Canada (MNN) — Canada's same-sex
marriage and hate crimes legislation has had its testing in court.
with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says Pastor Stephen Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition were
punished for a letter concerning homosexuality and sin.
The case stems from a 2002 letter
Boissoin wrote to the editor of his local Red Deer, Alberta, newspaper that included this statement: "Children as
young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and
physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public
school system, all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights."
Darren Lund, a professor at the
University of Calgary, complained about the letter. The Alberta Human Rights Commission
(AHRC) ruled that Boissoin and the CCC violated Alberta's human rights law by
publishing a letter in a local newspaper that was "likely to expose
homosexuals to hatred or contempt because of their sexual preference."
The sentencing phase just wrapped
up at the end of May. Konyndyk explains,
"The tribunal ruled that Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition
had to pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal's decision
to side with the complainant."
also ordered Boissoin and CCC to cease publishing "disparaging
remarks" about homosexuals in the future in newspapers, by email, on the
radio, in public speeches, or on the internet. Furthermore, Boissoin was
ordered to publicly apologize to Lund in a local newspaper statement.
publicly stated that he "will never offer an apology" and plans to
appeal the ruling.
However, the sentence poses a difficult question for
Canadian believers. Konyndyk says, "He
has a right to have these beliefs and to express them. So when this kind of a case comes where it's
saying he can't have a moral opposition, based on biblical beliefs, then the
question is raised, 'Where does the censorship stop?'"
The team is urging other
believers to keep vigil with them, especially those who live in North America. "Pray for Boissoin as he stands up for
his beliefs in this way, that he'll feel the support and encouragement of
fellow Christians in Canada who recognize that his case should concern all
Christians as it threatens our very ability to express moral opposition
according to our Christian beliefs." (Click here if you want more details about the case)
Pray that Christians in Canada
will be free to voice their position on ethical issues without the threat of
legal action. Pray that the federal and provincial governments will pass
and enforce legislation protecting religious rights. Pray for these and
others facing complaints for raising their voice on ethical issues.