“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
– 1 Timothy 2:1-4
IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
BEING THREATENED IN CANADA?
Is religious freedom being threatened in Canada? This is a question that is on the minds of more and more people across our nation. The Charter of Rights guarantees freedom of conscience and religion, but the courts and parliamentarians continue to wrestle with what this means and how far these rights are extended.
We want to focus on this important issue in prayer during the month of November. Following is some background information and prayer points to help you target this area in prayer.
THE ISSUES: PRAY FOR GOOD OUTCOMES
There are many of examples of religious freedom being threatened in Canada right now that need to be covered in prayer. In each one of these situations:
PRAY for wisdom for those defending religious freedom in court.
PRAY for clarity of heart and mind for the judges.
PRAY for an outcome which protects everyone’s freedom of religion.
1. Trinity Western University (TWU) law school
Because of concerns over TWU’s Community Covenant (which prohibits students from engaging in un-Christian behaviour while attending TWU) the Ontario and B.C. law societies’ have said they will not allow TWU law school graduates to practice law in their provinces. TWU challenged this in court and won in BC, but lost in Ontario. Both cases have been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in what will be a landmark ruling about the freedom of religion in Canada.The SCC agreed to hear both of these appeals together at the end of November.
3. Restrictions on the right of Christians to adopt or foster children
More than one Christian family has recently been denied the opportunity to adopt or foster children because of their Christian beliefs. In one case the social worker demanded that the family teach the children about the Easter bunny and Santa Clause. In another case, the family was denied the opportunity to adopt children because their views on gender and sexuality did not align with the state’s.
4. Freedom of speech on abortion
Ontario just recently passed a law creating “bubble zones” around abortion clinics, making it illegal to protest against abortion within 50 meters. This restriction is in place even if protestors are in no way impeding access to the abortion clinic. This law is very likely to be challenged in court as a violation of free speech.
PARLIAMENTARIANS: PRAY FOR GOOD IMPACT
Many parliamentarians are concerned about the issues above and others, which threaten Canadian freedoms. They are working to raise awareness and have hosted multiple events on Parliament Hill recently to examine and discuss these concerns and become better equipped to respond to them.
PRAY for continued and growing favour for those parliamentarians who are arguing in defense of religious freedom.
PRAY for open doors for their important message to be heard.
PRAY for a growing awareness of all Canadians to recognize and appreciate the value of freedom of religion.
1. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries on the Hill
On November 7th, two Conservative MPs, Kelly Block and Garnet Genuis, and two Liberal MPs, Judy Sgro and John McKay (pictured above) co-sponsored a presentation on the “State of Freedom of Religion in Canada” and invited all MPs and Senators to attend.
5. Committee meetings on Bill C-51 and M-103
Many parliamentarians are concerned about the possible impact of Bills before Parliament which might endanger religious freedom, such as Bill C-51 and Motion 103, and are working hard to protect religious freedom. Pictured above, the Association for Reformed Political Action presents to the committee reviewing Bill C-51.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,