Christian groups in Canada are concerned over the passage of a bill that includes "sexual orientation" among groups specially protected from hate crimes. Christians have protested the bill for months saying that the Bible's condemnation of homosexual acts could be considered hate literature, but yesterday the Canadian Senate passed the bill 59-11 following a decade-long effort by a gay MP.
"While opposing the promotion of hatred against anyone, we are deeply concerned about the chilling effect this legislation may have on the legitimate expression of religious belief," said Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
The existing hate crimes law makes it illegal to incite hatred against an identifiable group based on color, race, religion, and ethnicity, but by adding sexual orientation, Christians fear that the freedom to oppose homosexual activity either from the pulpit or in the home is in danger. "Christians have seen their rights to dissent restricted by case after case in the courts," said Janet Epp Buckingham, director of Law and Public Policy for the EFC. "We no longer trust that the guarantee of religious freedom in the Charter is necessarily going to apply to protect religious free speech."
Lorna Dueck, a Christian broadcaster and author, wrote in the Globe and Mail, "Bill C-250 says that moral views, motivated by religious text, can be equated with hatred. Thus, if church teaching refers to homosexuality as brokenness or sin (as in, missing the ideal), it could be charged as being hate propaganda."
The main complaint Christians have is that the bill does not adequately define hate or sexual orientation. At a rally Francois Beyrouti, a Catholic priest in Ottawa, asked "Will pedophilia be considered ...1