Friday, December 10, 2004

the spirit of canadian times

Yesterday the Canadian Supreme Court ruling came down in favor of same-sex marriage. I feel punched in the stomach, embarrassed for my country and, as a Canadian Christian wondering, am I somehow culpable?

I know the final chapter hasn’t been written. Now it’s up to the governing Liberals to introduce and pass the whole mess into law though, predictably, the issue is dividing the party. Unless there is a miracle, though, and some parliamentarians find a whole lot of new conviction and backbone in their Christmas stockings, it’s only a matter of time.

How did we get here - and so quickly? It was, after all, a mere five years ago (June 1999) that the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favor of preserving the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

But the forces of change (read "gay lobby" or as I heard it referred to on last night’s news by Irwin Cotler, our Minister of Justice and Attorney General, "societal evolution") kept pushing through barrier after barrier with the goal of full recognition and the state’s blessing. In April 2000 Bill C-23 gave same-sex couples the same social and tax benefits as heterosexual and common-law couples. In May 2003 the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that limiting marriage to heterosexuals violated equality rights. In June of 2003 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. Finally, last fall Prime Minister Paul Martin asked the Supreme Court to express an opinion on three angles of the matter (he actually added a fourth which they declined to reply to) so when he drafts legislation it will be watertight to a court challenge.

People who support these changes question - how does broadening the definition of marriage impact any but the gay couples involved? However, one needs only to use a little imagination to see its effects will be widespread. Like toying with the foundation of a house compromises the building, this kind of change to one of our society’s foundations - marriage - has the potential to skew our society's structure, and will impact all its other pillars - religion, education and the family.

Though yesterday’s judgement answers "yes" to the question, "Does the charter protect religious groups from having to perform gay weddings against their beliefs," I take little comfort in that. Judging by how quickly parliament did an about-face from its decision to uphold traditional marriage in 1999 to being on the threshold of blessing same-sex unions and calling them marriage in early 2005, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before that protection is also challenged and revoked.
And so I see for Canada in the years ahead, for starters:

1. Clergy forced to perform these ceremonies or face litigation.

2. Non-complying churches losing tax-free and charitable-donation status.

3. The Bible labeled hate literature.

4. No freedom to teach against homosexuality in religious schools, with non-compliance leading to the withdrawal of public funding. (Already mandatory same-sex sensitivity training is part of the elementary public school curriculum and educators in some school districts are disallowing exemptions for kids whose parents object to it.)

5. Further challenges under the Charter, to include more liaisons in the definition of marriage - e.g. siblings (heterosexual and homosexual) and polygamous relationships etc. (one’s imagination is the limit in predicting where this society-driven "evolution"* will take us next).

6. Legislated affirmative action favoring gay couples in matters such as adoption.

Unless of course, this thing can be miraculously turned around. We will certainly not give up without a fight. Christians in Canada today need the spirit of the men of Issachar

"...who understood their times and knew what Israel should do" 1 Chronicles 12:32.


* Read C. S. Lewis's "Evolutionary Hymn, " at the bottom of this posting in Another Man's Meat.


Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...


I think that Lewis is a' propos for these times, isn't he?

I'm flattered that you are using some of the things from my blog.

I think you're right. It will take a miracle to turn the tenor of the times around. I thought that 9-11 would, but the changes were only momentary.

Violet N. said...

Thanks Phil! As always, your post is thoughtful and well written. I've never seen the poem you quoted by C.S. Lewis. It expresses the idea of 'evolution,' especially of thought, perfectly.

Kim said...

I kind of felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach, too, Violet. I think this is going to be the sign of the times in more countries than this one. I wonder what kind of pressure this will put on the US to follow suit.

Violet N. said...

Kim, have you sensed a hardening in Canada's attitude since the last federal election, or is it just me? It seems that was a turning point of sorts.

I hope the U.S. stands firm, because you're right. The pressure to change marriage definitions is international.

Jeremy Pierce said...

Hasn't 3 already happened in Canada?

Violet N. said...

Jeremy, I guess... I was thinking more along the lines of one being in danger from legal action, as one would be when disseminating, say, white supremacist / anti-Semitic literature.

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