Freedom of Religion Tag

10 Dec 2020 Biblical Freedom ≠ Personal Autonomy (FT Pt. 2)

Part #2 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #3; Part #4 by André Schutten We began this blog series by presenting an overview of what scripture tells us about the topic of civil government, and our duty to submit to those in authority over us. We are now going to shift gears and focus on why our freedoms are fundamental, and how we can work to answer the prayer of our national anthem – a prayer for God...

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10 Dec 2020 God’s Commission to the Civil Government and the Church (FT Pt. 1)

Part #1 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #2; Part #3; Part #4 Freedoms are often tested in the crucible of national turmoil: war and terrorism, plague and natural disaster. During the COVID crisis of 2020, we have seen unprecedented limits on our fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association. So, it was fitting that we could address these issues during Fall Tour 2020 – Defending Our Christian Legacy of...

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23 Nov 2020 A Response to BC’s Ban on Worship Services

Last week, the BC provincial government issued a swath of new COVID-related restrictions, including a complete ban on worship services. These restrictions will be in effect for the next two weeks at a minimum and may be (will likely be, in my opinion) extended by Dr. Bonnie Henry if the trajectory of cases continues to increase. These new restrictions are deeply disappointing for a number of reasons. I had the privilege of discussing these restrictions on the radio on CKNW last week, and I’ll revisit and expand on some of the...

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18 Sep 2020 Look out Albertans! Bylaw Bob coming to a religious gathering near you!

A wave of conversion therapy bans has spread across the province of Alberta. Maybe not as fast as COVID-19, but fast enough. These by-laws are harsh and heavy-handed. Yet one municipality after another passed them with relative ease. Fort McMurray. St. Albert. Edmonton. Spruce Grove. Rocky Mountain House. And finally Calgary and Lethbridge. Many concerned citizens spoke out. The largest pushback took place in Calgary. There were phone calls, face to face meetings, Zoom teleconferences, and a public hearing with a record number of oral submissions from the public, including...

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08 Sep 2020 A Bubble Zone for Preaching in Vancouver?

By Levi Minderhoud David Lynn has come to British Columbia. Kicking off his national tour, the street preacher from Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries wandered the thoroughfares of Victoria and Vancouver last week, preaching the truth of Scripture with a microphone in hand and a stereo speaker at his side. A scene like this is bound to attract some attention. Sadly, the attention of our LGBTQ-fixated society has been universally negative. This reaction underscores the need for Christians to proclaim and live the gospel. Last year on Fall Tour we touched on pastor David...

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19 Aug 2020 Grassroots Campaign to Expand Worship Services in British Columbia

Between March 16th and November 19th, 2020, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry restricted in-person worship services to 50 people in British Columbia in an effort to staunch the spread of COVID-19. On November 19th, she completely prohibited in-person worship services, a situation that still endures to this day. Christians have a complicated response to these restrictions. God has commanded us to submit to our civil authorities, to gather to worship Him regularly, and to love our neighbour, yet it is difficult to fulfill all three callings in our current...

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19 Jun 2020 Churches as unifiers should not be penalized for their effective contact tracing

By pastor Gerrit Bruintjes and André Schutten For the past month, many religious leaders have been calling on the Ontario government to ease its total ban on corporate worship services. On June 12th, the Ford government issued an executive order permitting religious ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, at 30% building capacity. In our current context amidst social unrest and uncertainty, this is a good decision not only because the Charter of Rights demands this response, but also because churches unify diverse people and can trace contacts well. In the last few weeks,...

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29 May 2020 Over 400 Ontario Churches Call on Premier to Allow a Gradual Reopening

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario - a small, rural congregation that held church services in their parking lot in response to social distancing laws. I did not expect the level of response that post received. Clearly, this situation highlighted concerns about religious freedom for many in this province, and around the country! This situation highlighted concerns about religious freedom The Ontario Government, using their emergency powers during the COVID-19 crisis, prohibits gatherings of more than five people. The congregation in Aylmer sought to...

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20 May 2020 Criminal charges withdrawn against street preacher David Lynn

The Crown withdrew its criminal charges against David Lynn today, almost a year after he was arrested while street preaching in Toronto’s “gay village” at the opening of “Pride Month”. This case was politically charged from the outset. Lynn had been charged with two criminal offences: mischief and causing a disturbance. The entire incident was video recorded, however, and it quickly came to light that these charges were dubious at best. ARPA Canada’s Law and Policy Director reviewed that video last summer and wrote about the case on ARPA’s blog. At...

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29 Apr 2020 Holding Church in your Car? Not in Ontario!

This past Sunday, April 26th a small congregation met in the lazy little town of Aylmer, Ontario for worship. That sentence wouldn’t normally invite much commentary – in fact you might think it was the beginning of a novel. It might surprise you to know, however, that this was big news. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of worship in our country for the last 7 or so weeks – and rightly so. Glancing over the headlines of major newspapers, you might think this congregation packed the building, shook hands, hugged, sang...

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