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Part 1: Open My Eyes to See Who I Should Vote For - Jan 2006


By Carman Bradley

This article continues the series exploring reasons why the Christian witness made so little impact on the same-sex marriage decision.  It is the first essay of three: "Part 2: 'We Believe in Tolerance and the Separation of Church and State!'" and "Part 3: The Left, Centre and Right as Christian Voting Options in Election 2006."   It scrutinizes the priority given to stopping marriage redefinition during Election 2006 and examines the voting options available to “earnest” Christians.  Believers shouldn’t be surprised to find that the last opportunity to stop same-sex marriage slipped away as Christendom displayed a contradictory and irrational voting “witness.”  To those who carried the anti-same-sex marriage fight for so long (many listed below), we give our heartfelt admiration and thanks.  To those who frankly broke faith with the burden shared by these crusaders, we ask why?  We unfortunately will reap from what you have sown, regardless of whether your breach of faith was an error of ignorance, indifference, commission or omission.[i] 


Focus on the Family Canada
The Life Training Institute
Senator Anne Cools
Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC)
Christian Coalition International (Canada)
Institute For Canadian Values
Canada Conference of Catholic Bishops
Hutterite Brethren
Equite Famille
ECP Centre
Knights of Columbus
Concerned Christians Canada
Family Coalition Party of Ontario
Vote Marriage Canada
Defend Traditional Marriage and Family
National Alliance of Covenanting Congregations
Christian Reformed Church
Hon. Tom Wappel/Pat OBrien

Catholic Education Resource Center
Inst. Study of Marriage, Law and Culture
Canadian Marriage Defense Resources R.E.A.L Women of Canada
Defend Marriage Canada
Defend Marriage Canada Project
Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
Institute for Canadian Values
Social Conservatives United
Michael Coren
Catholic Civil Rights League
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Bishop Frederick Henry
United Mothers
Association of Christian Families


Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council
Alliance for Marriage and Family
Atlantic Canada Assn. of Free Will Baptists
Christian Action Fed. of New Brunswick
Evangelical Pentecostal Church
Nova Scotia Coalition for Traditional Values
Alberta Fed. of Women United for Families
Catholic Women's League of Canada
The Office of Life and Family
Vancouver Christian Renewal Fellowship
North Shore Clergy Fellowship
Interfaith Coalition
Women for Life, Faith and Family
Promise Keepers Canada
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Canadian Christian Women Organization
100 Huntley Street
Community of Concern
Christian Legal Fellowship of Canada


Shortly after Election 2006 a concerned Christian asked an insightful question:

I’m interested in your sense of whether pastors are a help or a hindrance in this [same-sex marriage] battle.  My sense is that many are concerned but don’t know what to do, or don’t want to appear judgmental against gays.  But others only care about their own church budgets, programs, etc. and don’t care about the marriage issue – they don’t think it affects them.

You would think that if Canadian Christians (perhaps 76 percent of population)[ii] choose to make their presence felt, they could directly impact the nature of the governing authority.  In a democracy consisting predominantly of Christians, augmented by other religious communities (another 4 percent of the population)[iii], governance should reflect what the Preamble to our Constitution declares: “principles that recognize the supremacy of God.”[iv]  When the governance does not, we should be interested in knowing why our influence counts for so little.

This paper reveals how moral liberalism and anti-Christian governance will continue to prevail in our country unless Canadian Christendom takes a more unified and passionate biblical stand in the political domain.  The ineffectual Christian voice in the political arena is observed to be significantly our own fault - falling victim to outdated religious dogma and prevalent acculturation, and secondarily, the outcome of a political and judicial system (together called the “state”) that cannot be trusted to arrive at godly decisions left to their own devices.

Some Christians appear to exercise their voting responsibilities as a matter of habitual secular bias, rather than biblically reasoned choice.  For them, election time is like a period of “secular eclipse,” when the light of God’s Word is totally blocked and reception of the Holy Spirit’s counsel is fully scrambled.  At election time these secular-minded Christians voluntarily disregard their kingdom citizenship and responsibilities, preferring to recognize only their worldly residency and to consider only temporal interests.  The notion that God might have a specific will for our national governance is seen in this darkness to be lunacy, an affront to social pluralism, a blow to constitutional democracy, a breach of the dogma of separation of church and state, an expression of “dangerous” religious fundamentalism, faith taken too far, a threat to religious freedom, and for some a threat to secularism.  In this mindset, notions that the Holy Spirit is single-minded in will, that the Holy Spirit does not divide God’s people with competing convictions, that Canadian Christendom can and should collectively discern the Holy Spirit’s will on particular moral or theological governance issues are received with contempt.  [Note: In Election 2006, the collective discernment of Christendom, expressed by the sixty plus Christian agencies listed above, was that redefining marriage is wrong, is not God’s will.]  However, too many Christians at election time hold disdain for the idea of collective discernment within the church.  This view can be summarized as a question, “How dare the church advocate that its membership place voting priority on a particular issue in violation of the dogma of diversity and freedom of individual conscience?”  

