead?? and in this instance our work is desperately needed towards turning the moral tide in Canada.
I urge you to stand with CFAC and The Defend Marriage Coalition to protect marriage for our children and generations to come. We have the responsibility and are obligated to not allow the cornerstone of civilization, the pillar of society and the foundation of the Church to be redefined. We have the opportunity, the power and a responsibility to lead.
Dr. Charles McVety,
President, Canada Family Action Coalition
Canada Family Action Coalition - You Can Make a Difference!
Visit our website at http://www.familyaction.org