“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
Persecution of Christians by the state has arrived in Canada. I speak of the recent spate of attacks by human rights commissions against Pastor Stephen Boissoin, Fr. Alphonse de Valk of Catholic Insight magazine and Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada. These attacks are directly linked to militant homosexual demands that Christians keep their mouths shut about scriptural teaching on homosexuality. Let no one be in doubt here: although three specific Christian leaders have been targeted, the real object of the attack is the entire Christian population of Canada.
Can we legitimately say that Christians are being persecuted? Well, nobody has been killed for being faithful to Christian teaching. But people have lost jobs, have been forced to spend thousands of dollars in defending themselves, have been fined large amounts of money and some businesses have been closed. And all of this through a quasi-legal system instituted by our government. As this paper noted last month, in this system there is no presumption of innocence, the accused must pay for their own defence, while accusers are granted court-paid lawyers, and even establishing the truth of one’s commentary is no acceptable defence for the accused.
So, where does that leave us? Well, it seems that we have now arrived at the moment when devout followers of Christ are called to walk the more difficult road. For Christians do not have a choice in this matter. Two millennia ago, Christians were put to death for refusing to burn incense to Caesar and call him Lord. The truly faithful refused to do it. Faithful Christians today will not burn incense to an ancient vice that has been exalted by the state to the status of new-found right.
At present, human rights commissions are under attack by many editorialists and columnists because high-profile journalists like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn have been accused of hate by some Islamic leaders in Canada. But there has been no media storm protesting the attack on free speech of Christians who are also being accused of hate before these tribunals. It’s a pity. Shouldn’t the media campaign for justice for all?
Is there any relief forthcoming by politicians who will courageously speak on behalf of believers? Don’t bet on it. The powerful homosexual lobby has a neckhold on the whole political process, for they have convinced the public that all opposition to homosexuality is hateful. Politicians, almost to a man, are totally intimidated. They will not speak a word in defence of Christians, who, having more courage than they now, face the wrath of a lobby group that wants to punish them and rob them of their free-speech rights.
What, then, can be done in the present situation? Is it possible to slow down the course toward even more draconian forms of persecution? I believe there is such a possibility.
It calls for initiative from Christian leaders. Recently, a key evangelical leader wrote a letter to the National Post protesting the abolition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Ontario Legislature. It seems clear to me that if evangelicals can go public on prayer in a legislature, then surely they can also go public on the much more serious matter of the growing persecution of Christians. The various heads of Christian denominations could issue press releases defending the right of individual believers to speak the whole truth found in Scripture.
Evangelical colleges and seminaries might also lift up their voices by having some of their professors write articles in local newspapers. What a novel idea, I know, that Christian leaders would actually contend for believers’ right to freely express Gospel truth without fear of persecution. It may be novel, but its time has definitely arrived. Since about 40 per cent of our population is Catholic, it is certainly also incumbent on courageous Catholic archbishops and bishops to speak on behalf of their constituencies who are undergoing persecution as well.
I suspect that Christian leaders may be taking a cautious, low-profile approach, praying that the situation may get better. They may think it wiser to try and woo those who oppose the Gospel, rather than graciously contend with them. Truth is, hostile opponents of biblical truth have assumed much power; they are not going to go away quietly. Like Esther, God may have raised Canada’s Christian leaders to prominence for just such a time as this. Esther spoke up and used her small voice in defence of her people. Who knows what may happen if our Christian leaders do the same?