The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Intolerable Tolerance

with 2 comments

A story out of Canada ought to frighten – as my father is fond of saying, the “bejeebers out of” – every Christian ministry (Church or lay) in West Virginia.  This quote gives the gist of what has happened:

Christian Horizons is an evangelical ministry in Ontario that has cared for more than 1,400 people with developmental disabilities in 180 group homes. The group requires all employees to sign a contract agreeing to abstain from all sexual immorality, including homosexuality. When Christian Horizons fired a female employee who became involved with another woman, she complained to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which fined the ministry $23,000 and two years back pay.

What is the purpose of “Christan Horizons?”  As they define it on their website:

Christian Horizons is a non-profit, Christian charitable organization. We seek to reach out with supports and friendship to persons who have exceptional needs. Our purpose is to contribute to the exceptional person’s quality of life by addressing his/her spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical needs. We serve in a manner that considers each person’s intrinsic value as loved by God and bearing His image

Here is a nonprofit ministry that is working with people who have significant disabilities, seeking to treat their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and….gasp….spiritual needs, guided by their Judeo-Christian worldview.

Opposed, apparently, to this ministry is the Canadian government. One would guess that, on some level, the Canadian government appreciates the impact that this ministry has had upon the well-being of the many charges in Christian Horizons’ care, yet it clearly balks when the ministry dares to suppose that, in addition to the physical, emotional, etc., needs their severely disabled patients possess, there is also a spiritual component that must be addressed.

And yet, the spiritual component to this story nearly pales when compared to the legal implications.  Certainly, there is a religious liberty argument to be made.  No one – corporate or individual – should be punished for doing anything more than abiding by their religious worldview.  Clearly, that has happened here.

However, consider the broader corporate and societal implications of Canada’s overreach.  Effectively, the Canadian government has inserted itself into the board room of Christian Horizons, defied a majority of the organizations governance and financial supporters, and imposed upon this business restrictions antagonistic to the stated mission and purpose of the organization.

In effect, the Canadian government has intolerably said that it will not tolerate the intolerance of Christian Horizons and that it must tolerate, corporate principles of tolerance, even though such coerced toleration cannot be tolerated by an otherwise tolerant religion, in order to be legally defined as “tolerant.”

Allow me to translate myself: the Canadian government has chosen to pick and choose who is, and who is not, tolerant.  In so doing, it has placed itself as the ultimate authority of law and morality over the lives of Canadians.

What will be next?  If the Canadian government can reach into the corporate board room, will they then insert themselves at the kitchen table and define family devotions as instances of “coerced indoctrination of intolerance?”  Will it fill the pew and censor the sermon for instances of intolerance?

We, as a society, are ill-served when government believes itself to be the end-all-be-all to what ails the world.  When government believes there is nothing greater then it, society does not benefit.  There must be something greater than government, or all our law is but the meaningless (though pithy) proposals of people.  It is empty and lacks any moral authority whatsoever.

But, when government recognizes that there is a law that is higher than itself, when it humbly accepts its duty to ensure some of the justice we lost in the Fall, when it turns to truly understand that righteousness and justice go hand-in-hand, then government can act with a submissive authority that does more than merely change laws.  It changes lives.

As Jonathan Edwards, Jr. said in his sermon to public servants in 1794, “The best and perhaps the only remedy for such [social] diseases, is a full belief of the divine universal providence, of the accountableness of all men to God for all their conduct, and of a future equal retribution.”

With the Canadian situation, we see a government entirely devoid of ultimate accountability, revealing that checks and balances are only as good as what they are checked and balanced against.

www.familypolicywv.com

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Written by Jeremy Dys

May 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Religious Freedom

2 Responses

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  1. […] Jill wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA story out of Canada ought to frighten – as my father is fond of saying, the “bejeebers out of” – every Christian ministry (Church or lay) in West Virginia. This quote gives the gist of what has happened:. Christian Horizons is an … […]

  2. […] Family Voice, the Blog of Family Policy Council of West Virginia, has this commentary on the recent Canadian ruling in the Christian Horizons case. It includes this description of the […]


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