It is time to concede that the “status quo” witness of Canadian Christians, based on outmoded dogmas and misunderstood relational concepts, has been a tragic national failure.  This paper tackles these dogmas head-on and challenges the reader to formulate personal responses to the following questions.

What single governance policy, if not same-sex marriage legislation, has been or could possibly be enacted with more negative consequences for Christian influence in Canada?

What is the value of collective discernment of the Holy Spirit’s will, if members of that collectivity hold no countenance to the aggregate judgment?

Does the signing of a denominational declaration against homosexual activity, at say the “2003 Algonquin Park Pastors’ Retreat,” constitute effective representation of God’s will if church pulpits remain silent on the same-sex marriage issue during the next three years of public and political debate?

Can the orthodox, the indifferent, and the liberal believers all plausibly claim that their opinions on same-sex marriage reflect God’s will?

Is God indifferent to how this country is governed?  If not, what is meant by separation of church and state?

How can Christians (God’s earthly ambassadors) effectively communicate and represent His will to society, if they vote for patently unchristian political policies?

Which voting approach is more biblical, which more likely to have the best long-term impact on the welfare of Canadians:

(1)    Voting for policies that reverence God, that acknowledge His supremacy, and that invite His divine blessing, assuming that He will respond to national expressions of obedience by providing for our needs; or

(2)    Voting for the preferred political platform regardless of its secular humanist nature, or the anti-Christian direction that it takes society, based on assessing the temporal issues of the day?

Can Canada’s best and brightest politicians overcome the consequences of God withholding His blessings from an ungodly, irreverent government and from the rebellious defiant nation that elected them?

Less than one week before the January 23, 2006 federal election, a top cleric in a respected evangelical denomination wrote a note to his pastors under the topic title, A Comment on the Upcoming Federal Election.”  Exactly who gave the following comments (cited in purple throughout the article) or what denomination he is from is not important, it is the substance of his remarks, especially coming from a senior leader in Canadian Christendom, that is cause for concern.  He will be referred to as “our lukewarm minister” meaning he is neither hot nor cold in spiritual conviction.  If church shepherds declare no discernment of God’s will in the face of Election 2006, what hope is there for the sheep?  Beyond no mention of the issue of same-sex marriage, our lukewarm pastor made the following clear:


I want to assure you of three things.  First of all, I don’t know how I am going to vote  and secondly, if I did, it would not be appropriate to share that information…it’s why we have secret ballots.  Thirdly, we don’t tell people how to vote [in our denomination].  It would be impractical, unthinkable and unbiblical to do so. [my underline]

Those churches and para-church groups who inform believers about candidates, issues and policies do the Christian community a great good and service.  Those groups, however, who from that information feel they have a moral authority to subsequently tell others how they should vote, usurp the role of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives and are in danger of greater ills than they are trying to cure. 


In these few lines, this evangelical leader has inferred:

(1)   that the political platforms of all parties are sufficiently equal in his opinion to present a voting quandary on the brink of Election 2006 (one week before the vote!);

(2)   that he is either uninformed or indifferent to the issue of redefining marriage, since only one party in Election 2006 supports overturning the same-sex marriage law;

(3)   that, if not (2) above, he must have capitulated on the idea of further resisting the matter, perhaps convinced the issue to be a done deal and believing it is now time to move on or mend wounds; and

(4)   that on pivotal matters of faith (like redefining marriage) the Holy Spirit is somehow double-minded - burdening many believers to ardently fight marriage redefinition while convicting other faithful to vote for parties supporting the legislation.

In sum, our lukewarm pastor’s “Comment on the Upcoming Federal Election” in effect shows that the witness efforts of believers and agencies (like those listed at the start of this paper) have had no impact on his voting judgment.  Moreover, he declares that the consciences of voting Christians within his denomination need not share anything in common with the spiritual burden of the ardent believers who have been campaigning for years to stop same-sex marriage.

