Predictions of the Anglican Church’s Demise Are Far From Exaggerated

christ tries to wake apostles

A wakeup call?

What with the wounded, and what with the dead, and what with the lads that are swinging the lead, if there aren’t some changes round here and pretty damn soon, there won’t be anyone left in this old platoon.–Canadian soldier’s poetic lament in WW2

“Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” said the Rev. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest in Trail, British Columbia, who authored a report to the church’snational leadership recently.

(First, as a words nerd, my hat is off to Elliot for using the word “attender” and not the abominable “attendee” which means someone who is “attended,” and so is meaningless)

ACC membership has fallen from a peak of 1.3 million in 1961 to 357,000 two years ago. At this rate “there won’t be anyone left in this old platoon” by 2040.

The head of the ACC , Archbishop Nicholls called the report a”wakeup call” but in the same breath  warned against being drawn into a vortex of negativity,” and instead should continue to be a witness of Canada and the world (presumably about the environment, minority rights and Palestine). So, not a wakeup call.

It’s not the first time the Anglican Church has received death notices. I remember reporting on one at least 20 years ago. The United Church of Canada has got them also, quite recently. A UCC member versed in numbers, David S. Ewart, put the UCC’s data together to show that , if trends from 2003 to 2013 continued, membership in Canada’s largest Protestant church would drop by 43 % by 2025. Sunday service attendance would fall by an astonishing 77 % from 150,000 to 43,000.

A few years ago, in response to its own decline, the Vancouver Island Anglican diocese commissioned a study,which was done by a minister named Nicholosi. His conclusion amounts to an application of Ockam’s Razor ( the simplest explanation is the likeliest). If the Anglicans want to grow, he said, they have to hire new pastors trained in how to recruit new members. As it stood, the church’s grassroots clerical leadership stressed ministering to their current parishioners. Not finding new ones. Nothing was done, and Nicholosi moved to London, Ont. to a church that emphasized recruitment.

In Canada many individual Evangelical churches continue to grow and some mainline churches too, but no mainline denominations. Skeptical scholars attribute growth to high birth rates, high retention and, yes, recruitment. But recruitment is just sceptical scholar talk for evangelization. The churches who believe that evangelization is not just important, but of the ultimate importance, as in achieving eternal salvation for the evangelizer and the evangelized , are the likeliest to attract new members. Ockam’s Razor again.

In 2016 a team of scholars at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario put two and two together with a survey study of members in 22 mainline Ontario Protestant congregations, some growing, some shrinking. Their finding: the more likely the members believed that Christianity was the one, true faith and that salvation came only through it, the more likely they were to be growing.
The more relativistic the church’s members were in their personal religious beliefs (I’m looking at you, United and Anglican types), the more likely it is to be shrinking. No churches the scholars classified as liberal were growing in their sample.

I quote from my own story published in Lifesite News: “
While members of shrinking congregations tended to relativistic positions such as seeing Christ as a worthy teacher like Buddha and believing there are many roads to the good life and salvation, those attending growing fellowships agreed much more strongly with such statements ‘It is very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,’ ‘’Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God provided a way for the forgiveness of my sins,’ and ‘Those who die face a divine judgement where some will be punished eternally.’”

I believe there are other findings that emphasize theology less. Canada’s renowned sociologist of religion Reginald Bibby thinks people are hungry spiritually and emotionally and recruitable on those grounds, but maybe not so much by absolutist appeals based on exclusive truths promising eternal salvation versus damnation. Instead, he would urge reaching out to people where they are at emotionally and spiritually.

A few years ago I did a story on a conservative Anglican church planter who reached out by holding weekly dinners where people were invited to share about their feelings and beliefs. His group was called “the Table.”The goal was to “bring them to Christ” in the conventional meaning of the phrase, not to start there. This guy was definitely low church. He didn’t care,he said, if his recruits ever attended a traditional Anglican communion service or even his own group’s rock band event. Their relationship with Christ was what mattered. Traditional church services, he believed, would just weird out most young Canadians.

There is a danger in being too open. The aforementioned Nicholosi recommended open communion for example: everyone welcome to take communion whatever they believe about its meaning. Make newcomers welcome; don’t begin their experience by excluding them.

Pope Francis appears to be moving the Catholic church in this direction, by apparently encoyuraging communion for divorced and remarried Cathol,ics and active homosexuals.

I get it, but i believe it is wrong. I prefer “the Table” approach. Communion has many levels of meaning, but the highest one is that it is the Body and Blood of Christ. Only those who believe this is true and, indeed all crucial Catholic teachings, should be sharing in it. So it has been for 2000 years. For the new recruits not yet admitted fully into the body of believers, let them have dinner with the pastor and other believers.

Nicholosi believed the church has to emphasize reaching out. But mainline Protestant churches, and the Catholic church too, I fear, in general don’t have the motivation to reach out. Evangelizing requires deep, deep commitment. If you think that all religions are equally worthy, that Amazonian paganism is as good as Christianity, that you will respond to dismal trends with ironic shrugs and inaction, as will the Anglican, United and Catholic churches.

