Scott Brockie celebrated by friends and supporters

Nearly 250 people celebrated the faithful witness of Scott Brockie, a Christian printer persecuted for refusing to violate his Christian conscience when approached by the Gay and Lesbian Archive to do business.

On June 26, Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre (the ECP Centre) held a fundraising dinner for Brockie to help him pay part of more than $170,000 in legal fees he accumulated during an eight-year ordeal before the Ontario Human Rights Commission and provincial court system. The ECP Centre presented Brockie with a cheque for $24,060 in what it is expected to be the first of an annual ECP Centre’s Culture Builder of the Year Award.

The Centre’s executive director, Reverend Tristan Emmanuel, stated, “As important as education and motivation are, the Centre’s vision includes tangible results. We want to say, ‘We’re here to help those brothers and sisters who find themselves the object of judicial tyranny.'”

The Christian community showed its support for Brockie and his fight, with many people who could not come to the dinner at Heritage Christian School in Jordan, Ont., donating to the cause.

The keynote speaker was Senator Anne Cools, who has courageously fought on behalf of family and freedom in the Upper Chamber since her appointment there in 1984 by Pierre Trudeau. She recently crossed the floor and joined the Conservative party, disgusted with the direction of Liberal party in recent years. Cools described life as a journey and declared she didn’t like where the Liberal train was going, so she got off.

In recent years, her journey has led her to butt heads with many in the Liberal leadership over fathers’ rights, the traditional definition of marriage and Bill C-250. While Svend Robinson’s hate crimes amendment ultimately passed because of the “special treatment” it received from the government, despite being a private members’ bill (one of just three private member’s pieces of business to pass in the last Parliament), it was delayed because of the work of Cools.

Noting that homosexuals, like all Canadians, are already protected in law from physical harm and property damage, she criticized the true rationale of the legislation – the symbolic acceptance of homosexuality. “Amendments to the Criminal Code,” she declared, “are not about human rights, recognition or symbolism,” and she warned that the power of criminal prosecution will be used and abused by people for “political reasons.”

While he did not face a criminal prosecution, Brockie knows well the kind of persecution that Christians can face for standing for their principles. He began his speech by outlining his journey through Ontario’s human rights and judicial hell.

In 1996, representatives of the Lesbian and Gay Archives of Canada approached Brockie’s printing business to print material that advanced the homosexual agenda. Brockie said he could not do so and soon found himself before the Ontario Human Rights Commission (HRC). He was told he could pay a $5,000 fine, apologize and it would be over, but Brockie would not admit that he did something wrong when he knew he hadn’t. “That was the start of our journey,” he said.

There were letters back and forth and eventually an HRC board of inquiry investigation. The inquiry decision said that Brockie could practise his faith in his home and in his faith community but that he could not bring his beliefs outside those narrow confines. Brockie said he could not separate his Christianity from his being: “My beliefs are not some adjunct to my life … it is my life.”

The inquiry ruling was appealed, but the HRC maintained that he could not refuse work on moral grounds. He appealed to the courts, where initially the Ontario Divisional Court awarded him costs of $25,000. The HRC and Archive appealed that and, ultimately, Brockie would not receive a cent.

Brockie said he was simply being a “faithful witness to my Lord” and that his persecutors “didn’t hate me because of me; they hate me because of Him.”

Brockie is not bitter over his experience, calling it the “inestimable pleasure of enduring a little bit of persecution” for standing “with my Saviour.”

He said his ordeal is a call to action for the Christian community, that Christians must stop complaining about the culture and do something about it. Quoting G.K. Chesterton, he said our faith must “be less theory than a love affair” as he urged Christians to get involved, even in something as simple as coaching. “If there were more Christian coaches,” he said, “the language in the dressing room would change” dramatically. He said we need more Christian teachers, trustees, lawyers, judges, and politicians.

He called for the churches to “get out of the churches and into the world.” By not doing so, Christians accept the Human Right Commission finding that faith should be kept merely a private affair within the confines of the buildings of home and church.

Three other Christian witnesses – three individuals who bring the church to the world – were also recognized that evening.

Alex Hay, who like Brockie is a Gideon, took the initiative to distribute Gideon New Testaments to high school students when the organization was kicked out of the Toronto school board. What began as one afternoon at Jarvis Street school, where 840 books were distributed, has turned into a tremendous success. Since 1996, the Gideons have given more than 30,000 New Testaments to students on sidewalks outside their schools.

Don Stephens is a Peel district school board trustee who has brought “not religion, but righteousness” to the board. In 1997, Stephens accepted the challenge of his pastor to get involved in the political process, to stop complaining about what was happening and do something about it. He said that many in the schools are “blind not bad,” and thus by using their language (“data” and “policies”) instead of preaching, one can make a difference.

Bruce Fligg is a Mississauga, Ont. man who fought unlicensed body rub parlours and offensive advertising in that city. He said what began as a prayer group evolved into an organization that makes noise about companies and governments that further debase our culture.

Emmanuel told The Interim the event was a great success. Planning is already underway for next years fundraiser. DVDs of the highlights of the evening’s program are available from the ECP Centre for $27.

The ECP Centre started about a year ago in response to Bill C-250 and since that time, the Centre has held over 40 town hall meetings across Canada. “The ECP Centre,” said Emmanuel, “is about raising awareness across denominational lines about the great need of our day – Christian involvement in the political sphere.”