Scripture declares one God, one Christ, one Holy Spirit, one faith, one Gospel.  In light of this revelation it is irrational to profess to be a Christian, facing Election 2006, and be indifferent to voting NDP, Liberal, or Conservative.  Christians who think otherwise need to be challenged on where they have been in the previous half decade while so many Christian agencies, most Conservative MPs, and no small number of Liberal MPs, have been fighting in a national mêlée over same-sex marriage; while the NDP and the remainder of the Liberal Party have been raising legislations aimed directly at restricting the freedom of traditional religions and assaulting the values of traditional faiths.  The notion of pastors usurping the role of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives by alerting them to the reality that Election 2006 is likely the last opportunity Christians will have to directly impact the marriage redefinition decision is neither impractical, unthinkable nor unbiblical.  There is a certain absurdity within Christendom, when Christians attempt to petition the Holy Spirit through prayer to miraculously convict Paul Martin and other same-sex marriage advocates into changing their opinions, when top-level clergy and lay leadership are not even on the same spiritual wavelength, not in agreement on the priority or importance to be given crucial religious matters.  The biblically bizarre notion, that the Holy Spirit might convict some people to vote NDP, if not Liberal, is challenged in this article and in essays Part 2 and Part 3 .  In the weeks leading up to Election 2006, clergy and lay leaders need not have draped a Conservative Party banner from the pulpit to fulfill their pastoral or leadership calling.  But they did need to at least articulate the “religious” issues from a factual perspective and then allow the Holy Spirit to work with the consciences of those in the pews.

John-Henry Westen, Editor of, writes under the editorial title, “Catholic Leadership Takes Unprecedented Role in 2006 Federal Elections”:

With the recent battle over same sex marriage and the promise to revisit the legislation, with a healthy number of MPs and current political candidates opposed to embryonic stem cell research; and with the Liberal government entertaining proposals for assisted suicide [also legalization of marijuana and prostitution], the political climate in Canada is ripe for what many see as a long overdue re-emphasis of basic Catholic moral perspectives. Even granting of parents the freedom to choose the best form of early childcare for their children is a political hot potato addressed by Rome. Letters and columns by individual bishops touching on these issues are being released by the day as January 23rd approaches. [my insert]

Ontario Catholics will soon be privy to a communication sent out by the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB).  The OCCB release on the election notes a list of ‘issues pertaining to human life that should be addressed during the federal election campaign’ and says that the ‘teaching of the Church on life and family moves us to bring these matters before the candidates.’  It urges Catholics to ‘compare the responses of candidates’ to the issues. What are the issues?  Abortion, traditional marriage, family, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia and assisted suicide.[v]

On January 3, 2006, a letter from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) was published and sent out to all Catholic dioceses in the country representing the country's 12.5 million Catholics.  COLF is an organization founded and funded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus. The letter was titled “What Country for Tomorrow?” and said in part:

On January 23, Canadians will choose a new government. The electoral campaign is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the type of country we wish to build and bequeath to future generations. As such, we find it important to emphasize certain considerations, which have not received the attention they deserve over the last few weeks.


At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem – the loss of respect for human life and dignity. This is evident in so many ways: the legal void that permits abortion right up to birth; medical research that authorizes the destruction of embryos; a mentality that increasingly favours euthanasia and assisted suicide…


The family is also under attack. The recent redefinition of marriage in our country contradicts the reality inscribed in nature. It has become urgent to announce to the next generations God’s plan for human love and marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of the family. It is also urgent to ensure that our schools respect these convictions by not proposing a conflicting vision to our children. It is our responsibility to demand that the next government develop policies to support married couples who are ensuring the survival of society by giving birth to new citizens and raising them in the most stable environment. We should also remember that the family, as the vital social unit, is not at the service of the state; rather, the state should be at the service of the family. Following the principle of subsidiarity, the state is to respect the rights of the family and, through fiscal and social policies, help it to fulfill its duties, including the raising of children…
[my underline]


The Gospel invites us to build a culture of life. Let us take advantage of this election campaign and engage in serious discernment as we consider the candidates in light of the Gospel principles. We are invited to: examine critically the platform of each party; participate in local debates; meet candidates and discuss with them; explain our point of view; evaluate these platforms in the light of the plan of God by studying the social doctrine of the Church; make an informed decision as we consider the moral implications of various electoral platforms and their eventual repercussions on our life and on the lives of all members of the human family.

The question for the Catholic voter is: How, in the light of the Gospel, can I use my vote to advance the common good in Canada and throughout the world? [vi]

Stating the position of the Catholic Church (or any protestant denomination) in this manner is not impractical, unthinkable, and unbiblical; neither is presenting from the pulpit all or some of the following arguments raised by believers and Christian agencies opposed to same-sex marriage:  



Canadian society is at a crossroad.  It has become impossible to defend the rights of alternative lifestyles while still championing the virtues of traditional ones. 

Canadian society is at a second crossroad.  It has become impossible to defend the rights of children while still granting same-sex couples parenting rights. 

The Canadian Constitution declares a heterosexist worldview; same-sex marriage imposes homosexism.

Male and female are special purposeful designs; same-sex marriage declares they are not.

Same-sex marriage announces the state’s indifference to all-female or all-male parenting, ignoring the quandary:  “Dad, Who’s My Mother?” “I Don’t Know Son.  Ask Your Father”

Heterosexual marriage protects a child’s right to know and be raised by his biological parents.

Research demonstrates conclusively that heterosexual marriage serves a child’s best interests.

