Canada: Disagreement with homosexuality ‘against’ the law

February , 2013 Posted in Gay Activism, Religious Liberty |

From The Christian Institute

The leader of the opposition party in Canada has refused to apologise after suggesting that disagreeing with homosexuality goes against Canadian law.

It came after a Christian charity, which provides humanitarian aid to Africa, had its Government funding frozen because it listed homosexuality as a “sin” on its website.

The charity, which builds water wells in Uganda, holds traditional Christian beliefs about marriage but they provide aid to everyone who has need.

Last week it was told funding will continue, following a Government review of the organisation which found no problems.

But before the public funding was unfrozen, the leader of the opposition New Democratic Party criticised the charity.

Thomas Mulcair said: “These types of evangelical groups with vision that goes completely against not only Canadian values but Canadian law are getting Canadian tax-payers’ money.”

Mr Mulcair has faced calls to retract his comments, but refused to apologise.

Unapologetic Christianity

Reclaiming the stars

The death of Patrick Moore at the age of 89 on December 9 2012 brought out a host of warm tributes to one of the most colourful and eccentric mooretelevision personalities.

As the host of The Sky at Night for so much of our lifetime, and a regular contributor on television when a space related issue emerged, he became part of the furniture of contemporary culture. Following Patrick Moore, Brian Cox seems to be taking up the mantle of being the UK’s public face of astronomy. The popularity of his documentaries and the BBC Stargazing Live shows demonstrate the continuing public interest in the night sky.

Astronomical issues

God commends astronomy (Genesis 15.5). It is God who gives the stars their names (Isaiah 40.26), and we should recognise the beauty of the constellations (Job 38.31-32; Song of Songs 6.10). However, there are a number of issues for the defence of our faith that arise with astronomy.

In the ancient world, the great danger of the heavens was found in astrology. In fact, astrology and astronomy were blurred and to study the stars was also to try and find meaning for our lives in their patterns. Moses deliberately avoids the common words for sun and moon, preferring to call them ‘great lights’ (Genesis 1.14), to avoid associations of divinity. The great lights are not there to be worshipped but to be markers for the seasons. Ancient Israelites and later Christians were often sidetracked into astrology. Moses warned the Israelites not to worship the stars (Deuteronomy 4.19), and ‘divination’ is regularly condemned (Deuteronomy 18.9-11).

All things supernatural?

Astrology remains a lure in the contemporary world, but those who pursue astronomy are quick to reject it. When Patrick Moore was asked if horoscopes had any merit, he replied: ‘The only thing astrology proves is that there is one born every minute.’ But, in their dismissal of astrology, some astronomers sneak in a dismissal of all things supernatural. There is often a subtle but persuasive appeal to a materialistic view of the cosmos. Brian Cox, an amiable atheist (unlike Richard Dawkins who could be characterised as an aggressive atheist!), produced an engaging and stylish presentation on what we know about the stars in his Wonders of the Universe series. But the episodes do not simply present the facts and theories. Cox also provides a philosophy of human nature. So, in the first episode, he tells us: ‘Life in the universe will only exist for a fleeting, bright, instant in time because life is just a temporary structure on the long road from order to disorder … our true significance lies in our ability and desire to explore this beautiful universe’.

Dark matter

But this is not science. It is philosophy. It is a philosophical view founded on guesswork, because even our understanding of the material universe is incomplete. Brian Cox is well aware that our understanding of the material universe is itself limited and partial. In a 2011 interview with Nancy Atkinson, he commented: ‘What is 96% of the universe made of? We know our universe is full of something called Dark Matter and we don’t know what it is. The universe is accelerating in its expansion, which we call Dark Energy, and we don’t know what that is either’. This is honest and perceptive. But, if we need to be cautious about what exactly makes up 96% of the material universe, then surely a scientist needs to be cautious in offering a philosophy of life on the basis of our limited observations?

