If the recent In Defence of Marriage and Family rally in Hamilton is any indication, Christians and social conservatives in Ontario are mad as heck and they aren’t going to take it any more.
Stunned by recent court rulings driving toward the decriminalization of the possession of child pornography and the alteration of the traditional definition of the family, about 300 people packed into People’s Church to hear from local and national family leaders about how to fight back against the seemingly endless moves to change the fundamental structures of Canadian society.
They heard from Peter Stock, national affairs director for the Canada Family Action Coalition, as well as Crossroads Television System personalities David Mainse and Rhonda London. Afterwards, more than 150 of them made commitments to visit their MPPs to discuss family-related issues.
“Was it a success? Absolutely,” smiled Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council president Phil Lees, whose organization staged the event. “When you look at the room and see all the people signing up (to visit their MPPs) … More than half of them signed up. There will be full offices. I’m quite pleased.”
Lees added that those attending “were pleased with what they had heard and with the feeling that they could be constructively involved. That’s our goal – to inform and motivate people, and then put strategies in place so they can be effective in Christ-like ways.”
Stock provided the audience with a background to some of the recent developments on the family-issues front. He railed against the Supreme Court’s judicial activism, particularly its ruling May 20 in the M vs. H case, where it basically ordered the government of Ontario to change its laws and redefine the word “spouse” to include persons of the same sex.
“Courts have the power, under the Constitution, to strike down any law they want,” he said. “But this is not the final word on the issue.” Stock called for the Ontario government to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution, and in that way get around having to implement the ruling.
London, who hosts a daily phone-in talk show on CTS, dealt chiefly with media issues in her address to the crowd. Having worked for many years in secular media and news, she saw that the M vs. H decision “has the potential to have a huge impact on our laws.”
“It’s not always popular to broach the subject of morality,” she noted. “Gay rights is being equated to the American civil rights movement … Who wants to be labelled a bigot, hater or oppressor?”
London said while a lot of good work is being done to preserve the traditional family structure, “there are a lot of misguided efforts,” such as those of the notorious anti-homosexual preacher, Rev. Fred Phelps. “All Christians get painted with the same brush … Our actions must be loving. It is possible to disagree with respect … The Bible is very clear on homosexuality, but there is nor room for duplicity and double-mindedness.”
She said it was “imperative” that Christians and social conservatives get involved in the struggle to preserve the family, as well as be informed and “know what we’re up against.”
“Each one of you holds such incredible power in your hands,” she added. “M vs. H presents an incredible opportunity … to take a stand for the family. All you have to do is make your views known.”
She concluded by urging the crowd to “pray for Canada. Your prayers are so powerful.”
Mainse, the founder of CTS, focused on the necessity for Christians to stand united on the fundamental social issues of our time, including the preservation of the family. He pointed to the Dutch experience, where political fragmentation has allowed “the unbridled tragedy of euthanasia,” as an example of what Canadian Christians should try to avoid.
“We have to come together, perhaps around a candidate regardless of party,” he said. “Unity will release the power of God … Wherever there is unity, there is power … Let’s get on track. The power of God lies in unity.” He added that he believes in the power of prayer, and that “prayer changes things.”
He concluded by noting that CTS is committed to doing whatever it can do to be “salt and light” on issues such as the M vs. H court decision.
After the rally, Lees told The Interim that the seeds for the staging of the event were sown by experiences in the St. Catharines area of Ontario, where a radio talk show host hooked up with the Niagara Community Impact Committee to stage the first – and a successful – rally in support of the traditional family.
“We had worked very closely with the Niagara Community Impact Committee on some issues, and said, ‘We could do that,'” he said. “We modified it to fit how we operate around here (in the Hamilton area).”
Stock, London and Mainse were brought in as keynote speakers because the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council has a close working relationship with the Canada Family Action Coalition which, in turn, deals a lot with the Crossroads Television System.
The Hamilton rally won’t be the end of the story, as citizens in places including Windsor, London, Kitchener, North Bay, Oshawa and Brampton are organizing events of their own. “Even if they don’t turn into full rallies, if we can get petitions into the churches or even get people talking about the issues so some of them will go and visit their MPPs, they will be a success,” said Lees.
The HWFAC will supply resources including sample press releases and software for literature production to other areas.