Heterosexual marriage protects a child’s right to a natural network of support from her immediate biological family and extended relatives (grandparents, uncles and aunts).

Heterosexual marriage protects a child’s right to have biological, legal and care parents all rolled into one.

Same-sex union is inert.  Protection of heterosexual marriage greatly reduces the risk that children will become commodities through a process of technological baby production – sperm donor, egg donor, artificial womb or surrogate mother, and proxy mother after birth. 

Heterosexual marriage provides children with a multi-generational sense of identity.

Children born from heterosexual parents have access to their own genetic heritage for medical purposes.

Same-sex marriage asserts homosexist dogma, an ideology that publicly denies the inherently unnatural and consequently unhealthy ecology of the gay lifestyle.

Heterosexual marriage is about monogamy, not multi-partnerism.  Opening the institution to the gay and lesbian “communities” degrades the significance of fidelity.

The redefinition of marriage on the grounds of alleged Charter Rights requires that the institution eventually “evolve” to include bisexual and polygamous unions.

The end result of the state adopting a homosexist worldview will be reduced freedom of speech for those opposed to the homosexual lifestyle (Example: Bill C-250)

The overwhelming global choice for legalizing same-sex couples is not marriage redefinition but implementation of civil unions and registered partnerships. 

Saying “No” to same-sex marriage is a boundary-setting word which prevents the false assertion that homosexual and heterosexual relationships are the same. 

Same-sex marriage reinforces homosexism in the eyes of children and teenagers; an ideology which emphasizes pre-marital sexual experimentation to confirm sexual orientation.  

An institution that tolerates everything stands for nothing.


Christianity (and the other world religions) proclaims a heterosexist worldview.

Same-sex marriage imposes a homosexist worldview in the public domain, which results in a colossal collision of rights and religious freedoms.

Unrepentant homosexuals will not inherit God’s kingdom.

Same-sex marriage contradicts the witness of ex-homosexuals to divine deliverance.

God is not indifferent to sexual orientation.

God is not indifferent to experimental sex.

God is not indifferent to family variations.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be divided between liberal and orthodox, ordination and abomination.

When we get God’s will incorrect on marriage – we get everything in relation to that wrong – sexual code, procreative intent, gender roles, biblical marriage, and biblical family.

The Light and the Law are inseparable revelations from God.  Nothing in Scriptureis positive in relation to homosexuality.


Further along in his “Comment on the Upcoming Federal Election,” our lukewarm minister declares:

In subsequent months and elections we will do a much better job of making informed resources available to the [denomination] in areas of public policy and Christian response to community issues. 


What is with this Christian propensity to down play, even deny the consequences of today’s actions, today’s choices, while emphasizing some sincere hope to do better at some future time (“in subsequent elections”)?  This minister’s declaration five days before the election, along with his statement of quandary over how to vote, amounts to a confession of being asleep at the helm while Catholics and many Evangelicals have been doing their best to inform their membership of the spiritual and moral election issues.  Our lukewarm minister’s assertion to do better next time is unconscionable, the equivalent of the head of FEMA declaring to New Orleans residents after Katrina, “We will do a much better job in subsequent hurricanes.”

Two weeks after the 2006 election of a minority Conservative Government, Ted Byfield offered this prognosis on reversing Bill C-38:

Canada's acceptance of gay marriage will come before its new and more Conservative Parliament after it is called into its first session, but whether that Parliament is conservative enough to repeal gay marriage remains extremely uncertain….For myself, I think the issue will not be decided by the MPs at all, but by Christians, conservative Jews and those Muslims who joined in the unsuccessful campaign to defeat the bill last year….If opponents of gay marriage mount an equally aggressive campaign this year, I think many MPs will be either convinced or frightened into supporting repeal. But if they fall victim to the old liberal argument that the public acceptance of sexual profligacy in all its forms is inevitable, then the bill to repeal gay marriage will fail.[vii]

Mr. Byfield rightly identifies “Christians” as the key to any successful reversal of the same-sex marriage law; however, to advocate an aggressive campaign - post election – to win the day, is truly “living in denial” of the political realities, is truly down playing the consequence of voting in a government consisting of a minority of traditional marriage supporters.  The optimum time to have influenced marriage redefinition was January 23, Election Day.  If Christians are not sufficiently informed, motivated and organized to effectively assert their will (presumably the Holy Spirit’s burden) during an election campaign culminating at the ballot box, then trying to make their point-of-view “in subsequent months” (or “elections”) is really spurious voting clout, if not political naiveté.  The fact of the matter, for over fifty years the Christian majority in Canada need not be taken seriously as a so-called “interest group” because too few take a firm stand for their religious beliefs.  When political candidates only champion Christian causes at their election peril, is it any wonder that the country has taken an anti-Christian direction in governance?  For the politicians who ran in Election 2006 declaring a traditional marriage position, whether elected or not, a belated (post election) campaign by Christendom, no matter how aggressive, is too little too late.  Such a flawed political dynamic amounts to voters wishing for a specific governance policy without wanting to first pay the ballot cost.