The Bible encourages astronomy, but challenges our interpretation: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge’ (Psalm 19.1-2). The stars speak of a universe formed in a moment of creation with the perfect conditions for stability and the existence of intelligent life. The stars point to the existence of an intelligent, loving and powerful Creator. In our witness to friends we should reclaim the stars from the paganism of astrology and the materialism of atheists. The wonder of the universe is a powerful clue to the existence of God.

Chris Sinkinson is pastor of Alderholt Chapel. He also lectures in Apologetics at Moorlands College, Christchurch, Dorset.

Notes to growing Christians

‘One thing’ Christians

Every true Christian believer would love to be a ‘better’ Christian.

In our best moments we echo the apostle Paul’s words: ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my growing christiansLord’ (Philippians 3.8). We know that the greatest possible value is given to our lives through the personal relationship we have with our Lord Jesus Christ and we long for that to deepen and strengthen, so that we become ‘partakers of the diving nature’ (2 Peter 1.4), reshaped and moulded increasingly into the likeness of Christ. But what does that look like, and how does the desire for progress translate into the reality of everyday life, in a pressured and frenetic world like ours?

God’s priorities

First, we need to be convinced that this is God’s primary concern and desire for us, so that when we are attending to our spiritual growth, we are entirely justified in devoting time and energy to God’s priorities. Not many of us live that way. We have vague and somewhat general desires to be making progress in our discipleship, but we are not always very intentional about it, or very consistent in our experience. We are told that we need to read our Bibles more and pray more regularly, to learn to trust and love Jesus more, but there is often a disconnect between these noble pious resolves and the facts of ‘real life’. We are so adept at balancing many different parts of our experience — work, home, family and friends, leisure, church, blogging and tweeting and all manner of calls on our time that we lack a unifying vision and integrating centre to all that we do and are.

Paul was a ‘one thing’ man. ‘One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3.13-14). You could never say that Paul was an introverted recluse, or that his life was not full of adventures and incredible achievement. To be a ‘one thing’ Christian is not a recipe for boredom, or narrowness, or irrelevance. It is, in fact, the secret of everything Paul experienced of God and accomplished for him. He had an objective view of himself and his earthly life from God’s perspective and, like him, it is only when we see ourselves as God sees us, that we can begin to deepen our relationship with him.

Leaving the past behind

For Paul, that meant leaving the past behind him. Much of the past included his Jewish heritage and his record of moral and spiritual achievement according to the Law of Moses. He told the Galatians that he ‘was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I’ (Galatians 1.14). Some of it was desperately wrong, as he became a persecutor of the church. But all of it was now left behind, since Paul’s right standing with God no longer depended on his efforts, but on the gift of God’s grace, as Christ’s perfect righteousness was put to Paul’s (and our) account, received through the objective fact of his atoning death on the cross and the subjective appropriation of his benefits, through faith. The past is totally covered by ‘this righteousness from God that depends on faith’ (Philippians 3.9). When we realise this, deep down in our guilt- ridden souls, the transformation begins.

No longer am I trying to live up to some external standards set by the Christians around me, by a combination of effort and duty. No longer do I imagine that God’s assessment and acceptance of me is dependent on my recent record of Christian achievement. No longer am I attempting to ingratiate myself with God, since I now know that he expects nothing of me but failure and rebellion. Now I am free to be a ‘one thing’ Christian — to set my spiritual vision and my earthly priorities on the values of God’s eternal kingdom, and so to press on towards this goal. Now I become aware that the Christ who died for me has come to live within me, through the gift of his Holy Spirit, and that the way to become a ‘better’ Christian is to let the Spirit keep filling me with all the fullness of Christ, so that the fruit of godliness is the most (super)natural product of my life-dependence on him.

David Jackman is the past President of the Proclamation Trust.

