Updated: Oct 24, 2022
The political landscape of Canada is quickly changing into some new Trudeuaism utopia where the ability to think and formulate independent thought is now considered hatred. God forbid if an individual feels convicted to go against a medical mandate or have an opinion that may offend someone in this so-called new Canadian context.
It would seem that with the passing of many laws through both Federal and Provincial legislative assemblies, there are two common threads. First, you can believe whatever you wish, unless you are a Christian. If you are a Christian, you are a bigot, hatemonger, Islamophobic, anti-vaxxer and an enemy to Canada. Second, you must accept the views and choices of others. Failing to do so will result in penalties and character assassination. These two threads always blend, and we have a great example with the current LGBTQ movement. The movement fought for tolerance, equality and acceptance, but now denies these rights for others and demand those with deeply rooted religious convictions deny who they are and conform to a society that hates them.
This is where we are today. We claim to celebrate “free speech” but, it is not free. It is one-sided, and if examined closely, it is apparent that if speech goes against the common narrative, it is deemed hatred. Ironically, one of the most outstanding political leaders of this era, Winston Churchill, once said
“Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”
If a Christian declares marriage is between a man and a woman, someone may demand that Christian be charged with a crime. It does not matter if the accuser has taken the Scripture out of context; if they feel they are being denied the right of love, a whirlwind of legal issues surface. Sadly, if someone says, “all Christians should be shot for their bigotry,” such a person is applauded for being brave and speaking out. Here is a perfect example. Recently someone spoke out on social media regarding consuming horse meat. In response, a well-known artist/television personality expressed on her Twitter account a disgusting comment that the person “can ***** your own eye socket,” and nothing was done about it. Cancel culture seems to have taken a day off. Why? It seems free speech is relative and based on the current trend of social norms.
This is why Christians have been expressing great concern over the recently passed Hate Speech – Conversion Bills (C-4, C-6). Now, many slanderous things have been said about Christians who have caution with these pieces of legislation, so let’s just deal with the elephant in the room. A true believer in Christ, whom the Holy Spirit has regenerated in no way, would feel it is acceptable to force upon any human being, created in the image of God, demeaning and hurtful practices. In fact, we can look at the Residential School system [Roman Catholicism] and see the catastrophic failure of “forced conversion” tactics and demanding a person align with specific belief systems based upon human effort. So naturally, forcing any person, specifically a minor, to undergo traumatic “therapy” is wrong.
However, what is also wrong are blanket statements that do not carefully articulate legislation to protect one group by attacking another. Since the legislation is grey in many areas, the precedent is set and would make it illegal for “Christians” or another faith-based group to function under their specific convictions. For example, sitting down and conversing with someone or preparing religious sermons about such issues can be manipulated or defined as attack not love. The very conscience of a person for the sake of another is equally violated, and this is a dangerous spiral.
Now, we must understand, hate speech and conversion therapy legislation are closely tied together. So, we need to understand the one to realize the effects of the other. What is hate speech? Chief Justice Dickson described it in 1990 as
“Hatred is predicated on destruction, and hatred against identifiable groups therefore thrives on insensitivity, bigotry, and destruction of both the target group and of the values of our society. Hatred in this sense is a most extreme emotion that belies reason; an emotion that, if exercised against members of an identifiable group, implies that those individuals are to be despised, scorned, denied respect and made subject to ill-treatment on the basis of group affiliation” [Source]
So, if a person were to speak about sexual sin, in any form, and the need of repentance of such sin; according to this definition, showed hate towards an identifiable group, were insensitive, showed bigotry, and borderline tried through the material, speech or other – potential conversion therapy.
Let’s dig deeper and look at the Criminal Code of Canada about these Hate Speech laws,
319 (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction [Source]
Do not overlook “any public place”. Some may feel this is a street corner or a mall, but the code describes a public place, “any place where the public has access as of right or by invitation” [Source]
Because of the legislation, a place of worship can be deemed public and accountable to Section 319(2). This subsection goes further by making it illegal to communicate statements other than private conversation wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group. [Source]
So let us pause here. We need to ask the question if someone were to come into a place of worship and listen to a sermon on sexual sin, in any form, and lodge a complaint, can a charge of hate speech be placed. Possibly and even if it is thrown out, the cost financially, emotionally, and spiritually will be paid. Interestingly, if a statue, building, or public space is defaced in any way targeting any other group, religious or not, hate laws are often applied. Yet, when churches were burned down across the country, Bibles burned, Christians assaulted, no such legislation is applied. So clearly, the attack is one-sided and a reason for concern.
Now, placing the hate aside for a moment, let us look at Bill C-6/Bill C-4. House of Commons passed the bill, with most Parliamentary legislative assembly voting yes. However, there is great concern that this bill is so broad, it will no doubt impact the freedom of expression and religion, as stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Sadly, the Supreme Court of Canada has already rejected constitutional challenges to hate speech legislation within the Criminal Code, as well there have been Human Rights challenge rejections. Why? They deemed this restriction justifiable under section one of the Charter (use link from the previous reference). So, the groundwork has already been established. Trouble lurks around the corner when these broad statements are applied to sermons and faith-based ministry.
