Tag: Canada

Canadian researchers David Haskell of Wilfrid Laurier University and his colleagues Kevin Flatt and Stephanie Burgoyne have conducted a study of churches that finds a strong correlation between traditional theology and numerical growth. The growing churches tend to be conservative:

Those in the growing churches are significantly more likely than those at the ones in decline to agree with statements such as “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb,” and “God performs miracles in answer to prayer.” They’re also more likely to pray and read the Bible daily, the researchers found.

The authors surveyed 2255 attendees from 22 churches (13 of which were declining and 9 of which were growing). They also surveyed their church’s clergy (29).

“What we found is that the conservative theological positioning of clergy and attendees is a significant predictor of numerical church growth,” Prof. Haskell said.

On the subject of mission, unsurprisingly, the declining churches were more interested in social justice, and much less interested in evangelism.

Only 50 per cent of pastors in declining parishes agreed that it was very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians, compared with 100 per cent among the growing churches.

Read more at Globe and Mail. An abstract of the study is available here.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party have proposed new legislation to expand Canada’s blasphemy laws, er… hate speech laws… to cover transgender issues. Anyone who dares to speak wrongly on transgender issues could face penalties of up to two years in jail. You can read favorable mainstream media coverage, for example, at

Canada is no stranger to using hate speech law to curb religious expression. The Christian Post has bundled with this story a mention of the following chilling example:

An identical ban on anti-gay “hate propaganda” has been in place for several years and has caused problems for Christians who oppose gay marriage. In 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Christian street preacher for distributing fliers denouncing homosexual behavior.

The court justified the preacher’s conviction on the grounds that he used “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred” against homosexuals. The court held that the pastor’s religious freedom did not excuse him from violating “hate propaganda laws”.

The case in question from 2013 was Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v Whatcott, which ruled against a street preacher named Whatcott, an activist who had been convicted and fined in Saskatchewan Province, for hate speech. He had handed out fliers denouncing homosexual acts and the promotion of the same among public school students.

Justice Rothstein described hate speech as describing:
“…the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.”

(Source: Atlantic Canada Legal Examiner)

Now, to be fair, the opinion did take pains elsewhere to clarify that religious texts aren’t to be regarded as hate speech. Furthermore I am not going to claim moral or spiritual solidarity with Mr. Whatcott, as I haven’t read his brochures. He appears to have had numerous prior run-ins with authorities, who have found his statements to be “polemical and impolite”–I will even presume that to be understatement.

Still, to those who hold to orthodox Christianity, the message is clear. The notion of freedom of religious expression will no longer afford anyone in Canada protection against hate speech censorship.

The new socialist government in Alberta, Canada has put forth new “guidelines” (really mandates) on gender identity that must be enforced in all schools. Rules include gender neutral speech codes, and insist that children have the right to decide their own gender identity, and which washroom to use. The mandates are binding upon all schools, including (apparently) church run parochial schools. Boards that don’t comply could be dissolved by the ruling government.
(The guidelines can be read in entirety here).

The bishop of Calgary did not mince words with his reaction to this, as posted below. Let’s hope and pray that our Canadian brethren can successfully fight back against this madness.

Calgary’s Roman Catholic bishop has denounced as “totalitarian” and “anti-Catholic” the province’s new guidelines for respecting students’ gender identity.

“This approach and directive smack of the madness of relativism and the forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology,” Bishop Fred Henry wrote in a blog post on the website of the Catholic diocese of Calgary.

“Such a totalitarian approach is not in accordance with [Canadian law] and must be rejected,” he added, in a post titled “Totalitarianism in Alberta.”

(Read more at CBC News)