A proposed law could mean that the Bible would be considered hate literature in Canada.
Under the Canadian Parliament's proposed law, Bill C-250, homosexuals are added to the list of protected classes in the "hate propaganda" sections of the country's criminal code.
Stan Kellner, director of church relations for the International Bible Society (ibs.org), feels Christians should be concerned over the fact that, under this legislation, God's Holy Word could be considered hate literature in Canada. If Bill C-250 passes, he fears that evangelicals' freedom to access, discuss, and proclaim what scripture has to say about the homosexual lifestyle may be compromised.
Kellner asserts that the Bible contains "clear passages" condemning homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. Now, he says, "these folks are trying to say all of a sudden 'Well, hey, this is hate literature, and therefore it ought to be considered a hate crime to even have this published.'"
The IBS spokesman believes the proposed statute is the latest example of how Christianity is often singled out for intolerance. He says the battle to suppress evangelicals' biblical discourse shows that the Bible is unique and that Christianity stands apart from man-made and false religions.
"I don't want to pick on other world religions," Kellner says, "but I don't hear the Quran being attacked necessarily in the same way." He notes that, even in the current climate of suspicion that has been fueled by terrorist attacks and the war with Iraq, the general public in North America seems to be more tolerant of Islam than of Christianity.
And according to Kellner there is a reason why that is true. "What I'm saying is, by and large, a body of literature called the Bible stands on its own," he says, "but I think throughout the centuries -- including right now -- there are all kinds of attacks that rise up against it."
A Case of Anti-Christian Intolerance
A court case currently under way in Australia offers further evidence of the modern climate of tolerance for all but Christians -- a trial that calls into question Christians' rights to question the validity of other faiths.
According to Cybercast News, two Christian pastors recently had to appear in court in the state of Victoria to answer charges that they denigrated Islam in a seminar designed to explain Muslim teachings to Christians. The pastors leading the seminar both have personal experience with Islam, but three Muslims who attended said they were offended by what they heard in the session.
The Muslims brought their grievance to the Islamic Council of Victoria, who took it, under new anti-discriminatory legislation, to the state's Equal Opportunity Commission. When mediation failed, the three Muslims took the Christian pastors to a tribunal set up under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. The plaintiffs claim the pastors incited hatred, serious contempt, revulsion, or severe ridicule against the Islamic faith by discussing issues such as jihad, suicide bombing, and the treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic countries.
In their response to the EOC, the pastors said "Many of the complaints were about statements that are in fact part of the foundations of Islam, some taken straight from the Quran." A spokesman for Saltshakers, a Victoria Christian group that has been following the case, says all Christians in the state are affected by the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, "if they stand up and declare the truth."
And according to Stan Kellner, the most fundamental source of truth is at stake in Canada. The IBS's Church Relations director wants believers to be wary about Parliament's Bill C-250 and the repercussions it could have for religious freedom throughout North America. He says he would not be surprised if similar legislation were soon to be introduced in the United States.
© 2003 Agape Press.