Justin Trudeau loves preaching about “diversity,” “tolerance,” and “inclusion.” Sadly, these concepts have no application to Christian summer camps which help underprivileged children to enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing and campfires.
In 2018, the Trudeau government tried to force Canada Summer Jobs applicants to sign an attestation supporting the prime minister’s views on abortion. Trudeau backed down after the Justice Centre and other organizations filed court actions that pointed out that the mandatory attestation was compelled speech, in violation of the.Charter.
In 2019, while no longer insisting that applicants express support for abortion, the Trudeau government created new “ineligibility” criteria to disqualify politically incorrect non-profits from receiving funding. Federal bureaucrats now scour the web to look at the theology of Christian summer camps which seek Canada Summer Jobs grants.
Mill Stream Bible Camp, a 90-minute drive north-east of Toronto, welcomes all children to its summer Bible camps, where they enjoy swimming, archery, canoeing, basketball, and other ways to experience fun, recreation and hope. Until its Canada Summer Jobs grants were denied in 2018, Mill Stream was able to provide generous financial assistance to families who lack the means to pay the regular registration costs. This allowed many underprivileged children to enjoy summer camps, who otherwise might never have the chance.
In 2019, Mill Stream signed the new attestation and applied for Canada Summer Jobs grants, hoping to hire more summer students and accept more underprivileged children. But the federal government turned down Mill Stream due to “controversial church doctrines” and “discriminatory” hiring practices based on church beliefs. These “controversial” beliefs have been taught for thousands of years by various Christian churches. For example: people are sinful and have separated themselves from a righteous and holy God; our immortal souls have an eternal destiny; an authentic Christian lifestyle includes sexual purity.
Ironically, Prime Minister Trudeau seems to think it is a good idea for underprivileged kids to go camping. During the 2019 federal election, he proposed spending $150 million a year through “bursaries” to low-income families to enjoy the great outdoors. Trudeau will help kids go camping, just as long as they only attend camps which do not have beliefs that conflict with his.
Because of the Trudeau government’s peculiar and selective sense of “tolerance” and “inclusion,” more than a dozen children lost the opportunity to attend Mill Stream’s summer camp in 2019. Ideology trumped inclusion (and the rule of law).
To defend itself against Mill Stream’s court action, the federal government has retained LGBTQ activist Ellen Faulkner, whose lengthy affidavit claims that LGBTQ Canadians are victims of discrimination. A.sociologist without any expertise in religion or theology,.Faulkner denounces as “discriminatory” the religious belief that homosexual intimacy is a sin, and the religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
When questioned in court under oath about her affidavit, Faulkner readily admitted that she has not done any research into the effect of discrimination by government against persons and groups on account of their religious beliefs. Faulkner does not come across as an objective academic, but as an advocate for a cause: “I’ve had a lot of experiences of discrimination as a lesbian woman and so my own personal experience has been a source of motivation for the research that I conduct and my political activism …”
Faulkner claims that there are “LGBTQ beliefs,” but could not explain specifically what those beliefs are, stating: “LGBTQ beliefs are based in the notion that their experiences of discrimination in society are relevant to their everyday experiences.” Faulkner was rather vague when asked again about how something becomes an “LGBTQ belief.” She resorted to stereotyping, saying that “LGBTQs have resisted some beliefs promoted by religious institutions.” Faulkner contrasted “LGBTQ beliefs” specifically with “Christian beliefs,” stating that “LGBTQs have challenged religious beliefs on many levels because of some of the core Christian values.”
Under cross-examination, Faulkner did, however, admit that not all LGBTQ persons share the same beliefs. She also could not deny the existence of LGBTQ persons who hold traditional Christian beliefs. She further admitted that.having a particular sexual orientation does not dictate a particular religious belief. She reluctantly agreed that it’s possible for some LGBTQ persons to hold a traditional belief about marriage being between one man and one woman and, that it’s possible for.LGBTQ people to honour and practice their own religious beliefs concerning sexuality.
As this court action against anti-religious federal policies moves forward, one must hope that the courts will distinguish between evidence and advocacy, and that the rule of law will prevail over government-imposed ideological conformity.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca), which acts for Mill Stream Bible Camp in its court action against the federal government.