If you click on the link below in exactly the right way you will be led to the study of Ontario congregations

view of Religious Research

Volume 58, Issue 4pp 515–541Cite as

Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy by David Millard HaskellEmail author and Kevin N. FlattEmail author

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A Hidden Life: Must see movie about an antii-Nazi Martyr

Coming soon, as they say, to a theatre near you, but maybe not for long, is A Hidden Life, the latest work of American filmmaker Terry Malick. Not for long, despite positive reviews from Cannes and Toronto film festivals because it is so long like, Malick’s previous works such as A Thin Red Line, Tree of Life, and Badlands, only longer: three hours plus.

jagerstatter

It’s about Hanz Jagerstatter, lately, the Blessed Hanz Jagerstatter, a Catholic conscientious objector in Nazi Germany beheaded in 1943 by the German Army for refusing to serve, and beatified in 2007. It’s also likely to be a frank exposure of how little support the Catholic Church gave him in his resistance.

Peace activist Jim Forest, calls him “one of the least likely persons to question” service to his country, but though I recommend Forest’s free and excellent biography on jimandnancyforest.com, I think he overstates his case. My other readings on those who opposed the Nazis suggests they were oppositional types from the get go. Jagerstatter was always a standout:  the illegitimate son of a farm labourer and servant too poor to marry;  as a young man he fathered an illegitimate daughter of his own (but always maintained a connection with her and the mother).

All this in the mountain village of Saint Radegund, in Austria hard by its border with Germany. Though a Sunday massgoer, he liked to drink, led a small gang of village youths into fights in area taverns. He went off to make some money in the mines, did so but had a crisis of faith and started sleeping in Sunday mornings.  This didn’t last. Jaggermaster returned to his village—on the community’s first motorcycle, met the love of his life, Franziska Schwaninger, and underwent a transformation. His mother had married a successful local farmer who had adopted him, then died, leaving  him the farm.

His new wife, as of 1936,  was a devout girl from a devout family who soon had Franz reading the Bible daily with her. Villagers later credited( or blamed) her for his devotion and, later, war resistance. But biographer Forest notes that Jaggermaster was earlier contemplating joining a monastery, just as she considered becoming a nun. Given that he had his mother to support, his stepfather’s prosperous farm seemed his destiny, however, not a monk’s habit. He became a daily massgoer and sacristan at the village church. Village opinion seemed to be that Franz became too Catholic, to a degree unseemly in a man. By all reports, they were deeply in love

Though the 100 per cent Catholic village was far off the beaten path, it staged Easter pageants akin to Oberammergau’s drawing pilgrims from Germany. Jagerstatter played a Roman soldier in one in 1933, the last on record.

Nor were villagers oblivious to the rise of Adolf Hitler (born not too far away) and his ambition to annex Austria to Germany, which lay just across the river. In 1933 their bishop, Johannes Gfollner, issued a frank letter read aloud in every church in the diocese. It stated in party, “Nazism is spiritually sick with materialistic racial delusions, un-Christian nationalism, a nationalistic view of religion, with what is quite simply sham Christianity.” Hitler’s obsession with Aryan racial purity, the bishop described as “backsliding into an abhorrent heathenism.”

Prescient but as it turned out, an exception among Austrian bishops.

Other church leaders approved as did many if not most Austrians when Hitler’s German army swiftly occupied their country in 1938. When Hitler ordered a vote to ratify it, everyone in St. Radegund voted for it, except Jagerstatter. But either to protect him or themselves, the village contrived to lose his negative vote. By now the father of three daughters, Jagerstatter had a powerful dream of a glittering train carrying countless multitudes of happy people, especially children, away. Perhaps triggered by reports of hundreds of thousands of Austrian boys lining up for the Hitler Jugend corps, the dream spoke to Jagerstatter of these multitudes: “These people are going to hell.”

He made no secret of his opposition to the Nazis, to Hitler and to the war, when it began. If anyone greeted him with a “Heil Hitler” he would respond with “Phooey Hitler.”

His village protected the dissident at first When the local public health nurse was asked by the Nazi Party organizer in a nearby town to make a list of anti-Nazis, Jagerstatter’s name was on it. Happily for him, the local mail lady opened the health nurse’s outgoing letter and took it to the mayor who destroyed it. When Jagerstatter was ordered to report for military training, and he grudgingly departed, the major got him back by declaring his farm work an essential service.

But this could only work so long. Other men, at first single, but then married, fathers, brothers, sons, were being conscripted. Why not Jagerstatter? He, meanwhile, was hardening in his resolve to resist, boosted by reading between the lines of news reports and by his experience with military training and reports from friends and cousins on the Eastern Front. Special units were rounding up exterminating Jews and gentile villagers.The war was clearly unjust to him: he would not be fighting in defence of the fatherland, clearly, but to conquer other fatherlands, killing other farmers’ sons defending them.

His mother, his new parish priest, and ultimately his bishop (Gfollner had retired), all advised him to join the army, which he might survive, rather than refuse service, bringing certain death. His bishop told him it was not his job to decide on the sinfulness of lawfully-given orders. If the orders forced him to commit a mortal sin, it would damn the officers issuing the order, not him. This Jagerstatter did not accept. Giving his bishop the benefit of the doubt, he told his wife the cleric was probably hiding his real opinion for fear Jagerstatter was a Nazi provocateur. (The Nazis did use agents to extract incriminating statements).