Returning to the guidance offered by our lukewarm minister in “A Comment on the Upcoming Federal Election,” he declares:

Remember the issues that concern all believers in between elections: poverty, justice, freedom of religion, family, safety for all, protecting those at risk or vulnerable, the church is a vibrant diverse community that worships God in freedom, people at home and abroad, civil discourse.


Very strange and sad, the Catholic leadership puts out numerous unambiguous letters of voting awareness, believing Election 2006 to be a crucial opportunity to change the direction of Canadian governance [They wrote: "What are the issues?  Abortion, traditional marriage, family, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia and assisted suicide."]; numerous high profile evangelicals believing the same, enter the political arena as Conservatives; some sixty-plus Christian agencies are campaigning around the nation to seize this last opportunity to stop marriage redefinition; and our lukewarm minister’s clearest advice to his clergy five days before the election to “remember issues that concern all believers in between elections.”  More paradoxical, having listed the issues he feels are important to remember, our lukewarm minister still cannot decide on the party and MP he wants to vote for.  Here is a remarkable example of why the Christian witness in Canada failed to be effectual.  If this leader is that perplexed heading into the pivotal 2006 election, what is the likely cognitive state of the pastors and lay persons in his denomination?

Yes the “church is a vibrant diverse community,” but this diversity does not extend to variation in essential tenets of faith.  God’s kingdom is not a democracy; there are not two Gospels, one for the orthodox and one for the liberal.  And there is no place for the indifferent stuck in the middle.  There can be a plausible diversity of Christian opinion on such matters as health, the environment and education; these types of governance are not so much moral or theological issues as priority and budgetary matters.  One party wants to spend more, another less.  One party wants to move more quickly, another slower or not at all.  However, redefining marriage is not like these political decisions.  Enactment of same-sex marriage is like a light switch; it has only on and off positions.  If “on,” the law says no to the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish sexual code; if “off,” the law says no to homosexism.  No federal party says how much are we going to spend on redefining marriage or how far are we going to implement same-sex marriage.  The political question is straight forward:

Are we going deconstruct (redefine) the millenniums-old heterosexual institution of marriage – yes or no?


By Election 2006 the party platforms on this question were unequivocal: (1) those for same-sex marriage – Bloc, Liberal, NDP; and (2) those for traditional marriage - Conservative.  [Note because the Harper Conservatives had pledged to hold an open vote on same-sex marriage there were a number of Liberal candidates who campaigned on their intention to vote in favour of restoring traditional marriage.]  This said, in the context of our lukewarm cleric, not knowing who to vote for, one must contest the notion of a diversity of authentic Christian burden which spans a spectrum from the Left (the United Church of Canada and the NDP) through the Center (the Liberals) to the Right (the Catholic Church, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Focus on the Family, over 60 other Christian agencies and the Conservative Party).  There is no spectrum of diversity on pivotal moral issues in the spiritual realm or in the political domain.  The reality that the Liberal Party could not find a centrist position on redefining marriage caused them to flip-flop between the Conservative view and the NDP position, ending up with the Left.   The kicker for Christians, in the spiritual realm the Holy Spirit is not double-minded on the issue of same-sex marriage and Canadian Christendom cannot hold a diversity of views on the issue.   Christians cannot agree to disagree on such an important issue.  One side is spiritually blind.

For those at either extreme (Left or Right) in Election 2006, there is at least an “honesty” of religious conviction that cannot be said of the believers perplexed or indifferent in the middle.  Both the United Church of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church in Canada walked their talk, although they traversed in opposite directions.   But, what can be said of the religious integrity of someone who is unable to decide how to vote knowing that same-sex marriage is biblically wrong, indeed, knowing that his denomination had endorsed a declaration stating that homosexuality is an offense to God?  And what can be said if that person goes ahead and votes for a candidate advocating homosexual marriage?  The short answer: “He does not care enough about the redefinition of marriage and/or about the application of scripture.”  Like-minded believers are described in the Bible.  In the Old and New Testament they are called “double-minded”[viii] and in the Book of Revelation, Christ called them “lukewarm[ix] Christians – neither hot nor cold.  Where in scripture is God characterized with indifference?  Either same-sex marriage is a special revelation seemingly given onto the United Church of Canada by God for its advocacy or its enactment is the worst judgment upon Canadian Christendom in decades.  The silence, apathy and indifference shown from the pulpit towards the same-sex marriage issue during the years of public debate and especially in the face of Election 2006 are unbiblical responses.