The Episcopal Church in SC: One Parish’s Tale of Two Bishops

Old St. Andrew’s Parish disaffiliates from TEC. They will follow Bishop Lawrence

By Ladson F. Mills III
Special to Virtueonline
News Analysis

The Episcopal Church failed a critical test Sunday when Old St Andrews’s Parish of Charleston voted to disaffiliate with the national church and follow Bishop Mark Lawrence. There is an old adage one should never worry about having all the answers since there is a good possibility one will not be asked all the questions. If this is accurate then the Episcopal Church clearly failed to respond meaningfully to the specific questions from concerned parish members. This election outcome was far from pre-determined. The parish was looking for a way to remain within the Episcopal Church.

Old St Andrew’s Parish (1706) is the oldest surviving church structure south of Virginia. It is a thriving parish with an ASA of 259 which in 2011 made it four times the national average. The parish recently completed a thorough seven week discernment process in preparation for a vote which would decide its future. Of the 245 ballots cast at the February 24th parish meeting seventy five per cent voted to follow Bishop Lawrence. If there was ever a chance for TEC to make a compelling case to remain in union this was the chance.

As part of the discernment process Bishop Mark Lawrence and Provisional Bishop Charles vonRosenberg were invited to address the parish. By all accounts there was a stark contrast between the two men as well as their vision for the church in South Carolina.

Both bishops were sent advance copies of questions submitted by members of the parish. Bishop Lawrence answered the questions forthrightly and directly. He followed up each answer asking if he had responded clearly to their stated concerns.

Bishop vonRosenberg expressed concern with the format and requested a change. Rector Marshall Huey accommodated the bishop’s concern.

In his prepared opening statement the provisional bishop offered an observation that was puzzling to many in attendance. He declared that if they were to look at the Anglican cycle of prayer for May 2013 his name would be the only one listed as bishop of South Carolina. One is left to surmise that the purpose of his statement is to suggest that Old St Andrew’s would be wise to follow him because a publication had afforded him the status of legitimate bishop.

He went on to say that in leaving The Episcopal Church the congregation would be unable to call a future rector who is an Episcopalian. While this might prove to be an inconvenience Old St. Andrews existed for its first one hundred plus years with priest who were not from the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Thomas Mills D.D., seventh and last of the English rectors and of whom I am a direct descendant, was a graduate of Oxford University and seemed to do well during his tenure . He was certainly not alone in his success and one suspects they will somehow manage to survive.

I was surprised by the tone of vonRosenberg’s address. I expected a charm initiative in the attempt to woo this important congregation into remaining in the national church fold. I would have expected him to present the critical a role they could play in contributing to the health and inclusion of this newly formed continuing diocese. In the images of the recently passed Valentine Season I expected they would receive a message that was loving and reassuring. If there were any roses in this presentation they were surrounded by thorns.

Those in attendance note that Bishop Lawrence answered all questions directly while the provisional bishop was perceived as obfuscating and avoiding any commitment. In this observation they were inaccurate. Bishop vonRosenberg’s answers clearly reflect the position of the church he serves. It is sad to see this man reduced to the role he must play in order to represent the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and the national church.

Perhaps the reason this hand was so poorly played is that there was no hand for him to really play. When examining the transcripts one gets the impression he does believe the arguments he is offering. When there is no bad news people have no need of the “Good News”. When there is no sin there is no need of a savior. It is hard to recruit people into an organization where cheap sentimentality is offered as a substitute for genuine love and where the primary concern seems to be control of property.

There was a time when those ordained understood their accountability to the people whom they were called to serve. Whenever I preach at ordinations I remind the ordinand that unlike other organizations their authority is granted from those whom they are called to lead. Bishops and others in authority are not unimportant, but ultimately it was those we serve who determine the success or failure of a ministry.

Mark Lawrence and Charles vonRosenberg offer visions which are vastly different.

Lawrence must continually face the people he leads and make the case for his leadership. He has gained authority by his willingness to relinquishing it. Bishop von Rosenberg must also give an account to those whom he serves. He attempted to gain control through what was regarded as subtle threats and visions of fear. His own behavior reveals that he is answerable not to the people who elected him but to 815 which props up the continuing diocese.