Jagerstatter even tracked down his former parish priest, Father Kartobath,who had been imprisoned for a while for anti-Nazi statements and exiled from the parish when freed.  He too told him to accept military service in order to protect his family and ultimately return to them. But the priest later said, “He defeated me again and again with words from the scriptures.”

Franziska supported him. She too, she later admitted, preferred he join up, but believed she owed him her complete support, knowing how seriously he had considered the issue.

A cousin who was a Jehovah Witness also supported Jagerstatter. Several hundred Witnesses would ultimately be executed for refusing military service.

Finally, the stubborn farmer was called up again. After a tearful farewell to his wife and family, he reported for duty, but only to state his refusal to serve. A lengthy imprisonment followed and more attempts to dissuade him. Finally his lawyer persuaded him to offer to serve as a medic. This was a compromise extended to conscientious objectors on the Allied side, but the army rejected the offer. A prison chaplain who had also tried to get him to serve, at last told Jagerstatter of a priest who had been executed for refusing military service. This, the chaplain later recounted, was a big encouragement to the dissenter: virtually the sole encouragement he received from the Church.

Ultimately he was guillotined. And rightly so, was the thinking in his village and newly recreated , postwar Austria.

Jagerstatter’s story remained something of a secret until an American sociologist, writer and pacifist named Gordon Zahn learned of him while researching a controversial book titled German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars: A Study in Social Control, published in 1962 It was condemned by the German and Austrian Churches even before its release. Zahn discovered that after Hitler’s rise to power and crackdown on Catholic dissent, there was virtually no Church opposition to Nazi militarism and to Hitler’s foreign wars.

Individual Catholics and the Church hierarchy ignored the Church’s just war teaching requiring Catholics to oppose unjust wars. The Church did oppose Hitler’s shutting down of Catholic institutions such as seminaries and schools, and its policy of euthanizing the unfit, but faced with war, the Church urged loyalty and patriotism first. In 1962, the Church was making much of what opposition it did show to Hitler, and did not welcome Zahn’s exposure.

However, when Zahn decided to devote his next book to the exception that did not prove the rule, Jagerstatter, the Church was at least open to it. Jagerstatter’s example became an inspiration at the Second Vatican Council to a much stronger support for conscientious objection. Zahn’s book, pointedly titled In Solitary Witness, was published in 1967. Public opinion, even in his village, softened towards him enough to add his name to the cenotaph. His diocese eventually began examining him as a candidate for beatification.

The story raises the question, What if the Church had told all Catholics to resist? The answer seems clear: the German Church was incapable of such an instruction, so thoroughly was patriotism engrained in the German and Austrian psyches. The people in the pew would have simply thought the Church was deranged.

More power, more praise to Blessed Hanz Jagerstatter and his supportive wife, and to other Austrians like Sophie and Hans Scholl, who worked out their moral duty with God’s help only.

 

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As Rainbow Gang Chants Outside, Speaker Debunks Pro-Castration Curriculum

Pro-SOGI, pro-NDP protesters

By Steve Weatherbe

VICTORIA, B.C. , June 6, 2019 – B.C. education critic Jenn Smith finally got his say in British Columbia’s capital, delivering a devastating critique of the NDP government’s radical Sexual Orientation Gender Identity 123 curriculum supplement.

Several weeks ago he was prevented from delivering the same lecture by a mostly chanting and shouting crowd of several hundred strong SOGI 123 supporters  led in by provincial NDP vice-president Morgane Oger, outside the Oak Bay lecture venue. Police did nothing. Inside a smaller, fractious mob,  beribboned in the colours of the LGBTQ spectrum, simply yelled Smith down from a few feet away.

But this week the rebooted lecture went ahead in the City Light Church, where an audience of about 100 were protected  from several dozen yelling pro-SOGI-ites by a cordon of a  dozen Saanich police. The Oak Bay News immediately questioned the church’s tax-exempt status.

The fight is over the new ideology of Inclusion as promoted by the NDP government’s SOGI 123 public school maerial. It holds, first, that the sexes and genders are interchangeable, second, that any parent, school or church that argues otherwise is a “hater” and , third, that to oppose a child changing from male to female and vice versa is an act of “family violence” and will lead to suicide.

Smith condemned SOGI material as a propaganda effort to undermine the traditional family and worse.

“SOGI 123 is not Orwellian, it is post-Orwellian,” he told this reporter. As in George Orwell’s novel 1984, “where the State insisted that ‘peace is war,’ we are being told that male is female. And we are being required to say it and not to deny it.”

During the lengthy talk, Smith unleashed an avalanche of scholarly studies and forensic evidence to reveal the dangers of  SOGI 123 and of the push by legal, medical and school leaders to persuade BC children that biological males who identify as females can actually change into the other sex, and vice versa.

Ostensibly SOGI 123 is designed to prevent bullying of children with gender dysphoria This is the technical term for the psychological illness of believing oneself to belong to the opposite sex. Opposing SOGI 123 , its defenders claim, will lead to young gender dysphorics committing suicide.