Continuing with our lukewarm cleric’s advice on Election 2006, one finds an ironic situation in which the Catholic Church calls for unity among its members as the strategy to tackle same-sex marriage while our pastor does not mention marriage redefinition for fear of division.  He said:

One-issue elections tend to divide Christians and invite an atmosphere of religious profiling by the media (religious profiling is a close and sick cousin of racial profiling which puts people into bigoted boxes on the basis of religion or race). 


Although he never mentions same-sex marriage in his “Comments,” it is the only issue that he could be referring to in the above statement, since a Christian’s voting stand on the economy, environment, healthcare or daycare, even if somehow grounds for division within Christendom, would not put believers into “bigoted boxes.”  And, if holding the Liberals accountable for the results of the Gomery Commission trumps same-sex marriage as the leading single political concern in Election 2006, Christian advocates would still not be put into “bigoted boxes.” Choosing to break the Liberal Government’s mindset of entitlement after 14 years in power is not fundamentally a religious issue, although replacing the Liberal control with Conservative governance would benefit the anti- same-sex marriage cause.

This minister’s concern over potential division among Christians because of Election 2006 needs to be put into a factual context.  What ever division was going to happen had already occurred.  By 2006, on the Left, the United Church was bearing significant scars of disunity over their adoption of pro-gay theology.  By 2000, Moderator, Marion Pardy, said the conservative remnant had fallen to 5 per cent (say 30,000 souls).[x]  And UCC Rev. Dr. Allen Churchill wrote in August 2003: “Our own United Church is in a state of free fall…76% of our theological professors think it is not important to affirm Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.”[xi]  UCC Rev. Dr. Donald Faris wrote in April 2004: “With the approval of gay, lesbian, and bisexual marriage - the foolhardy blessing of behavior that God condemns - the paganization of the United Church is almost complete.”[xii]  And in February 2005, Geoff Wilkins, Chairman of the National Alliance of Covenanting Congregations (100 reform churches of 3,500 UCC congregations) described the carnage from dissonance within the UCC over same-sex marriage: “At the end of 2003…membership stood at 608,243, down a massive 460,692 from 1965... We are an exhausted, depleted church.  Those who still have the energy to care, once again find themselves divided by controversy.”[xiii]  In 2003, the decline was in its 39th[xiv] consecutive year with an average of 16,000 members leaving each year since 1988 - “one good sized congregation every 5 days.”

Circumstances on the religious Left aside, the desire and emphasis placed on blocking same-sex marriage has not created disunity within “orthodox” Christendom; rather the challenge has had the opposite affect, creating extraordinary unity and cooperation among informed believers.  Indeed, the magnitude of the same-sex marriage assault on the values of all traditional faiths has led to cooperative actions among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.  This minister’s reference to one-issue elections, only a few days before the vote, is really a liberal-minded, and not evangelical, statement.  Under the topic “The Evangelical View on Same-Sex Marriage,” Brian C. Stiller, president of Tyndale University College & Seminary in Toronto, writes:

Why are evangelicals in such a fuss over using the term "marriage" to describe the commitment of same-sex partners?

The debate has conjured up a storm of accusations against evangelicals, making us out to be the ogres of postmodern culture, unwilling to allow fairness to rule in matters of law. Depicted as red-necked fundamentalists, we are caricatured in words and ways unfitting of those who resort to such accusations, and described in terms that are both inaccurate and unhelpful.

Evangelical concern is over the federal government's use of law to force onto the Canadian community a fundamentally flawed understanding of the role of marriage.  Law is critical to how societies operate. It acts not only in a prohibitive way in what it does not allow, it also is instructive in what it does allow. The law not only serves as a deterrent, it also serves as a teacher.  Law keeps us from doing things we have decided are wrong. Traffic laws keep us driving within orderly patterns: We're not allowed to drive through a red light, so someone who has the green light can drive safely through an intersection. In this case, the law is preventative…Law defines marriage as a social category. Canadian law allows one to be married to one spouse at a time. It also teaches that multiple marriages are not good for parents, children, family and society. The law, again, is not only prohibitory — it prohibits, it is pedagogical — it teaches.[xv]

“Lukewarm” Christians (those in a quandary over how to vote in 2006) need to ponder a line of argument mapped-out by the following sequence of questions:

Many Christians saw same-sex marriage as a threat to their freedom of religion, as a huge blow to the credibility of scripture in the public arena, and as an assault on the nation’s view of the nature of God.  These defenders of the orthodox faith saw a need for unprecedented unity among denominations, churches and believers, a need to overcome apathy and indifference and a need to vote against marriage redefinition.  If same-sex marriage is not a threat justifying this Christian response, then what anti-Christian governance will ever be sufficient to burden Christendom to take an ardent united stand for God?

