Some flags are more equal than others

As I mentioned here, for a brief period during the Ottawa March for Life, the March for Life flag fluttered valiantly atop the City Hall – until someone complained, prompting an embarrassed mayor to reassert his pro-abortion credentials and have it removed.

There is a good article defending flying the flag in the National Post.

Here is another article by Rev. Robert Lyon on selective flag flying.

Received via email:

Last Wednesday’s edition of The Record announced that all Waterloo Region public schools will fly the “pride” flag throughout June to mark “Pride Month”.  The Record quotes Board rep Nick Manning as saying that the Board wants to ensure that “public schools remain a welcoming place for everyone.”

“Welcoming” – and also “safe” – are indeed what schools should be.  Every person in a civil society, including those we disagree with, should be able to conduct his or her life without giving or receiving unkindness or abuse.  But Waterloo Region DSB’s “Pride Month” decision is hypocritical. Which makes it also unkind and abusive.

This is the same school board that decided the Gideons could no longer distribute New Testaments in the schools.  The “Pride Month” flag proclaims a particular value system to all and sundry, including those who find it offensive.  The Gideons, on the other hand, who also have a lawful value system to proclaim, sought to avoid giving offense by distributing their Testaments only to students who, with parental permission, would have requested them.  But for the Waterloo Board, even that wasn’t good enough.

The Board’s unequal treatment of these two special interest groups is flagrant.  The Region’s public schools are not “a welcoming place for everyone” – not, at least, for Christians, unless they keep their mouths shut.

“…it’s small acts like this,” Mr Manning said, “that will transform our community.”  They certainly will.  But it’s clear that the Board does not want truly authentic inclusivity.

Let’s suppose, for example, that Christians in Waterloo Region were to declare a “Jesus Month” to promote virtuous and pious living.  Would the Board fly our flag?  Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

So what’s to be done about it?  In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, Paul sends greetings from the brethren in Rome, significantly including “especially those of Caesar’s household.” Even on the staff of the imperial palace there were some who had become obedient to the Faith.  When Tertullian wrote to the Roman Senate a century and a half later, he noted that Christians had infiltrated every aspect of the life of the Empire: the towns, the country, the marketplace, the army, the courts – “and we have left to you only the temples of your gods.”  Where today are the bold, vocal Christians on our city councils and our school boards?

Pastors:  It’s time to encourage informed and capable Christians to run for public office, and for your congregations to support their candidacies.

Bishop of New Westminster joins in petition to prevent Franklin Graham speaking in Canada

Bishop Melissa Skelton has added her voice to those attempting to stop Franklin Graham’s Vancouver crusade.

Read it all here:

I’m writing to let you know that I have signed on to a letter from a group of concerned civic leaders and clergy about the upcoming visit of Franklin Graham to Vancouver as a part of The Festival of Hope. This group, of which I am a part, sent the letter in advance to Franklin Graham. He responded in writing yesterday.  I thought you might appreciate knowing the reasons why I, along with the leaders of our group, still believe that we should release the letter linked here.

The letter contains this little gem of hypocrisy:

Such blending of politics and religion is dangerous. First, it comes close to aligning the power of the church with the power of the state. Second, it does so by seeming to develop a false religious narrative to support an exalted and troubling American nationalism. Third, it can divide Christians who do not view things the same way as Mr. Graham. Fourth, we are concerned that some of the policies of the Trump administration have introduced unprecedented structural shifts that put the most vulnerable in our world at risk of greater harm. These policies may jeopardize refugees and reinforce prejudice.

For decades the Anglican Church of Canada has been “aligning the power of the church with the power of the state”. Not that the ACoC has much power but, insofar as it has any influence, it exerts it on behalf of liberal-leftist politics. Here, for example is the letter of congratulations to Justin Trudeau on his election to Prime Minister from Bishops Fred Hiltz and Susan Johnson, awash with more breathless sycophancy than could be gushed by a couple of teenage girls over Justin Bieber’s haircut:

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you as our new Prime Minister.

You have set a bold vision for our country. The times in which we live call for visionary leadership in Canada and in the world so that we may build a truly just, healthy and peaceful world.

We welcome your approach to governance and your commitment to work closely with all levels of government on issues such as homelessness, lifting children and seniors out of poverty, improving our welcome of refugees, and refocusing development assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable. Anglicans and Lutherans from coast to coast to coast share a deep concern and profound hope for justice, peace and the well-being of creation. Your invitation to Provincial Premiers and to representatives of other political parties to participate in the Climate Change Conference in Paris is an important sign of the kind of partnership needed to address critical issues.

The Canadian blooming of Franklin Graham hysteria

The Anglican Journal, bastion of liberal thinkpol, tweets its smug approval of attempts to block Franklin Graham’s visit to Canada:

Naturally, a United Church minister must get in on the act:

“We live in a country that has free speech, but there’s a difference between free speech and hate speech” said Stevenson, who is also an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada.

And there is the problem in a nutshell: if, when liberal orthodoxy is challenged, what is said is automatically classified as hate speech, then in Canada we do not live in a country that has free speech, do we?

Toronto Jesus parade back on

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Some of us, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for example, are conspicuous, noisy, brash, drug-addicted, drunken sinners. I’ve always thought that type of sinner more endearing than miscreants with a veneer of  respectability who harbour the carefully concealed sin of elitist sanctimony favoured by liberals. Just as Jesus is a friend of sinners – more a friend of the former category, I suspect – so this sinner is a friend of Jesus: Rob Ford has reinstated the Jesus parade.