To rebut this, Smith cited studies showing that across Canada in recent years after public schools have established  Gay Straight Alliances and other programs to promote tolerance of homosexuals and transgenders, nonetheless “suicide rates in school age youth have not gone down. They have gone up slightly.”

He showed video of parents who supported their childs’ transgendered desires, saying, “I’d rather have a live daughter, than a dead son.” Smith agreed that transgender youth have a suicide problem. However, it is not caused by their being bullied or thwarted in their desire to change sexes, he argued. According to Smith and the data he presented, gender dysphoria is frequently associated in psychological literature with other “co-morbid” psychological illnesses such as depression and, especially, autism.

Children with such illnesses are likely to be marginalized by their behaviour in school, leading to bullying on the one hand, and a resort to escapist behaviours such as gender dysphoria, and a vulnerability to confusing ideas such as gender fluidity—that changing one’s sex and gender is possible, even laudable.

Smith also noted that transgender youth may self-report suicide attempts at a much higher rate than non tg youth because they are hoping thereby to extract support from their parents to getting hormone blockers and cross sex hormones. He cited a Vancouver psychologist, Wallace Wong, who said publicly that tg youth pulled such “stunts” to get the drugs they wanted.

What’s more, Smith cited a long-term Swedish study of post operative male to female transgenders that shows they have a far higher suicide rate than the rest of the population, despite Swedish society being one of the most accepting societies in the world in terms of transgenders.  The implication is that getting their way does not solve the transgenders’ suicide problem because it does not address their underlying psychological issues, be they autism, depression, anxiety or schizophrenia.

Smith likened gender dysphoria to anorexia and displayed a picture of an anorexic girl’s midsection. Children with gender dysphoria are deluded just as anorexic children are, he said. They deserve treatment, not encouragement.

Anorexics could die of starvation, said Smith, but gender dysphorics could be rendered impotent by hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones, or their normal growth permanently impaired. Sometimes Male-to-Female transgenders are, in the case of males, castrated, and in the case of females willingly have their breasts removed. Later, if they have regrets, they cannot recover their sex-appropriate physical features.

Smith argued at the beginning of his lecture that propaganda consists not only of falsehoods that are told the public, but truths that are concealed from them. One such truths concealed is that most MtF transgenders retain their male genitals. This means that the MtF transgenders who the SOGI program says should be allowed in girls’ washrooms and change rooms will have their male genitals and sexual interest in females intact.

“Who is in the washroom with your six-year-old daughter?” he asked.

He cited two well-publicized cases of  two MtF sex offenders, one in the United Kingdom, named Karen White,  who recently sexually attacked fellow inmates in a women’s prison, and an earlier one in Toronto of sex offender Christopher Hambrook, who  molested women he was sharing a bedroom with in a women’s shelter.

The truth is not only being withheld, it is being suppressed, he said. He cited the case of a British feminist Posey Parker, whose billboard carrying the dictionary definition of “woman” was condemned as a hate crime and removed.

He also described the celebrated, recent case of the BC man who opposed his  13-year-old daughter’s being administered testosterone by the BC Children’s Hospital. When he took the hospital to court, he not only lost, but was ordered by the judge never to speak to his daughter, or to anyone else about his her, except as the boy she insisted she was. To use even female pronouns in reference to his daughter would be an act of “family violence” potentially leading to charges.

Smith also recounted how Christian crusader Bill Whatcott was fined $55,000 by the BC Human Rights Commission for describing NDP Vice President and candidate Morgane Oger as a “biological male and transvestite,” during the last provincial election.

Furthermore, Smith himself lost his Twitter account for campaigning about transgender issues and SOGI 123.

While defenders of SOGI claim its goal is to prevent bullying, Smith counter-claimed that its real purpose is to actively promote gender fluidity upon confused and vulnerable children. He cited SOGI classroom materials that require students to go to the front of their classroom and in front of their classmates place themselves on a `gender line`between two boxes chalked on the board, one reading “I am male” and the other, “I am female.” He added, “They aren’t allowed to put their names in the boxes,only between them.”

Another SOGI-recommended material for SOGI is the book, “I am Jazz,” about and ostensibly co-written by celebrated MtF transgender Jazz Jennings. In it Jazz claims, “I have a female brain” inside a “male body.”

This is intended to “confuse and indoctrinate” school children into believing they can choose to be the opposite sex. People born with male biology have unmistakably male chromosones throughout their body, Smith insisted. Nobody can have female brains and male bodies.

Smith also showed slides showing various medical specialists supporting so-called sex change therapy to make the case they get financial support from major hormone makers such as Abbvie. One Powerpoint slide showed Abbvie making $1.3 billion each year  from two drugs used for so-called sex-change therapy.

Smith told this reporter, “we are setting a precedent here if the state can force us to say that a man is a woman.” Soon Christian parents will face children sent home with sexual doctrines they oppose, with the potential of dividing families. “It’s not Orwellian. It’s post-Orwellian.”

