Congrats to Surrey ARPA for a Conference Well Organized!

Last weekend, the ECP Centre held their Ignite conference in Langley BC. The local Surrey/Cloverdale ARPA did an excellent job organizing the conference. Here are some details of what took place, along with a link to how you can order audio and video transcripts.

2008 western “Ignite our Culture” conference a smash with attendees [Update from the ECP Centre]

Equipping Christians for the Public Square has concluded another successful “Ignite Our Culture” Conference in British Columbia. Registered attendance for the event was more than triple last year’s BC event, making this year’s event the best-attended “Ignite!” conference in the history of the ECP Centre.

Themed around a discussion about “New Media and a Christian Perspective on Free Speech”, the event featured a lively and thought-provoking group of speakers.

ECP Centre President Tristan Emmanuel issued a call for a clear understanding of Biblical terminology. “God hates wickedness”, he said, “and it’s clear that Christians are also called to do that. But for society today to try to paint the defence of historic Christian virtues as ‘hate speech’ is to do exactly what the apostle Paul spoke of in Romans 1 when he talked about the slide into gross sins of people who had denied the innate knowledge of God. Not only did they slide into a whole list of sins – of which homosexuality was just one – the worst thing they did was to approve of those who practiced those kinds of sins. And that,” Emmanuel said, “is the point that our culture has come to today.”

Michael Wagner, the author of the recent Freedom Press publication “Standing on Guard for Thee, the Past, Present, and Future of Canada’s Christian Right” led off the conference with a historical overview of the opposition faced by evangelicals in trying to establish explicitly Christian broadcasting enterprises in Canada. “The strongest opposition came from the Canadian government in the form of the CRTC,” Wagner said, “but much of the mainstream religious community was also lukewarm to the idea.” This was illustrated by the fact that Vision TV, Canada’s so-called “multi-faith broadcaster”, was one of the interveners at a CRTC hearing on the issue of explicitly Christian broadcasting.
Other highlights of the conference included a speech from Connie Fournier, the co-founder of Canada’s largest political discussion forum, That website, which gets nearly 2 million page views per month, is no longer hosted in Canada. Connie and her husband sold it to a company in Panama this year; a company which describes its corporate mission as “buying websites from individuals and corporations living in countries where free speech is under attack, and protecting those websites from being shut down or seized by oppressive governments.” Connie described the history of her website, and in particular the legal struggles she and her husband have faced since being subjected to a complaint under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act last year. The complaint was withdrawn, but the Fourniers are still facing a libel suit from Richard Warman; the man who’s responsible for almost half of all the complaints filed under Section 13 of the Act. “Richard Warman is suing us,” Connie told the conference, “because some people on our website called him a censor.”

The leader of Canada’s Christian Heritage Party, Ron Gray, is currently going through the wringer of a Human Rights complaint, and he spoke on the evolution of politically correct speech. Gray pointed out that various Supreme Court of Canada rulings on homosexual rights countered the explicit wishes and thinking of the political leaders who wrote Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “The idea of including the ‘sexual orientation’ in the original draft of the Charter was discussed extensively,” he said, “but Jean Chretien – who was Justice Minister at the time – explicitly rejected the idea because ‘nobody would know what the phrase meant’.”

Stephen Pidgeon, an American lawyer and two-time Congressional Medal of Distinction winner, educated the conference on the origins of the rights of free speech. “Fundamentally,” he said, “human rights are granted by God, and not by governments. Governments can only grant privileges. Inalienable rights are granted by God. That’s why they’re ‘inalienable.’”

Al Siebring, a 30-year veteran broadcast journalist and the host of “News You Can Use” at spoke on the notion of media bias. “We have to get beyond the caricature that all journalists are ‘liberals’ with an anti-Christian agenda,” he said. “The problem is much deeper than that. There is a systemic bias in the way reporters self-define their job, which is rooted in the idea of ‘comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable’. “In today’s society,” Siebring said, “the ‘afflicted’ are people on the edges of society; gays, Muslims, transgendered people, the poor, and various minorities. The ‘comfortable’, on the other hand, are epitomized by those in the mainstream of society, especially Christians.”
Conference attendees came away from the event inspired and freshly equipped to deal with the culture around them. There was high praise for the quality of the speeches and the TownHall forum discussions, the portions of the conference where the audience had an opportunity to interact with speakers and have their questions answered. “It was good,” one attendee said, “to be motivated again to think through these important issues. We hear a lot of talk today about ‘free speech rights’, but it was good to approach these things from an explicitly Christian perspective.”

If you missed the conference, you can still benefit from the speeches…here is how

All speeches from this year’s conference are available in mp3 format, and Saturday’s conference speeches are also available on DVD. (Please note – the audio version is in mp3, which means it will only play on computer hard drives; not play in most standard CD players.)

Audio CD’s – 2008 Western “Ignite Our Culture” conference – $25.00 + GST (shipping & handling included).
All Saturday speeches from this year’s conference are also available on DVD.

DVD and mp3 CDs include:

Tristan Emmanuel – Defining our terms: “Hate” – What is it?
Connie Fournier – Muzzling free speech in the name of “human rights”
Ron Gray – Things we’re not allowed to say: The evolution of politically-correct speech.
Stephen Pidgeon – Government privileges are not God-given rights.
Al Siebring – Media Bias; Are They Out To Get Us?
Michael Wagner – Free speech: are there legitimate restrictions?

Excellent resources for Bible studies, discussion groups, or to show to your friends.

2008 Western Ignite our Culture conference audio – Buy HERE! $25.00

2008 Western Ignite our Culture Conference DVD – Buy HERE! $125.00