The demands made by woke progressives in our culture are insatiable. Their demands are intellectually shallow, based on emotion, not reason or analytical thought. Yet these woke individuals are demanding the public bow to their slogans and their immature, unfounded notions. Any refusal to comply with them is regarded as “backlash”, created by those who do not accept the cultural innovators’ desire to instantaneously restructure society. The woke crowd believes that any dissenters must be silenced, suffer the pain of loss of jobs and businesses, and must be banned from Big Tech media, which includes YouTube, Twitter, Google and Facebook. To the woke crowd, the conservative voice is deeply abhorrent and must be eliminated from public discourse for the good of society. As a result, the basic rights of freedom of speech, thought, and religion (Section 2 of the Charter) are ignored by the cancel culture, which believes that this censorship is justified in order to prevent the expression of what they label as “hateful” ideas. In Canada, this intolerance has become a defining characteristic of leftist unwillingness to accept a viewpoint that is not its own and an unwillingness to accept any solution other than total compliance to its ideological expectations. In short, the woke culture believes that censorship is justified in order to prevent the expression of so-called hateful opinion that contradicts its own.
Nowhere has this been more obvious than in regard to individuals whose values and beliefs are based on the Christian faith. Such individuals are regarded as obstructionists to the growth of a conformist and self-righteous, woke society.
Christians in Canada
The Covid 19 pandemic has served as useful cover to attack the Christian religion. There is no other explanation as to why churches in Canada have been ordered to abide by unreasonable restrictions during the pandemic, while, at the same time, abortion clinics and liquor and cannabis stores are permitted to operate freely. Why should people be deprived of an essential comfort and hope in the time of national grief?
The closing down of the churches during the pandemic has served the government not just for health reasons, but has provided two unspoken advantages to the state. It prohibits religious worship, which demoralizes its members and prevents their interaction as a community worshipping God together. Religion, under the pandemic, is treated as insignificant and only of secondary importance. Secondly, shutting down the churches prevents the dissemination of faith-based values, such as life and family, and resistance to homosexualism and transgenderism, contrary to the secular position of the state.
Whenever individual pastors in Canada have risen up in defiance of the closing down of religious services, which the pastors believe the state has no right to do, they have been treated with undisguised hostility by the police, who have tried to humiliate and shame them. This is being done to force the pastors to surrender to the state and quietly withdraw from the public stage during this pandemic. The pastors have been angered by this control of their religious freedoms – controls determined by unelected and unaccountable public health officials. In total, there have been between 30 to 40 Christian churches across Canada which have been fined or charged for gathering to worship and, therefore, failing to comply with the government’s regulations.
It is significant, for example, that two street pastors in Vancouver, David Lynn and Dorre Love, were the subjects of numerous complaints by homosexual activists claiming that the pastors were preaching “hate” against them on the streets. In their sermons, the two pastors used microphones and amplifiers to spread their message. The police were unable to act on the complaints, however, due to the fact the pastors were exercising their constitutional right to expression of opinions and views. Therefore, the left-wing Vancouver city council attempted to curtail the pastors’ speech by amending the city’s noise control by-law to prohibit the unauthorized use of a device that amplifies voice or musical instruments. It was acknowledged that the by-law would not prevent a person from expressing controversial views in public, but would allow the police to seize amplification equipment, which would deter this activity. In effect, it was the expression of faith-based values that were contrary to secular values on homosexuality and transgenderism that was the real offense, not public health concerns.
Similarly, a pastor in Prince Albert, Sask, Vern Temple, and a street pastor in Calgary, Alberta, Derek Reimer, have been charged by police for violating pandemic regulations. The pastors, however, were both ministering to the needy by providing them with meals and the gospel on the city streets. When the pastors’ sizable fines were brought before the court, the fines were thrown out. It is notable that, according to documents obtained under the access to information act, the mayor and public health officer in Prince Albert had pressured the police to hand out the tickets.
The lesson, apparently, is that Christians who fail to comply with secular opinion may be treated harshly in Canada if they do not accept, without question or debate, the secular values of the state as determined by the woke progressives.
Disagreements in a Democracy
The proponents of both sides of any issue, even controversial ones, such as homosexuality, abortion, and transgenderism, should be permitted to express their opinion provided the views of others are treated with respect. No one side should try to silence the opposite view by claiming that it is “hate” speech. Reasoned debate has always been an integral part of a civilized society.
Further, in a civilized society, when two sets of values are put forward, no one side should experience discrimination by being forbidden to express its perspective, whether based on faith or any other principle. No one should be obligated to accept someone else’s ideology or opinion if it is contrary to their own values and opinions. Rather, everyone must be at liberty to hear ideas out, to draw their own conclusions, and to agree or disagree with the views of others. No one should have the right to tell us what we must think or say, especially if we believe such views are false. To accept such censorship is to accept the tactics of totalitarianism and dictatorship.
Those who espouse secular values are not required to change their views and, similarly, those whose views are based on religious faith, should not be required to change their values or to be denied the public expression of them. This is the norm in a democracy.
It seems Canada has fallen into a sea of politically correct, woke culture, leaving our roots of democracy behind. It is time we begin to row back to shore.