Bev Desjarlais, MP in the northern Manitoba riding of Churchill won for the NDP in the previous three elections; however, she lost the Party's nomination for Election 2006, because the Party wanted her out.  She consistently opposed redefining marriage and was the only NDP MP to vote against the final legislation in June 2005.  Shouldn’t Christians see the NDP as captured in a rabidly anti-Christian, anti-traditional values “bigoted box”?  Shouldn’t the media profile the NDP as intolerant, anti-inclusive dogmatists bent on assaulting traditional religious values?  How can an evangelical justify supporting a party that is so deeply anti-Christian in ideology?

In February 2005, the Hutterian Brethren Church of Canada, representing 50,000 Hutterites, took an unprecedented political stand, publicly warning Prime Minister Martin of the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage.  In their letter they said, “We will be classed as traitors in God's eyes, and we will live the darkest day in all of Canada's history."  CBC News said of the rare political action:

Never before have the intensely private Hutterites taken such a public, and political stand. The religious sect tries to maintain political neutrality and its members do not usually vote in elections. The letter shows how outraged many Hutterites are by the proposed legislation.[xvi]

Why hasn’t same-sex marriage caused division in the Hutterite community?  When Hutterites take such an unequivocal, unified and public stand for their beliefs, why has the media not profiled them as religious bigots?  And if the media had called them homophobic religious zealots for their political action, do you think the Hutterites would care?  Why should Christians who are taking a stand for God’s word care about being labeled as bigots?  Does scripture not warn believers to expect this kind of rejection from non-believers and secular society?

In “Eyes on the prize ELECTION 2006: Who will get the queer vote?” Tanya Gulliver outlines how important the queer voting block will be.  She writes under the subtitle: “Narrow margins”:

Several Liberal cabinet ministers are running in extremely tight races; nine of them won by less than five percent of the vote in the last election. In fact, more than 50 races were decided by less than a five percent margin. A shift in voting patterns, a winter storm, holiday travelers or voter apathy could see this election produce a large change in actual seats.  Rookie MP Belinda Stronach, whose walking the floor from the Conservatives to the Liberals in the last session allowed the same-sex marriage bill to stay alive, won by only 689 votes in 2004. She says Harper's plan to reintroduce same-sex marriage legislation typifies the reason she left the Tories.[xvii]

Why are queers (and presumably all who are interested in securing the same-sex marriage law) so focused on this one-issue in Election 2006, if not for fear that a majority of conservative MPs could dominate the new parliament and reverse the decision?  With the importance given to getting the vote out by the same-sex marriage advocates, does it not seem reckless, if not naive, to raise concerns over “inviting an atmosphere of religious profiling by the media;” or to speak of the virtues of Christian voting “diversity;” or to announce “not knowing who to vote for” literally five days before the election?

When the United Church of Canada paid for a Parliamentary prayer breakfast in February 2005 to lobby MPs to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, did the media profile this denomination’s single-mindedness?  Did Parliament or the public place the liberal denomination into a “bigoted box” against religious orthodoxy?

Where is the accountability for the lukewarm Christian leaders during the same-sex marriage struggle, some of whom may sincerely wish to “do a better job in subsequent elections”?  Where is the accountability for pro-gay “Christian” leadership who are sincerely on the wrong side of the marriage issue?  One is reminded of the careless attitude of the United Church Moderator, Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short, when he said in a letter affirming his support for his denomination’s stand advocating same-sex marriage: “This is my job. I do it gladly and enthusiastically, trusting that where we are wrong God will forgive.”[xviii]  Without accountability for our actions and inactions, there will be little change in the effectiveness of the Christian witness.  Most believers are hoping and praying for a national “revival.”  However, this is unlikely to happen without a significant out pouring of genuine repentance.  And there can be no genuine repentance until Christians take ownership of their mistakes and hold themselves personally and collectively accountable for their conduct.  We reap what we sow; if we continue with the “status quo” lukewarm witness, we will continue to harvest “status quo” results.

Contrary to Right Rev. Short’s premise of unconditional forgiveness, on the Day of Judgment we will all have to give an account for what we have said and done, and for what we should have done but did not do.[xix]  The Apostle Paul makes this clear when he warns:

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.[xx]

A huge doctrinal mind-set to a proper view of Christian accountability, most prevalent among protestant denominations, is to not see Canada as a nation before God.  This is ironic, when you realize God is reverenced in our Constitution Preamble, in our National Anthem and on our coinage - "Elizabeth II D. G. Regina" means Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen.  Few believers think of themselves as members of “Canadian” Christendom - the concept that all Canadian Christians are God’s “chosen” saints responsible for influencing state affairs along a godly path.  However, the Hutterites understand this idea of national accountability perfectly well; Canada can choose to walk towards or away from godliness.  They made this point clear when they warned the Government against enacting same-sex marriage: "We will be classed as traitors in God's eyes, and we will live the darkest day in all of Canada's history."  God will not be mocked.  Christians in Election 2006, who placed more importance on the hope of a national daycare program, reduced medical wait times or a cleaner environment, over stopping marriage redefinition would do well to remember who is really in charge (Matthew 6:33).  No amount of good governance by any party – liberal, socialist, separatist, or conservative will be able to overcome the damage caused by God turning away from a professed homosexist and secular humanist state. 

