Question Six: What is the biggest problem we Canadian Christian writers face today?
The climate of opinion we face is currently very challenging.
As many here must know, one of our best-known Canadian writers, Mark Steyn, and our historic national magazine, Maclean's have been charged with hate crimes, as have other notables.
I have read Mark Steyn's Maclean's article, and, while some might wish to contest various matters in it, the notion that it constitutes hate is ... a wakeup call to every one of us.
Time doesn't permit me to go into the Levant case or the Boisson case, or any number of similar cases. But the pattern is clear: The most serious challenge in Canada today is intellectual freedom.
Increasingly, under our 14 human rights commissions and tribunals, governments and their appointed minders restrict what we can say, think, or do supposedly in our own interests - but certainly in theirs! It is their government job, right? And the more they restrict, the bigger their job.
And— make no mistake—they attract, in the Christian community, individuals who are glad to help do the minding. So far as I can see, the current government supports this situation, and will do its best to keep it in place.
But I do have one thing to say on my own account: I find it frustrating when Christians say, oh, well you know, Jesus promised us that we would suffer persecution. You know, Matthew 24:9 and all that.
To which all I can say is ... just a minute!
We live in what is supposed to be a free and democratic society that offers freedom of thought, conscience, and belief.
Our Constitution dates back only to 1981 and most of us in this room tonight were alive when we agreed that freedom of thought, conscience, and belief is what we did want. And it is what most Canadians want today. But it is slowly being eroded by the "human rights" system, which I call the "human" face of fascism—because that is precisely what it is.
[cries of Preach it! Sister! interrupted the talk at one point - I think here.]
As David Warren wrote in his Wednesday column in the Ottawa Citizen (June 11, 2008),
As free speech disappears in Canada, one looks for instance not at the more celebrated cases of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, but at the much less publicized fate of e.g. Rev. Stephen Boisson, convicted by an Alberta kangaroo court (“human rights tribunal”) last November for publicly expressing the Christian and Biblical view of homosexuality, on the say-so of an anti-Christian activist from his home town.
Rev. Boisson has now been ordered to desist from communicating his views on this subject “in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet” so long as he should live. He has been ordered to pay compensation to Darren Lund, the anti-Christian activist in question, and further to make a public recantation of beliefs he still holds.
Here I want to say only: None of this is the persecution Christ promised! This is merely the logical and predictable result of our moral laziness and inattention to the overall drift of our politics— for which we Christians bear considerable responsibility.
It is true that those who seek to undermine intellectual freedom in Canada aim very frequently at Christians — disproportionately perhaps, but not only, at us. As I have said elsewhere, it is their own power over society that these commissions are consolidating. The point isn't to privilege, say, Muslims over Christians but to give the "human" face of fascism the right to control what media dare publish.
I have even heard Christians suggest that we Christians can use these illiberal and possibly corrupt systems to our own advantage - "to get a little of our own back". No we can't and we shouldn't — but again, that is a discussion for another venue.
What I want to stress tonight is this: To call the hardships we face - when we behave so foolishly as to allow this to happen in what was once a free and democratic society - the persecution promised in Matthew is to betray the tens of thousands who died on active service in World War II (when Canada was firmly on the side of democracy).
Last week my father, a World War II veteran, phoned to ask me what was happening — why is Mark Steyn facing charges? And what about Rev. Boisson and Ezra Levant? Why is Maclean's facing charges? He reminded me that he had fought in the war, and the general idea was that these things would not happen here.
Today in many countries across the world people risk their lives — Christians, yes, but Muslims and Buddhists too — for responsible, representative, and democratic government. And here we are, just throwing it away.
And when we do that, we have no right to say "This is the persecution Jesus promised."
No. This is the fate of the sluggard in Proverbs:
30 I went past the field of the sluggard,
past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds, ...
(Proverbs 24: 30-31, NIV)
Believe me, when the persecution of Matthew comes, the way we will know is that it won't be happening because we ourselves have just been asleep at the switch.
Next: Question Seven: But what about our achievements? Surely we have at least some achievements?
If you want to know why there is an intelligent design controversy, coming to Canada as the Expelled movie, read: