Pastors across North America are concerned about a new Canadian law that could effectively make it a crime to affirm biblical teaching about sexual morality.
The controversial legislation went into effect January 8, 2022, after being fast-tracked through the Canadian Parliament in December without extensive debate. It describes as a “myth” the belief that heterosexuality and cisgender identity are preferable. Counseling that does not align with such a worldview now carries a potential five-year jail sentence for pastors, counselors, teachers and others.
Critics claim the language of the bill is overly broad and even could encompass private conversations. Several pastors, including some who recently have been imprisoned in Canada for keeping their churches open in defiance of government health orders, explained to Fox News that they believe the scope of the new law could open the door to religious persecution.
Leading the protest against the bill in the United States is Pastor John MacArthur, whose Grace Community Church in Los Angeles won an $800,000 settlement in September after tussling with state and county authorities for continuing to congregate in defiance of the government. MacArthur believes widespread sexual immorality is evidence of divine judgment on a culture and predicted increased efforts to silence those who speak out against it.
“Ultimately, the dissenters, the ones who will not cave in, are going to be those who are faithful to the Bible,” he said. “And that’s what’s already leading to laws made against doing what we are commanded to do in scripture, which is to confront that sin. And that’s just going to escalate.
“The fact that they identified it as a criminal conduct that could give you as much as five years in prison takes it to a completely different level, because Canadian pastors have been put in jail for just having church services.”
Pointing out similar legislation that already has been passed in California, New York, New Jersey and Nevada, MacArthur sees Canada as a portent of trends already manifesting in the United States. MacArthur’s involvement in the initiative was in part because of an email he received from Pastor James Coates, who was the first Canadian clergyman to be imprisoned in the name of public health. When he refused to shutter his church in Edmonton last year, Coates spent more than a month in a maximum-security prison. Federal law enforcement later raided his church at dawn, locked it and barricaded it behind three layers of fencing.
“I believe our government is capitalizing on a politically expedient segment of its constituency in an effort to further dismantle Western civilization as we know it,” Coates said. “To do this, it must outlaw its very foundation, which is rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview. Bill C-4 is another brick laid in this effort and is evidence that our government is under the judgment of God.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice