This showed up in my mailbox today:
The Assault on Clergy Has Begun
Supreme Court Tells PM - Parliament can not protect clergy
Dear Clergy and Leaders:
Religious freedom in Canada is seriously compromised and the assault on Clergy has begun. Today Bishop Fred Henry of Alberta is in the process of being prosecuted for expressing Biblical teachings to his flock. If the government will be so bold as to prosecute a Catholic Bishop it may certainly place you or myself on trial. We must act now to protect religious freedom and preserve the definition of marriage.
In January Bishop Fred Henry wrote a letter to his parishioners stating “Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to . . . curtail them in the interests of the common good,''. Two individuals filed complaints and now the Alberta Human Rights Commission is investigating the Bishop. The Bishop believes this is an attempt to “shut the churches out of this important debate on redefining marriage''.
This comes from the Canadian Family Action Coalition.
Two (2) count 'em, TWO people filed a human rights complaint against Bishop Henry. This constitutes an "assault" on clergy? Gimme a break...
Also, the government is not prosecuting Bishop Henry, as the letter suggests, the Alberta Human Rights Commission is investigating complaints against him. Two very different things. There is no "assault" here.
The writer continues:
The proposed law places Clergy and people of faith at great risk and offers no real protection. Bill C-38 puts forward a guise of protection for Clergy; however, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Federal Parliament cannot implement any protection. On December 9th, 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada advised Prime Minister Martin that protecting Clergy from being forced to marry same sex couples is “ultra vires parliament”, beyond parliament’s jurisdiction. The Prime Minister knows that the proposed protection is not worth the paper it is written on.
Nonsense. I, as a pastor, am not compelled to perform any weddings. Could it be that the Supreme Court has "already ruled that Federal Parliament cannot implement any protection" because clergy are ALREADY protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
It's this kind of fear-mongering that is stifling good, honest, debate on this issue.
Some Christians experience any opposition as persecution. Some conservative Christians don't want a debate; they want to dictate. They want to impose biblical law on a society that is not under covenant with God. Covenant comes before law. Not the other way around.
Christian organizations like the Family Action Coalition preach law and not gospel. They sound the alarm of doom rather than announce the good news of the Kingdom of God.
I understand the conservative position. Many gentle, loving, and gracious people in my congregation are conservative on this issue. CFAC are not among these conservatives.
Jesus was gentle with sinners and harsh with self-righteous religious leaders. Something all of us in positions in church leadership need always bear in mind.