Fundamental Freedoms

21 Jan 2021 Constitutionality of Worship Service Restrictions Challenged in British Columbia

A petition filed by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on behalf of a variety of individuals challenges the British Columbian Public Health Orders that prohibit all in-person worship services. The names of the petitioners are not published to avoid undue attention, but it includes several pastors of churches currently gathering despite the restrictions. The petitioners are asking the Court for a declaration that the Orders forbidding gathering for worship are an unjustifiable infringement of Charter guaranteed freedoms and therefore should be set aside. There are also eight separate $2,300...

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19 Jan 2021 Vernon City Council Supports Designating Worship as Essential

Last week, the Vernon city council voted to write a letter to the provincial government, urging them to consider worship services to be essential services. The essential nature of worship is a characteristic that many Reformed Christians across Canada have come to understand while wrestling with public health orders prohibiting in-person worship services. This particular action by the Vernon city council was prompted by a Reformed Christian who decided that writing to the provincial authorities wasn’t enough. This person went further, bringing this issue to the attention of municipal Councillor Anderson. This...

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14 Dec 2020 Supreme Court of Canada heard another important church government case on Wednesday

On Wednesday, December 9th, ARPA Canada participated in the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al.  The video recording of the hearing is available here (see ARPA at 56:30) and you can read ARPA’s written submissions here. This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) regarding their membership status and other matters. The controversy that gave...

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10 Dec 2020 The Freedom to do as we ought! (FT Pt. 4)

Part #4 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #2; Part #3 by André Schutten In the third part of this series, we focussed on how our Charter of Rights and Freedoms works and how we can use it, while maintaining a Biblical posture of respect for civil authority. We’re wrapping up this series with a suggested five-step process for determining how to respond to infringements on your freedoms. Five-Step Analysis for Processing Charter Infringements So, how do we work through...

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10 Dec 2020 So what if we have legal rights – aren’t we called to just submit to the government? (FT Pt. 3)

Part #3 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #2; Part #4 by André Schutten Our last post in this series considered what is meant by freedom, and the Bible’s long influence on the development of freedom. We’ll now look at how our Charter of Rights and Freedoms works, while maintaining a biblical posture of respect for civil authority. When Charter Rights Are Being Unjustifiably Violated The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was added to our constitution in 1982. It owes...

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10 Dec 2020 Biblical Freedom ≠ Personal Autonomy (FT Pt. 2)

Part #2 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #1; Part #3; Part #4 by André Schutten We began this blog series by presenting an overview of what scripture tells us about the topic of civil government, and our duty to submit to those in authority over us. We are now going to shift gears and focus on why our freedoms are fundamental, and how we can work to answer the prayer of our national anthem – a prayer for God...

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10 Dec 2020 God’s Commission to the Civil Government and the Church (FT Pt. 1)

Part #1 of 4 in an adaptation of the ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020, Defending our Christian Legacy of Liberty. Part #2; Part #3; Part #4 by Mark Penninga Freedoms are often tested in the crucible of national turmoil: war and terrorism, plague and natural disaster. During the COVID crisis of 2020, we have seen unprecedented limits on our fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association. So, it was fitting that we could address these issues during Fall Tour 2020 – Defending Our Christian...

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30 Nov 2020 The Regulative Principle and church lockdowns

BY: COLIN POSTMA PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 30, 2020 The Regulative Principle and church lockdowns Returning to gathered worship is of vital importance *** “All of Manitoba moves to CRITICAL (RED) on #restartMB pandemic response system” So declares a press statement from the Government of Manitoba. With those twelve words, Christians in Manitoba are once again being plunged into the murky realm of “virtual worship.” For several months in early 2020 a full lockdown was mandated in the province and churches there were forbidden to open their doors. Now, once again, “religious and cultural gatherings must close or be...

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23 Nov 2020 A Response to BC’s Ban on Worship Services

By: Levi Minderhoud   Last week, the BC provincial government issued a swath of new COVID-related restrictions, including a complete ban on worship services. These restrictions will be in effect for the next two weeks at a minimum and may be (will likely be, in my opinion) extended by Dr. Bonnie Henry if the trajectory of cases continues to increase. These new restrictions are deeply disappointing for a number of reasons. I had the privilege of discussing these restrictions on the radio on CKNW last week, and I’ll revisit and expand on some...

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18 Sep 2020 Look out Albertans! Bylaw Bob coming to a religious gathering near you!

By: Ed Hoogerdyk A wave of conversion therapy bans has spread across the province of Alberta. Maybe not as fast as COVID-19, but fast enough. These by-laws are harsh and heavy-handed. Yet one municipality after another passed them with relative ease. Fort McMurray. St. Albert. Edmonton. Spruce Grove. Rocky Mountain House. And finally Calgary and Lethbridge. Many concerned citizens spoke out. The largest pushback took place in Calgary. There were phone calls, face to face meetings, Zoom teleconferences, and a public hearing with a record number of oral submissions from the...

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