Author: Colin Postma

05 Aug 2021 Cash rewards for identifying hate speech? More restrictions on Canadians’ freedom of expression proposed in Bill C-36

  “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” – George Orwell, 1984 In George Orwell's famous dystopian novel '1984', the Ministry of Love – a government entity of the fictional country Oceania – controls every aspect of people's lives. They control what citizens are permitted to say, do, and even think. To achieve this level of control, the Ministry pursues practices of intense intelligence gathering and monitors every moment of their citizens' lives. It seems the Canadian federal government has taken...

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16 Mar 2021 Grassroots Campaign on worship services in Ontario

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]After lockdowns last Spring and again this past Winter, Ontario has returned to the colour-coded system with most regions returning to either 'red', 'orange', or 'yellow' zones. As a result, churches in those regions are now able to meet again with a 30% capacity cap for worship services. Some congregations in areas like Toronto, Peel, and Lambton remain in the 'grey' zone – under lockdown. As such, we were happy to hear the announcement on March 12 that allows for a 15% capacity...

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10 Feb 2021 Haggai and the call to rebuild the temple: a case study in church-state relations

Canadians find themselves beginning 2021 under varying levels of lockdown. Across our country churches are wrestling with how to respond. The Bible seems to contain few practical examples of believers facing something comparable to our current scenario. However, over the Christmas break, I stumbled across an article about the story of Haggai and its connection to the book of Ezra. The story struck me as having particular relevance, or at least uncanny parallels, for the church in Canada today. I offer this reflection not to recommend a particular way forward...

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10 Feb 2021 Online porn industry under government scrutiny – ARPA submits policy brief to Ethics Committee

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] The House of Commons Standing Committee on Information, Privacy, and Ethics is studying the question of 'Protection of Privacy and reputation on Platforms such as Pornhub.' As we discussed in previous posts (here from Dec 17th and here from Jan 27th), the December 4, 2020 New York Times exposé on the porn industry has brought a welcome level of concerned attention to the website and business model of Pornhub and the Mindgeek corporation based in Montreal. Parliament needs to address the fact that these...

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27 Jan 2021 S-203: Petition for online sexually explicit material & PornHub developments

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_empty_space]Download the printable petition![vc_empty_space][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Petitions are a tool for political action. This might be obvious to some, but there are some advantages that not a lot of people know about. For example, the petition linked above on Bill S-203 - An Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material - for every 25 signatures received this issue can be brought to the attention to the House of Commons with a short speech. What if you can't get 25 people to sign? No...

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13 Jan 2021 Jan 17, 2021 – ‘Statement Sunday’

Bill C-6 regarding ‘Conversion Therapy’ has been moving very quickly through the various stages toward becoming law. We expect it will be sent to the Senate for review in the last week of January, then back to Parliament for final reading before likely becoming law.  There is a very real possibility that Bill C-6 will soon become law. This means that aspects of pastoral care for people with same-sex attraction or gender questions will become illegal. The government intends to use the Criminal Code to influence conversations on human identity, sexuality...

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17 Dec 2020 Canadian-based site Pornhub under fire

(At the bottom of this article is a call to action: Please sign the petition sponsored by MP Arnold Viersen in the House of Commons asking the government to act to protect young people from exposure to pornography.) In a year where good news has been in short supply, it is wonderful to see rapid positive developments on an issue that we've been concerned about for a long time. An exposé post in The New York Times targeted Pornhub, a Canadian based for-profit pornography business. The article highlighted major problems relating...

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14 Dec 2020 Supreme Court of Canada heard another important church government case on Wednesday

On Wednesday, December 9th, ARPA Canada participated in the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al.  The video recording of the hearing is available here (see ARPA at 56:30) and you can read ARPA’s written submissions here. This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) regarding their membership status and other matters. The controversy that gave...

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30 Nov 2020 The Regulative Principle and church lockdowns

The Regulative Principle and church lockdowns Returning to gathered worship is of vital importance *** “All of Manitoba moves to CRITICAL (RED) on #restartMB pandemic response system” So declares a press statement from the Government of Manitoba. With those twelve words, Christians in Manitoba are once again being plunged into the murky realm of “virtual worship.” For several months in early 2020 a full lockdown was mandated in the province and churches there were forbidden to open their doors. Now, once again, “religious and cultural gatherings must close or be provided virtually only,” states...

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01 Oct 2020 Federal Liberals retable criminal ban on “conversion therapy” with major legal implications for pastoral ministry

On October 1, 2020 the federal Liberal government tabled Bill C-6 (which was before Parliament earlier this year as Bill C-8). The bill defines conversion therapy as any “practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.” In case that is unclear, let me apply it directly to the pastoral work of the church. This bill, if passed as written, would make it a criminal offence to help a person struggling with...

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