Comment:

 Post Orwellian indeed. We all know Orwell coined the term “newspeak” to cover how the government of England  described in 1984,  would generate lies and claim them to be true. Thenn it would say the opposite and claim that was the truth. But his England of 1984 was based on the Soviet Union of the mid-century. There yesterday`s heroes were erased from Communist Party histories by diligent librarians and children were indeed encouraged at school to inform on their parents when the uttered anti-regime comments

The totalitarian state cannot tolerate independent thinking. Today`s Communist China is jailing Muslims and Falun Gong believers and extracting organs for transplant from prisoners facing death sentences. Christian churches are being bulldozed.

In Greater Victoria, advocates for the state religion of Inclusion are urging Saanich municipal council to removal the tax exemption on church property if the church can`t pass an inclusion test. Federal summer intern grants for charities to employ students in their work are already tied to inclusion tests that bans Christian organizations opposed to abortion or other aspects of “the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

This use of the property tax exemption, which is at the discretion of municipalities only for property upon which the church does not sit, to frighten churches into silence, will surely be expanded. Next will be the tax on property under the church itself—this is now automatically granted by provincial law. As such, it would  only take an amendment by the legislature controlled by the New Democrats to remove this exemption.

After that, there is the income tax exemption under federal law. It extends to churches and charities, but only if they stay clear of politics. Prolife groups which campaign for restrictions on abortion cannot get this exemption, for example. How long will it be before a Liberal or NDP or Green government/ coalition decides the test for this exemption should be inclusivity “under the spirit of the Charter.” This would mean that a church or non-profit that did not endorse abortion, gender fluidity or homosexuality would be taxed. At the same time, donors to these churches or parachurch organizations would lose the tax deduction on their gifts.

All in the name of Inclusion, the new state religion. (see a previous blog to read about the old state religion, which is the Compact Theory of Confederation.)

Against the totalitarian premise behind Inclusion, is a fundamental premise of pluralism, which ought to be the guiding principle of our Canadian democracy but isn’t. It holds that  having different independent sources of ideas about the public interest is itself in the public interest. The content of their ideas doesn’t matter so much as the existence of different generators of content. The free press and news media that are independent of government and each other, independent churches, independent judiciary, independent universities, discrete federal states within a nation, competing political parties, private and public schools, and the principle that parents are the first educators of their own children—these are all building blocks of pluralism.

In the case of Jenn Smith’s lecture, and by implication, the case of the BC father forbidden to talk of his daughter as a female, we have seen freedom of religion threatened by a newspaper and a mob, both doing the government’s bidding; we have seen the government using emotional blackmail with the suicide card to silence its critics, we have seen the “hate card” played again and again by local politicians. We have seen Orwellian newspeak enforced by courts. We have seen the primacy of the nuclear family undermined by medical, educational and legal elites.

Why has the legal profession become the leading advocate for inclusion– hat they would call human rights? It is a blatant example of corruption. Lawyers, law professors and the judges they become have been seduced by power. Formerly the protectors and administrators of the law, they have become its masters. Because every law passed legislators is now subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—as arbitrated subjectively by judges—the legal profession has supplanted Parliament. Only a handful of lawyers, professors and judges now believes that our Charter and our Constitution mean what they say. Under the self-serving doctrine of “the living tree” our judges now decide for themselves—and for all of us—what these fundamental documents mean.

But the creepiest part of the inclusion push is that, while it is the NDP government promoting it, any opposition to it is being suppressed by the lawless rabbles who crashed Jenn Smith`s first lecture attempt in Oak Bay, led by an NDP vice president. And that boutique community`s leadership supported the state religion of inclusion by simply ordering its police force to stand by and let the lecture crashers have their way.

So hats off to Saanich and its police force, with an assist, we hear, from the Victoria force, for defending our hard-earned civil rights. And hats off to the City of Light Church for the courage it showed and to the Canadian Christian Lobby for championing Smith and the safety of children.  As for Oak Bay, its council and its pretend police force,  and as for the Fernwood Community Centre, which signed a contract to host Smith and reneged at the first sign of criticism, I shake off my sandals.

 

 

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Irony, Bullying and a Do-Nothing Oak Bay ‘Police Force’

The Jenn Smith Debacle

Irony and Bullying were the themes on display at the lecture that never happened in Oak Bay last week, due to the negligence of the police force that so daintily serves the boutique citylette on Victoria’s doorstep. “No call is too small” is its motto. It ought to go on, “But some are way,way too big.”

The bullies were a yelling, screaming and intimidating gaggle of young ruffians of all genders and their target was small group of mostly senior citizens who had come to hear a lecture by Jenn Smith on SOGI. SOGI stands for the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity component being inserted into public school programs.

The irony is that the bullies were full of hate as they called anti-SOGI lecturer Jenn Smith a “hater” and his audience “white supremacists”. The double irony is that SOGI’s ostensible purpose is to prevent bullying. The triple irony is the pro-SOGI protesters were using violence and fear tactics to prevent the lecture. The quadruple irony is that the young screamers frequently screamed that SOGI would save the lives of children.

However, people are opposed to SOGI motivated by sincere concern for children. First, they believe that SOGI will achieve its goals by normalizing homosexual behaviour and transgenderism. Transgenderism is the conviction that a person born male physically can actually be a woman, can so declare himself or herself, and demand that the world treats her or him as if this were so. SOGI will encourage children to believe themselves transgendered.

