Justice and Freedom

12 Aug 2020 Further reflections and clarifications regarding mandatory masks in church – Part I

By André Schutten On July 23rd I released a 20-minute video on the ARPA Canada Facebook page. In it, I gave some reflections on the bylaws that many Ontario municipalities have adopted which mandate the wearing of masks in indoor spaces, including churches. I argued that there is some unfairness in requiring people to wear masks in church and questioned whether the civil government had authority to do so. I also tried to explain why church leadership ought to wrestle with the question of jurisdiction (church or state authority on the...

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29 Jul 2020 A Christian wedding videographer and the media’s homophobia narrative

by John Sikkema On July 20, Ms. Hamstra, who operates Caramount Pictures, replied to an email request from Ms. Roberts and Ms. Arthur to be the videographer for their wedding. “I say this with much care,” Hamstra wrote, “because I know your union is incredibly important to you, but we do not film homosexual weddings.” CBC released a story on this email exchange the very next day. “The refusal came 15 years to the day after Canada legalized same-sex marriage,” CBC highlights, as if the videographer planned this for maximal symbolic impact....

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30 Jun 2020 Reflections from a Christian patriot on Canada Day

By André Schutten Happy Canada Day! Canada Day (or, for those who remember, Dominion Day as it was called until 1983) is a great day to rejoice and be glad in the gift God has given us in this Dominion of Canada. I love my home and native land. Canada is a good country to live in, a good country to raise children in, to work in, and to minister and serve others in. She is stunning in her beauty, valiant in her history, and well-formed in her founding. We have more...

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19 Jun 2020 Churches as unifiers should not be penalized for their effective contact tracing

By pastor Gerrit Bruintjes and André Schutten For the past month, many religious leaders have been calling on the Ontario government to ease its total ban on corporate worship services. On June 12th, the Ford government issued an executive order permitting religious ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, at 30% building capacity. In our current context amidst social unrest and uncertainty, this is a good decision not only because the Charter of Rights demands this response, but also because churches unify diverse people and can trace contacts well. In the last few weeks,...

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03 Jun 2020 As COVID restrictions drag on, the civil government needs guidance from the instituted church

By André Schutten I’m always moved when I read the introduction to the Belgic Confession in the Book of Praise. It explains that a copy of the Belgic Confession was sent to the persecuting King Philip II, with a letter from a group of petitioners who “declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would ‘offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to fire,’ rather than deny the truth expressed in the Confession.”...

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02 Jun 2020 Funding for Victims of Human Trafficking Quietly Removed during COVID-19

  In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian federal government has quietly removed funding for several programs that work with sex trafficking survivors. The London Abused Women's Center released a press release on May 12th announcing that federal funding for their organization and others had been eliminated. Here is a portion of what they released: After waiting for months and repeatedly contacting the Justice Department, organizations across Canada providing long-term support to trafficked, prostituted and sexually exploited women and girls discovered their funding proposals submitted to the Justice Department...

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02 Jun 2020 Still glorious and free? The duty of each Christian to stand on guard for freedom in an age of unprecedented lock-down

By André Schutten The chorus in our national anthem is a prayer: God keep our land glorious and free. O Canada we stand on guard for thee. So, what does that mean practically? Christians take prayer very seriously. It is the most important part of our thankfulness to God (Lord’s Day 45, Heidelberg Catechism). James teaches us that it’s no good to pray for the hungry and poor if we ourselves don’t also help the hungry and the poor (James 2:14-26). How does God answer our prayer to feed the hungry?...

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29 May 2020 Over 400 Ontario Churches Call on Premier to Allow a Gradual Reopening

  By Colin Postma Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario - a small, rural congregation that held church services in their parking lot in response to social distancing laws. I did not expect the level of response that post received. Clearly, this situation highlighted concerns about religious freedom for many in this province, and around the country! This situation highlighted concerns about religious freedom The Ontario Government, using their emergency powers during the COVID-19 crisis, prohibits gatherings of more than five people. The congregation in Aylmer...

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20 May 2020 Professing progressivism for emergency loans?

  by John Sikkema  What is our government doing by requiring small businesses to confirm that they do not “promote hate” or “discriminate” before they can get a loan? Imagine your business partner suffers a serious injury at the construction site. You call 911. The operator asks if you and your business partner respect collective bargaining rights. Or imagine you need cancer treatment, and hospital staff ask if you support the equal right of everyone to publicly funded medical care. Would that ever be appropriate? Does your respect or disrespect for collective bargaining or...

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20 May 2020 Criminal charges withdrawn against street preacher David Lynn

The Crown withdrew its criminal charges against David Lynn today, almost a year after he was arrested while street preaching in Toronto’s “gay village” at the opening of “Pride Month”. This case was politically charged from the outset. Lynn had been charged with two criminal offences: mischief and causing a disturbance. The entire incident was video recorded, however, and it quickly came to light that these charges were dubious at best. ARPA Canada’s Law and Policy Director reviewed that video last summer and wrote about the case on ARPA’s blog. At...

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