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Posted Wednesday, December 30, 1998


The Worm Turns: another Horror Story from Canada

Ottawa, December 23, 1998

Tired of turning the other cheek


by Charles Moore


MANY Canadians still think of Canada as a"Christian country" or, at worst, as a "post-Christian country." Alas, a more accurate term today might be "anti-Christian country," since overt hostility to Christianity has become a commonplace motif in popular culture and even government. While the slightest criticism of other cultural groups is slapped down by draconian human rights codes, Christianity is slandered, belittled and reviled with impunity.

Consider the case of Christian clergy participating in a commemoration service for those killed when Swissair Flight 111 crashed off Nova Scotia. A United Church minister and a Roman Catholic priest were asked by the federal government's protocol office to offer a prayer but instructed that no reference to Christ and no New Testament readings would be permitted. Reverend Carolyn Nicholson of the United Church felt--not unreasonably--that she had to choose between her integrity as a Christian minister and her desire to offer comfort to the families attending the service.

The federal government's prohibition is all the more outrageous in that an aboriginal Canadian was permitted to speak of her people's beliefs, a Rabbi read from the Hebrew Scriptures, and a Muslim representative recited from the Koran.

Unfortunately, this was no isolated incident. A public school teacher tells me a small group of Muslim parents in her community demanded removal of the Gideon Bible from school grounds because they might influence children against the parents' wishes. This demand was granted and the Gideons denied access to the Christian children, or indeed others who might be interested in receiving a Bible. But this same group of Muslim parents was then allowed to enter the school to explain their religious practices to students.

Why do Christian Canadians tolerate this discrimination? They are, after all, the large majority of the population. the 1993 Angus Reid/Maclean's religion poll found that 78% of Canadians considered themselves Christian. Nineteen percent professed atheism or no religion. And all non-Christian religions combined represented a minuscule three percent of the population. What gives?

One answer might be that majorities are not thought to need protection. We hears paeans of praise to "minority rights," but these are really the human rights of people who happen to be in a minority. Majorities have such rights, too. And they need protection, even in a democracy, when government agencies are staffed by people hostile to them.

The religious sociologist Peter Berger compared the United States in religious terms to a nation of Indians government by Swedes. The same could be said of Canada--with the proviso that the Swedes have more power through human rights commissions and the courts to impose an anti-Christian view on such matters as homosexuality.

A second agent of anti-Christianity is our postmodern, deconstructionist anti-culture. An article of faith among the liberal humanists who dominate Canadian and Western culture today is that no point of view may legitimately make absolute truth claims. Chrsitians, on the other hand, cannot avoid doing just that. They believe that all just law is based on God's natural law, and that moral standards of the Bible are universally applicable. Christianity invites hostility because it contradicts the tenets of liberal-humanism. We are the infidels of today.

Because most Christians cannot grant other religions are "equally true," post-modern liberals see us as intolerant. Of course, this misunderstands tolerance, which implies disapproval of or disagreement with the thing tolerated. They assume because these intolerant Christians are the majority, then society needs protection from them. So they are disposed to regard expressions of Christian belief as oppressive and other religious expressions as an exciting example of diversity.

Anti-Christianity is grossly underestimated by most Christians. Many churches have capitulated to contemporary ideological fashions, or been routed into a cowardly retreat from the oublic square.

Yet it is impossible to build a coherent nation without a dominant culture--and in Canada that is Christianity or nothing. Some of multiculturalism's strongest advocates are people who came from countries where there is little or no freedom. What they fail to see is that the prosperity and freedom they desire evolved out of Judaeo-Christian values. It is foolhardy to imagine that the advantages of Christian society can be maintained against Christianity.

© 1998 National Post
The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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