Justice and Freedom

07 May 2020 A Good News Story for Victims of Sexual Exploitation

Good news in Alberta! Bill 8: Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act has recently been tabled. The goal of the bill is to protect survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. In short, the bill helps victims of human trafficking. There are some highlights worth noting: A judge has the ability to grant a protection order to the victim, which means the trafficker cannot get close to, speak to or engage with the victim. The bill adds a tort. A tort refers to a civil clause that allows the victim...

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01 May 2020 What do greenhouses teach about COVID-19?

by Mike Schouten Before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, I had only ever heard the concept of “quarantine” in two instances – the Bible and the greenhouse. The Bible doesn’t actually use the word, but rather uses the term “isolate” (NIV) or “shut him up” (ESV). In Leviticus 13 we read detailed instructions for the priests to inspect those who had skin diseases and isolate outside the camp anyone with a suspected case of such a disease. If the disease was confirmed, the isolation was to last much longer. Quarantine is also...

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29 Apr 2020 Holding Church in your Car? Not in Ontario!

By Colin Postma This past Sunday, April 26th a small congregation met in the lazy little town of Aylmer, Ontario for worship. That sentence wouldn’t normally invite much commentary – in fact you might think it was the beginning of a novel. It might surprise you to know, however, that this was big news. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of worship in our country for the last 7 or so weeks – and rightly so. Glancing over the headlines of major newspapers, you might think this congregation packed the building, shook hands,...

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24 Apr 2020 British Columbia shows restraint in COVID-19 response

by Levi Minderhoud ARPA as an organization talks about sphere sovereignty a lot. Sphere sovereignty, famously articulated by Abraham Kuyper, implies that there are many spheres of authority in society, such as the state, the church, and the family. Each of these spheres has different God-given responsibilities, jurisdictions, and means of accomplishing their tasks. Reformed Christians often criticize the state for encroaching on the sovereignty of other spheres in society. We also frequently mention the rule of law. The rule of law implies the government’s powers are limited to those granted to...

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08 Apr 2020 Is Corporate Worship “Essential”? Some Biblical Considerations for the Church’s Response.

  Essential services are a hot topic right now, as everyone wonders whether their place of employment or job description qualifies as “essential” under COVID-19 restrictions. Essential services include the obvious: nurses and doctors, fire fighters, grocery stores, child protective services, police officers. But they extend far beyond that, even including liquor and recreational cannabis stores. The result is that some businesses with hundreds of employees continue to operate with minimal oversight, while others have closed despite there being measures they could easily take to mitigate risk. Churches are not on the...

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02 Mar 2020 Ontario court lets off two pimps, declares prostitution law unconstitutional

In 2014, Parliament passed the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (Bill C-36) to implement the “Nordic Model” of prostitution law in Canada. This model, and our current law,  prohibits the purchase of sex, while granting immunity to those who are prostituted. It also prohibits third parties, particularly pimps, from promoting and profiting from prostitution. The Nordic Model recognizes the prevalence of coercion in prostitution and is designed to ensure that abuse and violence can be reported by prostituted women (and men) without fear of legal repercussions. A provincial...

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14 Feb 2020 A breach in Wall:  New court ruling casts shadow on church independence

In 2018, we told you about a Supreme Court case called Wall v Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that case, Mr. Wall took a Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregation to court for “disfellowshipping” him. Mr. Wall succeeded in the lower courts, but lost his case at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). The SCC decided unanimously that civil judges have no business reviewing a religious body’s decision to expel a member where no legal right is at stake. That case raised the fundamental issue of churches’ freedom to govern themselves, particularly in...

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18 Dec 2019 Edmonton ‘conversion therapy’ bylaw could penalize churches

Last week, Edmonton City Council officially banned “conversion therapy”. The decision was swift and unanimous. The practice and promotion of conversion therapy is prohibited within city limits. Disobedience is costly. The bylaw carries a minimum $10,000.00 fine. The bylaw prohibits any “technique”, “service”, “treatment” or “tactic” aimed at “eliminating or reducing sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex” or intended to alter a person’s “sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or gender preference.” It applies to “businesses” broadly defined (any “profession, trade, occupation, calling, or employment” or...

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17 Dec 2019 Busting Myths on ARPA’s Position on Conversion Therapy

After our Facebook live discussion of conversion therapy, we received some negative feedback from the general public. We want to respond by busting some myths about ARPA’s position on conversion therapy. Criticism #1: How can you support a practice that is condemned by scientific and health institutions? Conversion therapy is a pseudoscience that is not based on science or facts. Response: First of all, ARPA Canada does not support conversion therapy. ARPA Canada instead supports body-affirming counselling, which is being inappropriately lumped together with aversion therapies under the too often ill-defined term...

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29 Nov 2019 What’s going on with Bill 207, Alberta’s conscience rights bill?

  *UPDATE (added Dec. 5): On Monday, December 2, while MLA Dan Williams was speaking on Bill 207, a tragic incident occurred outside the Assembly, which then adjourned. Consequently, Bill 207 was delayed. It will likely be revisited in February 2020, once the legislature resumes. Last week, an Alberta legislative committee voted against Bill 207.  So, is Bill 207 dead? Not quite. Ordinarily, a bill gets debated in the Assembly at second reading. Then, if it passes the “second reading vote”, it goes to an appropriate committee for closer study, where amendments are often...

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