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Commentary

Canadians would rather be ‘nice’ than right

Tue, August 29, 2006   |   Author: Ron Gray   |   Volume 13    Issue 36 | Share: Gab | Facebook | Twitter   

Yesterday I was contacted—once by phone and once by e-mail—by two Canadian Christians whose separate statements, taken together, may reveal the core reason why the church is unable to influence public policy: many times we'd rather be 'nice' than risk doing the right thing.

The e-mail, from a Christian pacifist, complained of the CHP’s (and the Prime Minister’s) support for Israel.

Look for a comment on this in a CHP Speaks Out statement about the Lebanon ‘cease-fire’: 12 reasons why it’s wrong.

The phone call said the CHP should not criticize the federal government—which, he said, has “many committed Christians.”

If that's so, why did government MPs scuttle Leon Benoit's Bill C-291?

“Clearly unconstitutional,” they sniffed—and then ruled “unvotable” the bill (which would have protected the rights of pre-born children injured in a violent crime). That means it can be discussed, but cannot become law.

Unconstitutional?!? A child, they explain, isn't legally a person until it has been born. But it's not the Constitution that denies personhood to pre-born children; it's a wrong-headed ruling by Canada's Supreme Court!

But remember: in 1871, a person of African ancestry wasn’t a legal ‘person’—according to the U.S. Supreme Court; in 1927, women in Canada weren’t legal ‘persons’—according to the Supreme Court of Canada. And today, a child isn’t a person, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, until it is fully born.

Before this can change, we’ll have to start electing Members to Parliament who are willing to stand up and challenge the Supreme Court. The CHP has such people. There are also a few such people in the other parties; the difference is that in the CHP, pro-life and pro-family politicians have a party that will stand behind them.

Will we ever learn? On the one hand, we have many Christians who would repeat the errors of 1938, and seek “peace in our time” by appeasing aggression. And on the other hand, we have Christians who want to repeat the errors of 1989—half a century later—when an earlier Tory government resisted the call to protect the lives of pre-born children.

At that time, a contingent of pro-lifers from the West Coast went to Ottawa to lobby for an abortion law, to replace the one struck down by the Supreme Court. (Please note: that decision did not say anyone has a “right” to abortion; in fact, the court said Parliament has a legitimate interest in protecting the lives of pre-born children. But Parliament lacked the political will in to defend the innocent, back then. Just like today.)

In 1989, I put a policy proposal—approved by 310 churches in the Greater Vancouver area—onto the desk of a “pro-life” Conservative MP. That MP (who was also a Christian pacifist) looked at the policy statement; he looked at me; and then he said: “But you can’t deliver their votes.”

And there’s the problem: until Bible-believing Christians can—and will—“deliver their votes”, Christian principles will have very little political effect. Only when the church is moved by moral indignation to stand up and cry (as a simple farmer did 2,500 years ago):

Let justice roll down like waters

And righteousness like and ever-flowing stream!

—only then will a tiny nation whose survival has been menaced for 50 years, and babies who haven't yet been born, both be allowed to live.



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