Let’s go back to the Bill for a moment where it is written “any service, practice or treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, gender identity to one that matches the sex assigned at birth, or to repress or reduce non heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behaviours”. [Source]
Fair is fair, and political leaders, justices and writers of the legislation expresses it will not criminalize private conversations in which teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders or doctors and other connected vocations. But there again, there is broad language. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada reported in their article Bill C-4 to Ban Conversion Therapy,
“In a media Q and A on previous Bill C-8 in March, Justice Minister Lametti was asked if it would be legal for religious leaders to speak about homosexuality. He replied that if it’s an open-ended and exploratory conversation, it is not prohibited for religious leaders, parents or others. He went on to say: “What is covered by this legislation are practices that attempt to change one’s orientation towards a predefined goal.”
Now, we see why we needed to understand “hate speech.” The so-called exemption for pastors, ministry leaders understand it is still open for an exploratory conversation. That sounds like legal talk without being a lawyer, “it is open for debate, and case law.” However since sermons are in the “public forum” and youth groups, small groups, and other ministries often deal with sexuality, who is to say Christian literature (BIBLE) will not be deemed promoting hatred. More so, does giving away tracts or receiving material fall within the other broad terminology in the bill?
Thank you for sticking to it this far, because here is why Canada needs more Billy’s. A Billy, according to a recent article released by The Gospel Coalition Canada, uses the term to represent a pastor who is willing to go against the grain of modern society. In this article, written by James Seward, he shares the following,
“Suppose a law passes in Canada that labels certain kinds of preaching as “hate speech” and thus illegal. Virtually all Canadian evangelical churches are appalled and oppose the new law… Meanwhile, there’s a pastor with a history of divisiveness that has hurt our fragile cooperation – we’ll call him Billy. Billy mocks our Canadian commitment to process, calling his fellow pastors cowards. He conducts an outdoor service, invites the press, and preaches a jarringly candid sermon that defies the law” Well, Canada has passed such a law. Canada for years have been passing such laws while the men called by God to lead his church were fast asleep. Taking their pay and shepherding but never addressing the attacks of the night watch. Canada needed faithful men of God to stay awake and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, what they got were sleeping disciples and watchmen not worth their weight to sound the alarm. Let’s be fair; political leaders are not concerned with state churches. Canada has enough pulpits filled with male figureheads without a backbone, and the response over COVID shows they cannot and will not preach with fire and conviction even if it defies the law when such bills are passed. Canada needs Billy because the Christian message has always been against the kingdoms of this world. Throughout history, Billy spoke up when required. Daniel was a Billy, Ezekiel was a Billy, Paul, Peter, James, all Billy. Hus, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Wurmbrand, and Bonhoeffer are all Billy. Never in the history of the Christian church was the message of Christ acceptable to a sinful culture. So why do so many men try to say otherwise?
The Christian man is to stand firm, with the sword of the Spirit and the belt of truth buckled around his waist (Eph 6:14). They are men who are taught the way of God, who rest on His faithfulness with an undivided heart so that only fear Christ, not man (Ps 119:160). The Christian man is to preach the word of God always – in season and out of season. To reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:2). The Christian man is not to be ashamed of Christ or his words in this adulterous and sinful generation because he who is, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of him when he comes to the Father (Mark 8:38).
Canada needs more Billy’s. Men who will preach with thunder, preach with authority, preach in the pulpit, and preach in the prison cell. Canada needs Billy to lead the way and show Christ’s followers that man will pass laws, but it is CHRIST to whom we give our complete allegiance. Canada needs Billy because it is clear, Canada has made God its enemy, and though they (politicians and other enemies of the Cross) may try to silence the church, attack the church, and even close the church; the Christian is not moved by site – but by faith. Regardless what a godless civil magistrate passes, the true follower will preach sin, hell, righteousness, repentance, forgiveness and his return, even if it offends society or hirelings in various churches cross the land. The Christian knows for sure, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ (Matt 16:17-19).
So many have failed in their exegetical understanding of Romans 13. We can see now how those weak men shifted their positions with COVID and will shift them now. We have seen by this article, hate speech and conversion therapy are set in stone and are another golden image of Babylon. The men who failed to rise and stand with Christ with the usurping of authority over the church these past twenty months will bow yet again. So Canada needs Billy because it is the Billy that will be shepherding the church forward either above or below ground [in the underground church]. God has not forsaken his church. There is a faithful remnant, like that of Israel, and what we must do is support Billy. Go to a church where Billy is pastoring, join a church where disciples of Christ are maturing, get trained up in the word and be ready to stand. May we say with Paul, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith'” (Rom 1:15-17).
Soli Deo Gloria,