The Episcopal Church has deteriorated to the place where we are forced to behave in a delusional manner in order give legitimacy for our celebrations of the inane. Even with life enriching events as the transgender inclusion resolution passed by the last General Convention there is still not much to cheer about these days. The loss of Old St. Andrews reveals the inadequacy of the arguments presented by those currently leading the Episcopal Church.

Several months ago I reported that many old school liberals have accepted that the leadership from the current presiding bishop is a failed leadership. Many blame her chancellor for the failure or her for listening to the chancellor. These old school liberals are the “old churchman” whose theology is based on what they believed to be the gospel imperative. They love the institutional church because to them it is the incarnational representation of Jesus Christ in the world. When they speak of tolerance and inclusion it comes from the Gospel not the shallowness which is now offered as a substitute.

So here’s a suggestion. Read the transcript from Old St Andrew’s. Learn from this in preparation to take the church back. For those who think it’s too late for The Episcopal Church just remember the thief on the cross.

Ladson F. Mills III is a priest with over thirty years pastoral experience. He is retired and lives with his wife in South Carolina. He currently serves s Scholar in Residence at Church of Our Saviour Johns Island. He is a regular contributor to Virtueonline

Canada’s Ugly Gender Agenda


Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day…

All over the West we are witnessing moral meltdowns and gender madness. Radical activist groups and trendy elites are insisting that sexuality genderagendaand gender are entirely open-ended, and that anything goes. Indeed, gender is just a social construct anyway, so let’s pull out all the stops, and declare a war on nature.

Sexual politics thus keeps getting further and further out of control. Witness another recent indication of this: “gender neutral” restrooms. Yep, you heard me right. Men and women are identical in every respect, these activists insist, so it is wrong and discriminatory to have ‘his’ and ‘her’ bathrooms. Consider what is happening in Canada concerning these matters.

One report says this: “An LGBTQ advocacy group at the University of Regina is congratulating itself for being instrumental in the establishment of ‘gender neutral’ restrooms at the school. ‘After two long years of planning and negotiating, the University of Regina will have 10 gender neutral washrooms on campus,’ the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity announced last week on its website. ‘We will also have a hilarious  “how to guide” available shortly.’

“Washrooms catering to LGBTQ students are already de rigeur in many Canadian universities, including Dalhousie, St. Thomas University, Queens, Carleton, McGill, the University of Victoria, and the University of Manitoba, to name but a few.

“The newly designated bathrooms on campus are the same single person-use facilities that previously had a sign indicating they could be used by either sex. They are marked by a male and female stick figure and the word ‘restroom’.

“New signs now show the same stick figures but ‘restroom’ has been replaced with the words ‘gender neutral,’ followed by an explanation that reads: ‘This restroom may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression’….

“Barbara Pollock, the university’s vice president of external relations, said, ‘Around here we have about 13,000 people in our community…and in that group there are people who can feel threatened in a single gender washroom. When we were asked if we could consider converting some to gender-neutral we said, “Yes, let’s do it”.’”

“Threatened in a single gender washroom”. What next? Will we cater specially for those who feel threatened wearing lipstick? Pushing prams? Playing checkers? Walking in a park? Eating pancakes? Driving Toyotas? Reading cookbooks? What sort of madness has descended upon us when the radicals want to utterly destroy gender and the natural differences between men and women?

Fortunately not everyone is thrilled with this social activism and sexual suicide. The Canadian group Campaign Life Coalition has been hard at work on this one, seeking to prevent this insanity from being inflicted upon the nation. They provide a bit of historical background here:

“Over the past several years in both Canada and the United States, there has been a concerted effort by gay activists to create a spurious, new right to ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’. In 2011, private member’s Bill C-389 died in the Senate when the Canadian federal election was called. Despite a Conservative majority, its successor in the next parliament, Bill C-279, shockingly passed second reading on June 6th 2012 by a vote of 150 to 132. The third reading vote is scheduled to occur February 27, 2013.

