This Week in Religion 2018-03-04

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen 

“OTTAWA — The Conservative Party decided early Thursday not to proceed with a House of Commons motion that a Canadian Sikh organization says labels its community as “terrorists.”

The Canadian Sikh Association posted on its social media channels Thursday morning that they were thankful the Tories had backed down from a proposed motion from foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole. Sukhpaul Tut, chair and spokesman for the association, is calling on the party to apologize for having written it in the first place.

One of two the Conservatives were considering for Thursday would’ve asked the House to “value the contributions of Canadian Sikhs and Canadians of Indian origin in our national life” but also to condemn all forms of terrorism “including Khalistani extremism and the glorification of any individuals who have committed acts of violence to advance the cause of an independent Khalistani state in India.” The motion concludes with support for “a united India.””


“This week, the body of the late Christian evangelist Billy Graham lay in honour in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, the home of the United States Congress. A “North Carolina country boy” who would go on to become “America’s Pastor,” Graham embodied in life, and now symbolizes in death, the power of evangelicalism and public religiosity in the United States—and, for Canadians, a reminder of the profound differences between the religious and political culture in the U.S. and Canada.

But while Graham has been lauded for his superstar quality, history overlooks the fact that when he was getting his start in the 1940s, a time when large-scale revivals were an institution in the U.S. but also in English-speaking Canada, the brightest evangelistic star was not the lanky North Carolinian, but his friend and confidant, Torontonian Charles Templeton. And in the story of these evangelists lies clues that help explain the changes in the religious landscapes of the two countries in the years that would follow.

Templeton was born in Toronto in 1915, then born again at a revival service in 1936. This conversion experience would determine the next twenty years of his life. He began preaching on street corners, then graduated to churches, and by the mid-1940s he was pastor of one of Toronto’s largest assemblies, the Avenue Road Church of the Nazarene. He was also leading some of the largest revival gatherings in North America, including rallies that packed 16,000 into Maple Leaf Gardens.”


“Does the constitutionality of the Canada Summer Jobs attestation requirement depend on whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects women’s right to abortion or more generally to reproductive freedom? The answer is no.

The federal Liberal government imposed the attestation requirement on not-for-profit, public-sector, and small business employers who apply for wage subsidies to hire secondary and post-secondary students for summer jobs. Liberals had received complaints about previous summer job funding going to summer camps that refused to hire LGBTQ staff and to groups that distribute graphic anti-abortion pamphlets.

The coming summer could also see complaints from students working in faith-based hospitals and long-term care homes that refuse to comply with new assisted dying laws. To protect women, LGBTQ, and differently abled students from employment discrimination, the Liberals require employers to sign an attestation requirement asserting they respect human rights, that is, that they do not seek to remove or actively undermine these rights.”


“A Canadian who was convicted of plotting a terror attack targeting Times Square and the subway system in New York City is asking a judge for a second chance ahead of a sentencing hearing in April.

In a 24-page handwritten submission before his sentencing, Abdulrahman El-Bahnasawy said frustration with how the West treated Islam turned him toward extremism.

The 20-year-old, a Mississauga, Ont., resident, described anger at the U.S. and its allies for “disrupting our life (sic) and murdering our civilians with reckless airstrikes …,” writing later that it was appropriate to use similar methods back. He wrote he was not trying to justify his actions, but just wanted to explain his thought process at the time.”


“Justin Trudeau’s summer jobs initiative in Canada has attracted some international publicity.

It consists of attaching checklists to any application for government funding. Applicants must check boxes to affirm that they support abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism … and so on. It is a plain religious and ideological test, and those who get it wrong become anathema to the bureaucracy.

On the face of it, the measure was silly, and my own first impulse was to laugh at a leftist self-parody. The young prime minister looks out of his depth. A man whose preparation for high political office was gym coach, nightclub bouncer and the family name was now experimenting with a kind of secular theocracy. Even quite “liberal” talking heads and pundits said the measure went too far. And the meekest of church leaders were piping up.”


“The Liberal government has given Status of Women Canada a major role to play in its feminist agenda and, now that the federal agency is set to grow into a full-size department, it could also be changing its name.

“It’s a possibility,” Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef said in an interview when asked whether the department would be shedding its 1970s-era name for something that better reflects a more inclusive vision of equality.

The 2018 federal budget, for the first time in Canadian history, went through a full gender-based analysis, which involves looking closely at how every spending and taxation measure would impact men and women, or girls and boys, in different ways.”


“A former B.C. NDP premier and one-time federal Liberal cabinet minister has some sobering words concerning the erosion of the separation of church and state in Canada in the wake of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent “religious pilgrimage” to India.

“In this story, there are larger issues that get actually get lost,” Ujjal Donanjh told the Now-Leader. “The larger issues are that you have in fact, almost sort-of, a religionization of Canadian politics when you have Hindu days and Sikh days, and politicians attend temples, but I don‘t see them attending many churches, because the social contract in Canada is that there is a separation between church and state.”

“And I hate that that contract is kind of eroding a bit, when politicians begin to look at communities through the prism of religion. And then the prime minister actually took it a step further by going to a foreign country on a trade mission and then making it all about religious pilgrimage.”


“I am concerned about the Liberal government’s new policy that bans employers from receiving job grants if they do not espouse the Liberal government’s view on social issues. When did Canada become a totalitarian state? Furthermore, it is shameful to be a part of a country that is forcing developing countries to espouse our country’s social agenda. How is this different than the colonization we regret with our First Peoples? While Mr. Trudeau is offering public apologies for wrongs exercised by the government, why not ask him to apologize to the 3.9 million Canadians that have been killed by abortion? Following that apology should be one to the children who will be killed worldwide with his “reproductive rights” social agenda and our tax dollars.

On top of all that, we now have the loss of summer job opportunities unless we accept Mr. Trudeau’s social agenda. Is this “the stronger, more diverse and more inclusive society” that he wishes to achieve? How can he truly achieve this goal when he is disregarding the beliefs of millions of taxpaying Canadians? Protecting life at all stages is a core belief of many world religions. Forcing employers to sign this affidavit in order to receive funding is in fact discriminating against religion and is therefore unconstitutional. Doesn’t he know that religious organizations are the backbone of many Canadian communities? When government funds fall short, it is religious organizations that step in to take care of the needy and the marginalized. Even if the work of summer students in a religious organization has nothing to do with so-called “reproductive rights,” these organizations cannot in good conscience sign this ridiculous affidavit. There are many good organizations in Guelph that will be at a loss without these summer grants.

Furthermore, with “pro-choice” messages dominating the media and our own prime minister constantly bombarding us with his social agenda, it is no wonder young women fall prey to thinking they have no choice but to abort their child. Thank goodness for the work of former summer students from Guelph and Area Right to Life who created outreach programs that let young women know about the support available right here in Guelph. They are letting these women know that they actually do have a choice, a choice that both they and their child can live with.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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