The Christian religion has a great tradition of speaking hard truths in cultures and countries that endorse immoral opinions and activities.
Consider the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian minister, who courageously campaigned for civil rights for African Americans while segregation was the norm and Jim Crow laws were enforced throughout the South.
And think of William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian, British politician, and abolitionist whose activism in Parliament led to the end of slavery in the British Empire.
While Dr. King and Wilberforce’s activism took places decades, and centuries, ago, each era has its own failings and sinful tendencies.
In our time, sexual sins have become particularly pronounced – to the point where governments are now affirming certain sins and prohibiting individuals from helping others overcome them.
In the past five decades, hundreds of municipalities and dozens of states in the U.S. have added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) protections to their existing nondiscrimination statutes. They’ve also banned any kind of professional counseling help for minors struggling with these issues.
But these additions aren’t limited to the United States.
In December 2021, the Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-4 which makes it a crime to advertise for, cause someone to undergo or promote “conversion therapy.”
The bill alleges those who affirm traditional views on sexuality and gender “cause harm to society.” And it charges that people who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and that male and female are natural, biological realities believe “myths.”
Bill C-4 makes the following offenses criminal activity:
(a) causing another person to undergo conversion therapy;
(b) doing anything for the purpose of removing a child from Canada with the intention that the child undergo conversion therapy outside Canada;
(c) promoting or advertising conversion therapy; and
(d) receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy.
Shockingly, the bill equates advertisements for helping children with unwanted gender confusion to “child pornography.”
The bill lays out how a court should deal with material that “is obscene, child pornography, a voyeuristic recording, an intimate image, an advertisement of sexual services or an advertisement for conversion therapy.”
Bill C-4 stipulates that conversion therapy is any “practice, treatment or service” that is designed to:
(a) change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
(b) change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
(c) change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
(d) repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
(e) repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
(f) repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.
The term “conversion therapy” is an all-encompassing, intentionally vague phrase, which is so broad as to have no meaning at all. Someone defining “conversion therapy” could mean electroshock aversion therapy, hypnosis, simple talk therapy or parental guidance.
Christians oppose anything that is abusive or physically harmful.
But parents should be allowed to guide and help their children. And both parents and counselors should be able to provide talk therapy and a safe space for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity issues to share their struggles and feeling.
Because the term “conversion therapy” is so broad, Bill C-4 implicates Christian counselors with a biblical view on sexuality, and potentially pastors and parents who wish to help their children struggling with homosexuality or transgenderism.
Those who “knowingly cause” another person to undergo “conversion therapy” now face up to five years in prison for violating the law, while those who promote or advertise for conversion therapy face up to two years imprisonment.
Bill C-4 was agreed to by the Canadian House of Commons on Dec. 1, 2021, while the Senate passed it unanimously on Dec. 7. Queen Elizabeth II assented to the bill on Dec. 8, 2021, and it took effect 30 days later.
In response, thousands of Christian clergy members preached sermons on the biblical view of homosexuality and transgenderism this past weekend, after being urged to do so by a petition from Liberty Coalition Canada.
“We are requesting all bible believing Christian churches in Canada to unite together in faithfulness to Christian sexual ethics and the biblical gospel,” the petition urges.
The coalition’s president, Pastor Michael Thiessen, told Fox News that Canadian politicians, “Whether [regarding] COVID protocols, religious liberty, compelled speech — they are imposing a new social order devoid of our legal, religious or cultural heritage.”
“A regime and agenda based on lies has to be coercive in order to maintain its power. It can’t rely on persuasion, truth, or beauty. So, I anticipate further exile and punishment for non-conformists and those who will still stand and preach truth and reality in our time,” he added.
It’s often left to convictional Christians to proclaim difficult and uncomfortable truths – as in the case with Bill C-4.
But something else is also at work here.
Bill C-4 and other SOGI laws don’t just pit biblical truths against immorality, or Christianity vs. secularism.
No, there is something even more foundational at stake.
What’s at stake is reality itself.
Western culture is currently adrift in what I’ve termed an “age of unreality,” where right is wrong and wrong is right. Where millions of people currently believe some can change their sex with the right drugs and surgeries. Where the preborn baby in the womb is a “parasite” or just “a clump of cells.”
These ideas are false – and millions have been deluded into believing them, and literally believe what is false to be what is true.
So, what is the solution?
In his essay “Live Not By Lies,” Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “And therein we find, neglected by us, the simplest, the most accessible key to our liberation: a personal nonparticipation in lies! … Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies!”
And that is exactly the solution that thousands of North American clergy have opted for. In the face of authoritarian intolerance and governmental dictates making charity and biblical truth illegal, the Church chooses to live not by lies.
The Church, which has been the guardian and bulwark of truth for 2,000 years, continues Her mission to enlighten and sanctify the world and offer the message of forgiveness and freedom to all mankind.
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