Second, opponents of SOGI believe transgenderism is dangerous to the person with this belief, which used to be called gender dysphoria. This delusion, similar to anorexia, used to be treated with psychotherapy. Now  doctors, psychiatrists and leftwing judges scramble over each other in their rush to remove body parts and fill the child’s body with wrong-sex hormones. Gender dysphorics are akin to anorexics.  But we do not leap to encourage anorexics to starve themselves.

Gender dysphoria is similar: an underlying mental illness such as depression or severe anxiety expressing itself in self-body hatred. Critics of SOGI believe that encouraging tolerance for transgender children will also encourage their peers to interpret their own emotional distress as being born in the “wrong” body.

Male to female transgenders may opt for castration, with plastic surgery to mold the remnants into semi-functional female genitals. Female to Males will have their breasts removed and their own genital surgery to create a much less functional facsimile of the male organ.

So the final irony: what is the greater danger? Mutilation or bullying. But the bullying could lead to suicide, cry the LGBT advocates. The evidence is in from  long-term studies of Scandinavian men who have had so-called sex-change surgery to appear as women. They have far higher suicide rates than those with gender dysphoria who do not opt for surgery. An higher than the general population.

Almost certainly this is because their underlying mental condition—depression, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia—went untreated while they put their hopes for relief in changing their sex.

You can look it up at womanmeanssomething.com, a Canadian Christian clearing house for dissenters from the transgender ideology.

As a postscript some vignettes. As I took pictures of some protesters carrying signs, a little female protester imperiously screamed in my ear: “You can’t take their picture without their permission.”

So I patiently explained that a protester at a public event was fair game for a photographer. She made the “blah, blah,blah” sign by repeatedly opening her hand and closing it to indicate that my words didn’t matter. “You mean, in one ear and out the other,” I responded. She yelled, “Get the f***k out of here.” There were a dozen conversations going on around the room like this. It was like trying to explain the UN Rights of the Child to , well, a child.

SOmeone I know  in her seventies said to a young but quiet protester next to her, “I appreciate that you are keeping quiet so I can hear the speaker.” The woman responded, “F***k you.” And so it went.

 

 

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Why Canada’s Civic Religion Caused the SNC Lavalin Scandal

By Steve Weatherbe

 

We all have heard of the United States’ civic or civil religion, which involves the invocation of God at public events, the use of the phrase “you are in our thoughts and prayers” in public expressions of sympathy for flood victims, the veneration of past leaders, and a vague belief that America is the Promised Land.

But what is Canada’s civil religion? It is, of course, the Compact Theory of Confederation, the higher good for which any crime can be committed. The Compact Theory is the belief, held especially strongly by the Liberal Party of Canada, that Canada came about from a compact between the  Anglo Scottish Protestant majority in the Ontario portion of what was then the British colony of Canada, and the Franco-Catholic majority in the Quebec portion of Canada.

To break free of the deadlock these “two Solitudes” found themselves in, also to resist American Manifest Destiny, the French and English Canadian politicians put down their swords and agreed to make Canada into a federation that would preserve each other’s ethnic/ religious character from interference by the other, forever. The Maritimes were drawn in to give the federation more economic clout, but the essential deal was to preserve the two cultures in two provinces.

Western Canada’s provinces are seen as the offspring of this fruitful union. Their role is to make the sacrifices necessary to preserve it, and of course, to supply raw materials (watch for my upcoming , jaw-dropping column on “the Laurentian Thesis”) The Compact is, simply, sacred, though rarely spoken of. It is the highest value for the politicians and bureaucrats—the elite—from Ontario and Quebec who run the government and the Liberal Party. It is why the Liberals alternate Francophone and Anglophone leaders. It is why the infamous CF-18  maintenance contract went to a Quebec firm and not a Manitoba one back in 1986, and probably why a big naval contract just now went to Quebec firm and not a Maritimes one.

So when Liberal politicos and hacks bombarded Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould about SNC Lavalin jobs being at risk, she missed the surtext: these were not job-jobs, these were Quebec jobs. I’m sorry, Jody, what part of  Quebec jobs don’t you get? That is, sacred jobs necessary to secure Confederation from the threat of Quebec unhappiness leading to separation.

Wilson-Raybould marches to a different drum, of course. She not only comes from the West coast, she is a Liberal party newcomer, and her civil religion is centred on the use of the law to further native rights.

I get the Compact. It is surely a good thing that two cultures that had been at war on and off for decades politically and before that militarily were, in 1867, able to agree on forming a voluntary political union. O Canada!

But do we have to sacrifice the integrity of the legal system to it? Given that those Quebec jobs secure not only the holy Compact, but ongoing Liberal control of Canada with all the perqs and quarks that this entails, shouldn’t we be just a little cautious about invoking the Compact.

Unfortunately, history teaches that pandering to Quebec is a politically profitable move. It is why the Liberal Party has governed Canada for most of our history. When the Tories have unwisely taken punitive action (hanging Louis Riel “though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour”), bringing in conscription in World War One essentially to dragoon Quebeckers into the war effort, they have swiftly been punished in the polls, and for a long time.

So while other candidates for Canada’s civil religion such as environmentalism and human rights grab headlines, the Confederation Compact runs quietly on, invisibly directing the hands of Canada’s leadership.