From here:

Enter Mayor Rob Ford, who told the Toronto Sun her wanted the parade back on and called a meeting of all involved.

Before noon Thursday, that solution was worked out.
“He was animated” and vocal, McVety said of the mayor. “He made it clear to city staff he wanted to find a solution.”

City of Toronto refuses permit for Jesus Parade

From here:

Jesus paradeIt seems, thanks to work around Queen’s Park, the permit for the 15th annual Jesus in the City Parade Sept. 6 has been yanked by the city.

“In view of the circumstances, the Street Events section of Transportation Services cannot approve your request to assemble the parade floats and have parade participants form up along Queen’s Park,” Transportation Services’ Rita Hoy wrote on Friday. “Shawn Dartsch from our traffic section indicates that he cannot approve this request as everything hinges on the construction.”


“We were really upset by this,” said Dr. Charles McVety, of Canada Christian College. “We have been planning for the whole year and just weeks before the event, notice comes to cancel it. It’s shocking.”

To add insult to injury, McVety and Jesus in the City organizer Ayanna Solomon question why the city hasn’t helped with an alternative route.

“It is a sad day in this city when a parade for peace and love, Jesus in the City, is cancelled by city officials,” said McVety. “They would never do this to (the Caribbean Carnival) or the Pride Parade.”


Director of Transportation Services Jacqueline White said, “Unfortunately it was not possible, logistically, to accommodate the sheer number of people that were expected to participate, on the date requested, on Queen’s Park Crescent,” which is being “resurfaced, and there would be ongoing lane closures and construction equipment present.

“The weekend requested also conflicts with orientation activities at the University of Toronto and it is the opening weekend of the Toronto Film Festival, which often has activities on Bloor St.”

I am quite certain that there is no construction known to man that would have prevented the City of Toronto issuing the necessary permits for the Pride Parade a few months back.

No doubt the Anglican Church of Canada will sternly denounce this decision by the city; now I come to think of it, the ACoC, ever mindful of its priorities, only participates in the Pride Parade, not the Jesus Parade. How could I have forgotten that?

Christians can feed people but not pray for them

In Indiana, a food pantry run by Christians has been denied federal funding because the Christians offered to pray for their customers – they offered prayer, they didn’t thrust it upon anyone.

The solution is obvious: wait for atheists to set up a food pantry that will be completely devoid of prayer. Any atheist volunteers? Anyone? No? I thought not.

From here:

An Indiana congressman is looking into possible “misinterpretation” of federal guidelines after a local food pantry was cut off from federal aid for asking clients to pray, has learned.

Todd Young, a Republican congressman serving Indiana’s 9th District, has contacted state officials regarding Community Provisions of Jackson County, a food pantry in Seymour whose director, Paul Brock, insists he will not stop asking clients if they want to pray with him or one of its 45 volunteers when they receive food.

“It certainly appears there is a misinterpretation of some rules,” Young’s spokesman, Trevor Foughty, told “We want to make sure that no one is being denied the public assistance that they need.”

Brock told that he never requires anyone to pray in order to receive nourishment they need.

“We ask them if they want to pray with us; if they say no, then we just let them go on through,” Brock said. “We’re not a church. My job is to feed them and if I can pat them on the back and pray for them and lift them up somehow, that’s what I’m going to do.”


God and politics

I am usually uneasy when a clergyman or a denomination spends a lot of time advocating a particular political view: to do so inevitably seems to lead to the Gospel becoming subservient to politics. I believe this tendency is worse on the political left than the right: mainline churches in North America – notably Anglican and United – have, for the most part, replaced the Gospel with politics. The obfuscating strategy of calling their political manoeuvring “the gospel” fools no-one.

But what should be the relationship between Christianity and politics? Christians have been squabbling over this since Jesus said “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”

Two former aids to President Bush have written a book called City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era; there is an interview with the authors here. They have this to say about the Christian right:

In important respects, the old model, as embodied in the religious right, is passing away. Some of its key figures — people such as D. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell — have literally passed from the scene. Others, like Pat Robertson and James Dobson, are less influential than they were. So there is a generational shift that’s occurring.

But we also know from survey data that many Christians who are politically and theologically conservative have turned against the brand of politics practiced by religious-right leaders. Many conservative Christians are looking for a new model of social engagement; they want their leaders to display a lighter touch, a less desperate and anxious spirit, and a more gracious tone.

About St. Paul:

More than any other New Testament figure, he laid out a Christian view of the purpose of government — to restrain evil and promote justice. Rulers are God’s servants, St. Paul wrote; civil government itself was established by God. Christ Himself did not lay out a political philosophy per se; it was left to St. Paul, among others, to interpret Christian ideals in the context of his time, which of course was during the reign of the Roman empire. As a Christian you cannot engage the issue of politics and the role of government without dealing with St. Paul’s thinking.

On Bush, they say:

President Bush showed deep human sympathy for those suffering and in need — and he used the power of his office to do something about it. I think history will say about Bush that he liberated millions of people in foreign lands and, through his AIDS and malaria initiatives, saved millions of lives. As president, he respected different religious faiths and understood their power to do good even as he was deeply committed to pluralism and tolerance. He showed that in the aftermath of 9/11, with his outreach to Muslim Americans. And George W. Bush is also a man of grace. When a senior aide left the White House and later wrote a book that was a betrayal, the president pulled aside his key advisers and told them to show grace, not retribution, for this particular person. Not many presidents — in fact, not many individuals — would have done such a thing.