In Canada, the Alberta provincial Human Rights Commission (AHRC) fined a Calgary private school $26,000 for refusing to allow two Muslim students to pray on campus grounds. The AHRC tribunal declared that the Webber Academy caused the two 14-year-old students distress and loss of dignity. Neil Webber, president and founder of the Webber Academy, responded, “We are not discriminating against anybody on the basis of religion. We are a non-denominational school. We’ve operated on that basis for the last 18 years.” Apparently the school tries to create a learning environment that is free from religious influences. The tribunal thought otherwise.
The head of the human rights tribunal ruling stated: “Despite the respondent’s specifically stated goal of making people of all religious backgrounds feel welcome, its actions, objectively viewed, were not welcoming.” I am skeptical about whether 21st century representatives of the state—whether provincial, federal, judicial or quasi-judicial—are capable of viewing things objectively.
In an era when Christian prayer has been banned from schools, municipal council chambers, and government officialdom of any sort, it is revealing that Muslims’ right to public prayers would be defended. Remember at about the same time as the AHRC ruling, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled against Catholic prayers in Quebec municipal meetings.
If it causes stress and loss of dignity to stop the Muslim’s prayers in a public place, can’t the same be said about stopping Christian public prayers? Someone may say there is a difference between a private school and municipal council meetings, and that is true. The consistent thread, however, is that secular government bodies were passing judgments on matters of faith—from a perspective of predetermined, arbitrary ideas of pluralism and multiculturalism. I have a sneaking suspicion that the balances of multicultural pluralism have been weighted.
There’s something much larger at play than legal or policy decisions. In a larger societal context, we are witnessing increasing intolerance of Christianity (and the Bible) and tolerance of other religions and no religion. We do not have genuine multiculturalism. What we have is an entity called multiculturalism used as a battering ram against western civilization in general and western Christian civilization in particular.
American Judge Robert Bork wrote about this within an educational context in his book Slouching Toward Gomorrah:
A curriculum designed to foster understanding of other cultures would study those cultures. Multiculturalism does not. . . . Instead the focus is on groups that, allegedly, have been subjected to oppression by American and Western civilization. . . . The message is not that all cultures are to be respected, but that European culture, which created the dominance of white males, is uniquely evil.
A radical judiciary and government bureaucracy, media elitists, and select pseudo-experts in education and culture are leading the multicultural attack against western civilization and the Judeo-Christian foundations that made it great.
We must face a hard truth. Christians will increasingly face hostility. We are seeing this throughout Canadian and American society. Christianity and Christian morality are anathema to many who wield power. Professing faithful Christians will be eliminated from public service by subtle and clever ways. We are already seeing this being played out in the political arena. For example, Canadian federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has declared that all Liberal candidates in the next federal election must support abortion rights. This action will effectively stop many Catholic and evangelical Christians from running for the Liberal Party. The liberal media regularly mock evangelical Christians and attack their beliefs as oppressive and dangerous to liberty, in what one television executive called a “licence to overkill.” In other words, the liberal media can overstate anything and get away with it.
In a horrible legal ruling, the Canadian Supreme Court recently struck down Canada’s laws on assisted suicide. Many Christian physicians are afraid if they refuse to participate in helping suicidal sick people kill themselves, they may face persecution. Already, Saskatchewan physicians are worried about whether conscience rights will be respected, and some have voiced their fears to me.
Do not take this lightly. All I hold dear is crumbling before my eyes. The sanctity of every human life and the previous Christian moral consensus that governed western culture for hundreds of years, and even the foundations of the family are being swept away. I fear we are at the threshold of a New Dark Age.
What are faithful Christians to do? Remain faithful and witness for Christ even in the face of withering opposition. Ultimately there is no neutral ground between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, or good and evil. Remember, Our Lord warned his followers, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15.18) The servant is not greater than the master. If we do not stand for the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church, who will?
Mark Davis Pickup has lived with aggressive multiple sclerosis for over 28 years. Although electric wheelchair dependent, Mark has spoken across the United States and Canada promoting the sanctity, dignity, and equality of all human life. He has addressed politicians and legislative committees (both Canadian and American), university forums, hospital medical staffs, religious and denominational leaders, community groups, and organizations about the critical importance of protecting all human life from conception to natural death. Mark is also a widely published writer on bioethical and Christian issues. He writes a column for Canada’s Western Catholic Reporter newspaper. Mark is the recipient of numerous awards including the Monsignor Bill Irwin Award for Ethical Excellence, the William Kurelek Award for fostering respect and appreciation for the dignity of human life (Canada), and a Governor General’s Medal for Community Service.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at humanlifematters.org/2015/05/a-battering-ram-of-liberalism.html.