“The gay lobby has successfully portrayed this legislation as ‘innocuous’, and a mere tweaking of the Human Rights Code to ensure gender-confused persons are protected from ‘discrimination’. A slim majority of federal politicians appear to have accepted this line of reasoning.

“A close examination of what it means to grant special status to groups who self-define by ‘gender expression’ and ‘gender identity’ reveals implications that are far-reaching. Politicians, by passing Bill C-279, would unleash unintended consequences that are seriously damaging to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the personal security of women and even to the individuals who suffer with the psychological problem known as Gender Identity Disorder (GID).”

The article continues. “There is strong evidence that adding ‘gender identity’ and/or ‘gender expression’ to the Human Rights Act will give gender-confused men a basis for seeking the legal right to use female-only facilities. For example, in June 2006, Mr. John Fulton the owner of the Downtown Health Club for women in St. Catharines, ON received a phone call from a man demanding membership access. The man turned out to be a ‘transsexual’ who had not yet undergone sex reassignment surgery.  This gender-confused man wanted full access to the women’s only gym which included 24 hour access to the showers, locker rooms and bathrooms. When Mr. Fulton refused, the man filed a challenge with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario….

“Pro-family groups such as Concerned Women of America have warned that these ‘gender identity’ laws will increase the already rising incidence of bathroom attacks on women by sexual predators, who will count on using the new law as an alibi if they get caught. The government ought not risk making it easier for sexual predators to escape justice and re-offend another day.

“To be clear, we’re not saying that individuals who identify as ‘transgendered’ are sexual predators. Rather, there will be an increased legal opportunity for sexual predators and peeping toms who pretend to be ‘transgendered’, to enter female bathrooms.  These miscreants will count on being able to escape prosecution, if caught or suspected, by simply claiming that they’re ‘transgendered’ and they are just exercising the right to ‘express their female gender’. How can a police officer possibly know otherwise?

“Several women have been killed in the United States in bathroom attacks, and there have been numerous reports of attacks in Canada as well. Do we really want to make it easier for sexual predators to get in close quarters with vulnerable women by pretending to be transgendered?”

But these militant activists and social engineers really don’t give a rip about such ugly consequences. All they care about is thoroughly destroying society and all of its long-standing social institutions and sexual values, replacing it all with their radical social and sexual anarchy.

Indeed, the activists know that such legislation is a great way to attack Christian businesses, charities and churches as well: “Adding the terms ‘gender identity’ and gender expression to the Act will lead to trampling of religious freedom and conscience rights. The militant activists pushing this bill are not interested in using it as a protective ‘shield’.  Instead, they will use it as a ‘sword’ to target Christian and other faith-based businesses, religious institutions and charities for holding biblical beliefs on human sexuality.

“This will also invite trouble for private businesses and even religious institutions which will be compelled by the law to permit their employees to dress up in the opposite sex. Is it beyond the pale to imagine a male employee at a Christian charity filing a human rights complaint for not being allowed to dress up as a woman while at work?”

Yes, all these attempts at radical social engineering are not only about destroying a nation, but singling out Christian moral concerns, beliefs and practices. The militants have declared war on everything we hold near and dear, and will not rest until our concerns have been muzzled and eliminated.

And children of course are the biggest losers here: “If you had a 9-year old daughter, how would you feel about a man going into the bathroom after her? How is that child supposed to discern whether the man in the bathroom with her is a rapist, a peeping tom, or merely an innocent ‘transsexual’ who thinks he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body? It is unconscionable for legislators to put vulnerable, female children in such a dangerous position.

“Legislators will also be removing that red-flag that all young girls naturally have when a man walks into the bathroom with them. If C-279 passes, it will make commonplace the presence of so-called ‘transgendered men’ in girls’ bathrooms, and greatly diminish that protective, red-flag warning that currently exists in our children.”

The diabolical nature of all this activism is clearly seen in how cavalier they are to the well-being of our most innocent and vulnerable citizens: our children. That alone should tell you all you need to know about these activists and their ugly, destructive agenda.