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Canada Exits Christendom (my abridged title)
Globe and Mail - Toronto, Canada ^ | October 4, 2004 | MICHAEL VALPY

Posted on 10/07/2004 7:08:24 PM PDT by GMMAC

Christianity hangs in balance, leading theologian warns

Churches fear being marginalized by state

Toronto, Canada
Monday, October 4, 2004 - Page A4

For the churches representing the majority of Canadian Christians, legalization of same-sex marriage will be a sign of the end of Christendom, the 1,700-year-old notion that has defined government in the Western world as devoted to the enforcement of Christian values, says one of Canada's leading theologians.

Those churches will be left feeling marginalized by the state -- a state they will no longer see as an expression of a Christian point of view and fulfilling certain Christian ideals, said Christopher Lind, director of the Toronto School of Theology, the federation of theological colleges affiliated with the University of Toronto.

It explains why a rope of fear runs through the churches' legal submissions to the Supreme Court, where hearings begin Wednesday on the constitutionality of the government's intention to authorize same-sex marriage.

There is fear that if, as widely expected, the court rules in favour of same-sex marriage and Parliament passes enabling legislation, churches will face persecution and discrimination in Canadian society for holding fast to the belief that God ordained marriage only for heterosexual couples.

From Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants to Mormons, Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists among others, religious groups are also apprehensive that they may be stripped of their charitable status and other state benefits, penalized by public institutions, branded as hate-mongers and forced into accepting the legitimacy of same-sex unions.

It is the same fear that political scientists and theologians identify as driving the powerful conservative religious right in the United States -- a conviction that liberal, secular society is bent on erasing religion from public life.

But whether a redefined marriage law will ignite decades of political conflict -- as happened in America after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973 with the case of Roe vs. Wade -- is what one conservative Anglican priest terms "a sociological Pandora's box."

"I doubt that anyone knows the potential fallout," said Rev. Ed Hird, rector of St. Simon's Anglican Church in North Vancouver, one of a dozen Greater Vancouver Anglican congregations in rebellion against their bishop for approving church blessings of same-sex unions.

"I do know biblically oriented Christians are not going to roll over and play dead. This would mean an abandonment of their core value of the final supremacy of holy Scripture."

Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada -- representing more than three million Canadians through 130 affiliated denominations, ministry organizations and educational institutions -- says the redefinition of marriage in Canada would cause conservative Christians to feel stripped of public language with which to express their values on marriage.

"We will have lost the [public] language to be able to describe something that's very meaningful within a religious tradition. How will parents impart their values to their children . . . in a society where their definition of marriage is seen to be discriminatory?"

He said the issue for conservative religious communities will be to advance the definition and substance of pluralism in Canada, to where "you have a plurality of public languages and options and choices that people can promote."

Charles McVety, president of Toronto's evangelical Canada Christian College, illustrated the loss of public language by describing the reaction to an e-mail he sent recently to members of Ontario's Conservative Party, urging them not to vote for John Tory as leader because he supported same-sex marriage. "The venom that came back. . . . People calling me an effing homophobe," he said. "You're demonized."

Snapshot of views

"Marriage is a benchmark by which Canadian society names the everyday development of love and intimacy between a couple . . . Restricting the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples questions the capacity of gays and lesbians to develop love and intimacy, undermining their human dignity and reinforcing prejudicial attitudes and even promoting violence."

-- United Church of Canada

"By requiring [Canadians] to treat homosexual sexual practices as good, it will lead to intolerance of those who teach and espouse the opposite view which, in turn, will have wide-ranging negative consequences for freedom of religion and conscience."

-- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

"Same-sex couples can and do live in long-term, caring, loving and conjugal relationships -- including those involving the rearing of children. Denying same-sex couples the choice of having their unions legally recognized as marriages perpetuates the view that they are not capable of forming intimate relationships of economic interdependence, and thus same-sex relationships are not worthy of the same respect and recognition as opposite-sex relationships."

-- Federal Department of Justice

"The companionate model of marriage advanced by the A-G Canada is troublingly over-inclusive. For example, the arguments made in favour of same-sex marriage can also be made in recognition of polygamy and polyandry. The definition of marriage advanced by A-G Canada is so broad that it risks depriving 'marriage' of any real meaning in the longer term and, in a perverse way, risks denying the advocates of same-sex marriage the social validation they seek."