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Why I’m Shocked But Not Surprised at the Supreme Court’s Decision on Trinity Western University

TWU Campus

Nobody should have been surprised that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the sexual preferences of a tiny minority (two-three percent) of the population take precedence over the religious rights of all Canadians (including the tiny minority of the tiny minority—Gays and Transgenders who are also Evangelical Christians). Can anything be done about the Trinity Western Law School decision?

Those who value religious liberty and all civil liberties, liberal democracy, pluralism and the Canadian Constitution as written and enacted—we should all be disappointed to the point of shock. It is supremely dismaying that the highest court in the land has reinterpreted the Constitution to mean something so opposite to its wording and, we have to assume, the intention of its drafters. The impact is potentially extremely hurtful and moves Canada in a decidedly totalitarian direction hostile to faith and freedom.

Why am I not surprised? Because the writing was so clearly on the wall when the whole issue was created by the legal professions in three English-speaking Canadian provinces—including the two biggest in Ontario and British Columbia. Their overwhelming dismissal of the religious rights of future graduates of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school indicates the direction taken by several generations of law professors. This ruling was long in the works.

Such a clear indication of where the legal profession has gone surely warns that the judges that have been drawn from the profession will hold the same views. As one then-law professor (and now a judge) told me recently: “I am the only legal conservative on my laws faculty. I know that other faculties throughout Canada are the same.” The majorities on those faculties and the lawyers and judges they have trained believe the following:

  • The Constitution and Charter of Rights means what judges say it means, not what the words convey on their face.  This has been the theme of the long, baneful reign of Chief Justice Beverly Maclachlan: the so-called “living tree” doctrine. It means that the courts are free to reinterpret the written document to suit the changing times. In effect, this provides a way to change the Constitution without resort to our very difficult amending process involving assent by a  super majority of provinces representing a majority of Canadians.
  • The importance that the Constitution gives religion—making religious freedom one of the four “fundamental freedoms” along with speech, assembly, and thought—can be, should be and has been dismissed by the courts. That was then and this is now. Canadians today place much less importance on religion than in 1982, when the Constitution was drafted, and the courts should reinterpret the Constitution to reflect this. No need to wait for the elected legislators to reflect the will of the people.
  • Diversity, which means rights for sexual minorities essentially, but also medical access for those seeking abortions and euthanasia, is much more important than religious rights.
  • With religious belief effectively demoted from its primacy as one of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ fundamentals, it survives only as one of the characteristics protected from discrimination along with ethnic and sexual minorities, gender, age etc. When conflicts arise between such groups, the courts now weigh them in the balance of relative ease of accommodation on the one hand and  relative injury on the other.

In the case of Trinity Western University, even  this “balance” approach, was not used by the Supreme Court.

Because Trinity Western University’s proposed law school has been prevented from existing under  the school’s current ban on sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage, the Evangelical Christian community in Canada, as well as conservative Christians of all denominations (conservative Catholics have already set up an adjunct to TWU), have lost  their only opportunity to have their children schooled in law while protected from the prevailing sexual mores.

But if TWU were allowed to operate its school under its current ban, not one single LGBT student would be denied a place there. They would simply have to pledge to refrain from homosexual activity while enrolled. If this was deemed an intolerable imposition they could attend any other law school in Canada and have their sexual activities defended and promoted. Moreover, they could do so for a tiny fraction of the tuition free charged by the private Christian university. (Virtually nobody attends TWU whose parents aren’t footing the bill)

Nor does TWU’s ban on homosexual activity deny them any real opportunity. The proposed school would attract candidates who would otherwise attend public universities. TWU’s law school would therefore open up opportunities for LGBT candidates in public university law schools.

What this decision does is strike a blow against diversity of thought in the name of diversity of sexual practice. It quashes debate on the issue by preventing the creation of a law school that would dare to disagree The decision must therefore be seen in the larger context of Canada’s intellectual elites acting in favour of LGBT entitlement. The country’s banks not only flash pro-homosexual messaging to customers from the back wall of their branch offices, they threaten to cut off would-be corporate borrowers who do not appoint enough LGBT members  to their boards and management, for example.

Is the situation hopeless? No,but resistance will be costly. Conservatism in the U.S. points at least one way. There legal foundations have created summer law schools to provide training for graduates of secular law schools in bringing Christian and conservative legal thinking to bear. This addresses the need for an ideological counterweight to the prevailing post-modern legal consensus which holds that laws are whatever judges want them to be and which promotes sexual permissiveness. However, it does not solve the problem of protecting young Christians who have been home schooled or enrolled in Christian private primary and high schools until now from the secular humanist, sexually permissive world view.Such students who want to study law have no place in Canada to go.

Christ never promised us a rose garden, in this life.

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Mother’s Day Reminds Us Where Science and Christianity Agree

 

 

You could call Globe and Mail Columnist Margaret Wente that paper’s token conservative, but you would be doing a disservice. She is a provocative thinker in her own right. For Mother’s Day sh focused  our Western Civilization’s abandonment of the reproductive function, in effect writing its own death warrant. Virtually every industrialized nation except the United States now has a birth rate well below replacement levels and the U.S. is only inches away from the tipping point.

