Conscience and Its Enemies – The Dominion Report: July 8, 2023

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The Dominion Report is a weekly newsletter committed to bringing you the most important stories for Canadian Christians to consider as they seek to live faithful lives in the communities God has placed them in.

BC Pressures Catholic Hospitals to Begin Offering Assisted Suicide

The Story: British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix is pressuring Providence Health, a Catholic healthcare provider, to perform assisted suicide after a woman had to transfer hospitals in order to receive the poisons that ended her life. The young woman’s family is calling for a criminal investigation into Providence’s refusal to offer assisted suicide, arguing that requiring a transfer to receive the so-called treatment “inherently causes additional bodily harm” and stating that “religion does not belong in health care.” In response, Providence’s St. Paul’s Hospital stated that they do not allow assisted suicide in their facility “given the incompatibility of Catholic teaching with actions intended to terminate human life”.

Elsewhere in BC, Fraser Health Care, a secular provincial healthcare provider, sent a slideshow presentation promoting assisted suicide to healthy pensioners. The slideshow explained how individuals with a terminal diagnosis could be killed in “as little as one day.” Despite the questionable legality of this presentation, no criminal investigation has been reported.

The Significance: Unfortunately, the mentality that “religion does not belong in health care,” and that valuing life is exclusively a religious idea, is an increasingly common sentiment among the Canadian public. Religious citizens are expected to limit their faith to private life and, even there, the State is beginning to claim jurisdiction. While we must treat this young woman’s family with charity and compassion, we must also utterly reject their claims.

Acts of mercy are central to the Christian faith. This is evidenced by Christianity’s centuries-long relationship with healthcare dating back to the founding of the world’s first hospitals in the 12th century and the creation of the first Canadian hospital in the 17th century. That is our Christian heritage and it cannot be hidden under a basket.

Canadian Christians should fight this intolerance by actively engaging in public life as Christians rather than religiously-neutral citizens. To do this, we should follow the example of those such as the late MP Mark Warawa on how to publicly live out our faith. We must also support federal and provincial conscience rights legislation to ensure the legal protection of Christian morality in public life.

Read More: Katie DeRosa, Vancouver Sun, “B.C. health minister pushing Providence Health to change MAID policy

Court Rules Against Manitoba Churches in Covid-Era Religious Liberty Challenge 

The Story: In a June 19 decision, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled that seven Manitoba churches did not have their Charter rights violated by pandemic-era religious liberty restrictions. The Court stated, “freedom of religion can be limited when the exercise of it can interfere with the rights of others.” In a separate lawsuit, an Alberta mother is suing the federal government, the CBC, and several health officials over alleged vaccine misinformation. The woman received the vaccine and later developed permanent Bell’s Palsy. 

The Significance: God has given the civil government authority to restrict personal autonomy in order to apply justice and promote public righteousness. This mandate includes enforcing laws against criminal activity such as theft, abuse, and suicide. The State oversteps its authority, however, when it seeks to assert dominion over responsibilities that God has delegated to non-governmental authorities—such as the local church or an individual’s conscience. Decisions about public worship, for example, belong to the pastors of local churches. Similarly, truly personal health decisions have been delegated to the stewardship of individual men and women—especially when those decisions are fraught with doubt and scientific uncertainty.

Despite this delegated authority structure, however, governments throughout the world effectively prohibited church attendance by mandating social distancing requirements and capacity limitations. While it may be prudent for a church to refrain from meeting together for a short time, these decisions are fundamentally theological and involve issues entrusted to the decision-making of local pastors including the nature of the church, the needs of the congregation, concern for the community, and fidelity to Scripture. Governments, by contrast, have been given no mandate to make decisions on primarily theological matters. 

Covid-19 vaccine mandates similarly removed personal health decision-making from individual families and consciences and placed it in the hands of the State. Once again, this violates a primary principle of God’s delegated authority. Human beings are tasked with making personal decisions in accordance with their informed consciences, especially when those decisions involve difficult ethical questions. After all, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). 

