On January 10, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals in Canada released an opinion holding that marriage commissioners in Canada could not refuse to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies on the grounds that doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The case arose after some marriage commissioners objected to performing same-sex “marriage” ceremonies. The government asked the courts whether it would be lawful for the marriage commissioners to refuse to perform the ceremonies on the grounds that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.
The court held that allowing marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies would violate the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” because it “would violate the equality rights of gay and lesbian individuals.” In a summary of the opinion, the Court described its holding by stating, “The Court held that accommodating the religious beliefs of marriage commissioners could not justify discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.”
Well what about the religious freedom afforded Canadians in its Charter? The Court had a chilling answer to that as well. It said that “the obligation to solemnize same-sex marriages does not affect or interfere with the core elements of a commissioner’s religious freedom: the freedom to hold beliefs and the freedom to worship.”
This decision is concerning on many fronts but it illustrates what ADF has been saying for many years. The conflict between the homosexual agenda and religious freedom is real and carries grave consequences for religious freedom. As Kevin Theriot pointed out in his recent blog, the current Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chai R. Feldblum, was questioned about instances when religious liberty and homosexual “rights” conflict. She stated that she would have “a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
That type of philosophy should concern every freedom-loving American. The decision in Canada, though, attempts to make short shrift of those concerns. The judges, in their eminent wisdom, assure us all that religious freedom remains intact because you can still believe whatever you wish and worship however you wish. That’s cold comfort for Canadians, though. Being told by your government that it will allow you to believe whatever you wish even though you cannot act on that belief is totalitarianism plain and simple. What good is the right to belief if you cannot act in accordance with those beliefs?
Wake up America! We are not very far removed geographically from Canada and some of our very own government officials have such a twisted view of our own First Amendment that they believe religious freedom should take a back seat to “equality.” We would be naive to believe that what just happened in Canada will not find its way into our own system of law. Especially considering the penchant some of our courts have for looking to international law to justify their decisions.
The time is short. The warning signs are not just on the horizon anymore – they are coming into sharp focus. God told Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” (Ezek. 33:7). I believe that God is giving pastors the same task today. Pastors must warn their people of this threat to religious freedom. I can’t say it better than this:
“If the Church in America will educate her people to stand against government-imposed sexual immorality, our leaders will lose the political will or power to merrily continue on this road to debauchery. But if this trend of rejecting biblical sexual morality continues, it won’t be long till it’s illegal to even preach against it. It is time for American pastors to unleash the light – lest we find ourselves where Europe and Canada have already landed.”