The rate of immigration needed to sustain our population and our economy is arguably unsustainable culturally. We can’t bring people in from Africa, Asia or the Middle East fast enough and process and school them into proper, secularized , high-tech Canadians fast enough to sustain our economy or our rainbow mosaic of a society.

However, Western Europe’s leaders still seem to believe they can indeed absorb unlimited numbers of Muslims and turn them into perfect post-WW2 secular Europeans who keep whatever religious beliefs they have in a closet. I think Justin Trudeau and his entourage think the same.

At one remove from this is an agenda hled by many in our university and public policy elites to reduce the population sharply—down to a few billion worldwide — supported by fully robotized infrastructure.

Conservative Canadian pundit Ted Byfield used his column to applaud Wente. Some of his fans, however, got on her case for appearing to endorse evolution when she did a quick survey of reasons for having children, including serving God and perpetuating one’s genes.

So the readers’ discussion quickly moved, as web comment chains do, away from motherhood to Wente’s somewhat offhand reference to evolution and genes. Thus, Jim Mason wrote dismissively: “In fact, the ‘right’ behaviour in an evolutionary worldview is for males to impregnate as many females as possible as often as possible since evolution is simply ‘the survival of the fittest’ with the ‘fittest’ being, by definition, those that survive. Consequently, by having as many offspring as possible, a male will increase the probability of more offspring surviving and, therefore, being ‘the fittest,’ whereby, that male will be making his optimum contribution to the continuation of the species.”

But I don’t believe Jim Mason’s version of the current evolutionary take on the male imperative is correct, though it used to be. Evolutionary biologists no longer believe male promiscuity may not be as good a way to ensure the survival of one’s genes or one’s offspring as settling down with one mate and ensuring her survival and that of one’s children (and genes.). in this, they would be agreeing with God.

Of course, evolutionary theorists have no idea what really was going on a million years ago and they have no way to verify their theories. Many men have indeed behaved promiscuously. But marriage has obviously prevailed as an institutionalized behaviour while promiscuity has been condemned. Even polygamy is a form of marriage institutionalizing permanent unions.
Arguing evolution from observable human behaviour is like a parlour game, or, as some put it, a mug’s game. But, admit it, as a game, it is fun. In my view, however, Christianity has a fuller explanation for what we observe in human behaviour than do evolutionists because our explanation includes the Fall. The Fall explains why we can see how the world should work, and how humans should behave, at the same time as it is apparent that people do not behave that way.

In natural law theology, God is said to have written in human nature—in the nature of each human being—how we ought to behave. Which, being Fallen, we often ignore.

I once attended a lecture by Helen Fisher (anthropologist, author: Why We Love, about the neuroscience of romantic love). This lecture was where I learned of evolutionary thinking’s shift to seeing monogamy rather than male  promiscuity, being best for survival. Evolutionary scientists who believed marriage was best were still stumped, she admitted, to explain why promiscuity and infidelity persisted; why humans were capable of being married and sincerely committed to one person while at the same time also able to fall in love with another and be sexually attracted to a third. As faithful evolutionists, they have to believe everything that lives or ever lived has an evolutionary reason to do so.

I was tempted to wave my hand and say, “Teacher, teacher, I know why these contradictions exist.  It’s because of The Fall.”

I agree with Fisher, in other words, that it is hard to see an evolutionary advantage in adultery. If life, as Darwinists believe, is nothing but a dog-eat-dog struggle, then ensuring the survival of one’s mate and offspring is a full-time job.

However, if Christians are correct, life in the fallen world is often, but not necessarily and not always, dog-eat-dog. It is redeemable in a limited way by our faithful, charitable actions in imitation of Christ. And it is redeemable completely by Christ on His return.

Where the promiscuity idea came from, I believe, is the insect view of life. Some leading popular thinkers, notably Paul Ehrlich and Jared Diamond, wrote very deterministic books based on their study of insects. Ehrlich wrote the Population Bomb, wrongly predicting the world would run out of all natural resources including food, in the 1980s. Diamond explained all history in terms of geography. Britain was more successful than France because it was closer to North America, surrounded by water and rich in tin and then coal. Period. And so on. Diamond gives no importance to Protestantism, the Magna Carta, the cherished story of King Arthur, for example.

But humans, unlike insects, have free will, and can change their course. Humans can develop new ways to feed themselves, explore for more oil and iron and coal when rising prices encourage this.

An excellent but under-appreciated  documentary movie called Demographic Winter showed a human geographer who commented on screen that the downturn in the industrial world’s birth rate was not affecting conservative Christians, conservative Jews, and Muslims as much as others. They all saw children—and life—as God’s great gift. Therefore these “People of the Book” would slowly take over a larger and larger share of the population by virtue of their large families.

These days Muslims and very conservative Jews are doing the best job at maintaining a commitment to big families but Evangelical Christians and a dwindling number of conservative Catholics are also having big families.
May their tribe increase. While the survival of genes is ultimately irrelevant, the survival of Christian beliefs is of the utmost importance. Mother’s Day is a perfect time to remember that traditional—and large–families are the best way to ensure our faith lives.

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