In these critical respects, Canada’s governments failed to meet the biblical standard for the use of their authority and, regardless of the results of the judicial process, overstepped their divinely-limited jurisdiction. 

Read More: David Krayden, The Post Millennial, “Manitoba Court of Appeal says church lockdowns did not violate Canadian Charter of Rights”

Read More: Arthur C. Green, The Western Standard, “COVID-19 vaccine-injured mom sues gov’t, CBC for $10.5M over misinformation, negligence”

Justin Trudeau Says He is Open to Changing ‘O Canada’ Lyrics

The Story: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he is open to changing the lyrics of “O Canada” as Liberal Party sentiment grows for amending the line “our home and native land” to “our home on native land.” The proposed lyric was first used by singer Jully Black at the 2023 NBA All-Star game and has quickly gained momentum among Liberals and progressives looking to signal their commitment to “reconciliation”—despite not having anything to do with helping indigenous Canadians living with no safe drinking water or doing anything else to improve indigenous lives. 

The Significance: For decades, conservatives rolled their eyes when progressives made statements about changing the way we celebrate our Canadian history and identity. Christians would sing “God keep our land” and feel confident that the foundation of our nation would outlast progressive virtue signaling.

The Liberal government has shown, however, that they have both the will and the means to rewrite our history and attack the foundation our nation was built on. In just the last several years they have re-written our national anthem, removed historic religious symbols—including the cross—from our national coat of arms, and replaced references in Canadian passports honouring our history and our armed forces. This is in addition to support for the removal of statues and the renaming of roads and buildings that reference our founding fathers in any way. Rather than groaning and rolling our eyes at continued attacks on our national foundation and history, we need to vocally resist these attacks and stand up for the flawed yet beautiful history of a nation that has been a beacon of freedom and hope to so many.

Read More: Richard Raycroft, CBC News, ”Trudeau ‘open’ to changing O Canada lyrics, says it’s up to Canadians”

United Kingdom Commits to Protecting Children by Reviewing All Pornography Laws

The Story: The United Kingdom’s Conservative Government is reviewing all pornography laws after recent studies confirmed that children are being exposed to violent sexual content at younger and younger ages. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunek responded to the new studies by stating that all laws must be reviewed in order to ensure they are “fit for purpose”. For the last decade, advocates have warned that the average age of exposure to violent pornography has dropped below 10 years old. 

The Significance: The British Government’s push to make the world a safer place for kids is an incredibly positive sign. The United Kingdom had already passed legislation to implement age-verification on all porn sites. Unfortunately, however, the current laws and systems have not been effective. This latest review follows other recent moves by the British Parliament to crack down on those who make such content available to kids, and shows that there are people in power who actually want to see children protected from online sexual violence rather than simply chasing easy political wins.

This news should also encourage Canadians: a Bill has been introduced in the House of Commons that would implement meaningful age-verification in Canada. Bill C-210 has been supported by a cross-section of MPs and Senators from multiple parties, including longtime anti-exploitation champion Arnold Viersen. Christians in Canada should encourage their Member of Parliament to vote in favour of this Bill regardless of party affiliation. 

Read More: Charles Hymes, MSN, “Rishi Sunek orders review of all laws covering porn”

Quick Hits: 

Children’s Drag Camp: A drag camp for children as young as 7 sparked protests and counter-protests in Vancouver this week. Previously claimed to be a right-wing conspiracy, children’s drag camps are now vocally defended by labour unions and LGBTQ groups. Despite the vocal—and often angry—claims to the contrary, the reason for the shows is clear: it’s an attempt to “queer” our children.

Saskatchewan Students Investigated for “Straight Pride”: Students in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, who signed a poster reading “I’m straight and proud” were reportedly questioned by an RCMP officer, who allegedly described the poster as a “borderline hate crime”. Parents were not present during the alleged interrogation, a violation of the RCMP’s guidelines for questioning minors. Once again, activists are demonstrating that any resistance to LGBTQ propaganda in schools, no matter how mild, must be punished. 

A Truth To Consider

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