The doctrinal resistance to Christians taking more responsibility for their national governance is entrenched in misinterpretation of the dogma of separation of church and state.  Making something legal neither makes it right nor separates the matter from “church” responsibility.  According to God’s Law, we are always our brother’s keeper.  Consider Christendom’s compliance and complicity in Canada’s laws on abortion.  Those in leadership roles (and their followers), who have done next to nothing in their lives to stop or reduce the over 100,000 abortions annually in Canada, are blinded by this most grievous non-accountability mind-set.  Someday Christ is going to return, like the victorious Allies confronting the by-standing residents of the towns of Dachau and Treblinka.  He will be asking, “Why didn’t you do more to stop it?”  The same goes for same-sex marriage.  You won’t be able to answer, “I didn’t know it was wrong.”  And don’t try to apply the dogma of separation of church and state.

It is paradoxical to watch our state adopt a worldview of secular humanism and homosexism with little effective resistance from the body of believers in Canada, while Canadian Christendom exhibits such a longstanding and huge burden to support overseas mission trips and educational efforts, the intent of which is to turn men and women away from the very path that Canada has endorsed.  Tragically, many Christians would gladly die abroad fighting for Christ, but few at home are willing to risk being labeled a bigot fighting for God’s will in our governance.  Canadian Christians will gladly confront paganism overseas, but don’t ask them to challenge heresy within the United Church even when publicly declared in a Factum before the Supreme Court.  This apparent do as we say, not as we do hypocrisy is not lost among Muslims or other traditional religious groups that assume Canada is a predominantly Christian culture.  A Canadian missionary in the Sudan commented at a fundraiser[xxi] that our country’s adoption of same-sex marriage law was a huge blow to the credibility of the Christian witness abroad.  In the competitive religious struggle for Sudanese souls the Muslim worldview gained a regrettable boost in trustworthy appearance as a result of Canada’s endorsement of gay marriage.  

Canada does not need lukewarm Christians, the nation needs believers to Take a Stand for God.

Part 2 - "We Believe in Tolerance and the Separation of Church and State!" continues the illustrative critique of our lukewarm minister's counsel to his denomination a few days before Election 2006.

Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org


[i] Galations 6:7.

[ii] Statistics Canada, Population by Religion, by Province and Territory, 2001 Census. Note the population by religion question is asked only every ten years, therefore, the matter was not addressed in the 2006 census.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] The Preamble states: “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God.’

[v] John-Henry Westen, Editor,, Editorial - Catholic Leadership Takes Unprecedented Role in 2006 Federal Elections, January 13, 2006,, 26/12/2007.

[vi] CCCB, “Open Letter to Canadian Catholics from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family: What Country for Tomorrow?” 03 January 2006,,eng/, 26/12/2007.

[vii] Ted Byfield, “Same-Sex Marriage Threatened,” World Net Daily, February 4, 2006,, 17/12/2007.

[viii] Psalm 119:113, James 1:8, 4:8.

[ix] Revelation 3:15-17.

[x] Laurie-Ann Zachar, “Moderator Controversy,” footnote 5,, 10/30/05.

[xi] Allen Churchill, “At The Crossroads,” CONCERN, Vol.XIV No. 3, 10 August 2003, p.6.  Adapted from his Presidential Address at the 12th Annual Meeting of COC.

[xii] Don Faris, speech titled “THE PAGANIZATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH,” before the Community of Concern AGM, April 29, 2004.

[xiii] NACC Letter to MPs, 1 February 2005, regarding the January 17 Letter of the Moderator of the United Church of Canada to MPs,, 10/30/2005.

[xiv] “What General Council Never Mentioned: United Church Membership Loss (1988-2002), CONCERN, Vol. XIV No.5, December 2003, p.2.

[xv] Brian C. Stiller, “The Evangelical View on Same-Sex Marriage,”, August 3, 2003,, 27/12/2007.

[xvi] CBC News, “Hutterites take rare political stand against gay marriage,“ February 18, 2005,, 1/1/2008.

[xvii] Tanya Gulliver, “Eyes on the prize ELECTION 2006 / Who will get the queer vote?” Xtra, December 08, 2005,, 26/12/2007.

[xviii] Response from the Moderator, The Right Rev. Dr. Peter Short,  Letter to the Rev. Dr. Connie denBok et al., dated 10 February 2005,, 4/20/2005.

[xix] Matthew 12 36-37.

[xx] Hebrews 4:12-13.

[xxi] Mel Middleton, Freedom Quest International.