-- Attorney-General of Alberta

TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: canada; christendom; courts; gaymarriage; homosexualagenda; religion; secularism; thewest
Wednesday, October 6, 2004, page A2
In an article Monday, Christopher Lind, director of the Toronto School of Theology, said that legalization of same-sex marriage will be seen as part of the end of Christendom, the historic notion in the West that governments enforce Christian ideals and values. He did not say, as the headline suggested, that Christianity itself was in peril.
1 posted on 10/07/2004 7:08:25 PM PDT by GMMAC
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Canada ended long ago, but without a doubt the abuses the government up there has been heaping on the people they are long overdue for a violent overthrow.

2 posted on 10/07/2004 7:10:08 PM PDT by muawiyah
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When Canada goes to hell (literally), we had better not offer them any aid. We don't owe them anything.
There is no such thing as sin without consequence.
3 posted on 10/07/2004 7:20:48 PM PDT by concerned about politics (Vote Republican - Vote morally correct!)
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The author contends that God is dependent upon people to survive. LOL! They have a big shock coming. Too bad I won't be here when it comes. And they will have nothing to say about it. Oh well.

4 posted on 10/07/2004 7:58:56 PM PDT by Righter-than-Rush
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5 posted on 10/07/2004 8:01:19 PM PDT by VOA
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We can hope that the fruits who are obsessed with getting "married" will stream across the border to Canaduh, where they will be welcomed with open arms. The stiffer the resistance here, the more likely that will be to happen.

I just hope they don't let the doorknob impact them in a sensitive area on their way out of the US...

6 posted on 10/07/2004 11:23:51 PM PDT by fire_eye (Socialism is the opiate of academia.)
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To: fire_eye
"We can hope that the fruits who are obsessed with getting "married" will stream across the border to Canaduh ..."

Based upon history, this is a very perceptive hope - although perhaps more than a little self-serving.

Those quick to condemn Canada's steady march to the left on a host of both social and political issues should bear in mind that, a very significant contributing factor to same was the influx of U.S. draft evaders and military deserters received in the late 60's and early 70's. Many of whom, like their fellow travelers who remained stateside, intentionally wormed their way into culturally sensitive areas like the media and academia wherein they could quite easily and very effectively promote their radical agenda.

While it's easy to say in hindsight that more resistance should have been offered in the face of this "foreign" socialist onslaught, obviously it wasn't and it's much like observing that in a perfect America the Clintons never would have made it past their first term.

Just as the war on terror demands international (and especially continental) solutions, it's best that decent, freedom-loving people on both sides of the border don't engaged in counter-productive sniping at each other and instead view the current sorry situation in Canada as a sad and hopefully temporary cautionary example.
7 posted on 10/08/2004 8:34:51 AM PDT by GMMAC (lots of terror cells in Canada - I'll be waving my US flag when the Marines arrive!)
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You're right, but overall, my take on it is that if we cannot eradicate the poison of the Left, the only solution is to contain it somewhere.

I'm not intent on picking on Canada, either - while I find Canadian politics repulsive, as with most Socialist governments, I would be just as happy to see leftists streaming over the border of Oregon into Commufornia - and I get the same reaction from the two or three conservatives left in Commufornia, as I do from you.

The idea of Balkanizing the North American continent is repulsive also... but not nearly as repulsive as a leftist living in my own neighborhood. It's a case of "pick your poison".

In fact, if the Left manages to tighten its stranglehold on Oregon much more, *I* may be forced to leave here, abandoning all of my plans for the future, and move to Wyoming or Alaska or Idaho. This upcoming election could very well be what decides my future in that regard.

If things don't go right, rather than seen the Left flee for Socialist bugholes, we may end up being the ones forced to flee, or live under the tyranny of the Kerry/Clinton/Fiendswine socialists - and end up like Canada. Unfortunately for the three Conservatives left in Canada (of whom I take it you are one), that means we will rejoice to see our loony Left leave the U.S. for anywhere but here.

8 posted on 10/09/2004 10:59:21 PM PDT by fire_eye (Socialism is the opiate of academia.)
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