Evangelicals in Canada are increasingly coming into conflict with laws and charging that they face discrimination for their views, reports Christianity Today (April 2).
The growth of anti-evangelical attitudes and a growing cultural and religious divide was revealed in the wake of the defeat of Stockwell Day for Prime Minister. Day’s candidacy “became a lightening rod for criticism and religious ridicule” among politicians and opinion makers, and the fact that the “attack evangelical” strategy did not hurt the ruling Liberal Party now deeply concerns the evangelical community, writes Denyse O’Leary.
Recent court cases have highlighted the problem. Individuals and institutions holding evangelical positions against homosexual behavior have faced new restrictions. For instance, a Toronto printer refusing to print literature for a homosexual group was fined for violating the rights of others.
O’Leary cites a recent article in the University of British Columbia Law Review, which states that the expansion of civil rights for minorities, such as gays, has encouraged the view that religion is a private matter, particularly when believers bring their faith to bear on public questions. Critics of Day say that he and his supporters have a hidden agenda to turn the multicultural and multifaith reality of Canada back to an era when Christian values were dominant.
O’Leary notes that whereas evangelicals often existed in a cultural ghetto, they became more involved in politics (such as Day and his New Alliance Party), the media and the arts during the 1980s, causing increasing friction with a secularizing elite in the country. Gerald Vandezande, a veteran Christian social activist, counsels evangelicals to treat “attack politics” as a way of talking about their values and concerns more aggressively.
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