“Houston, we have a problem.” A line made famous by the movie, Apollo 13, is one of the top movie quotes of all time. It was a monumental understatement for a perilous emergency that threatened the lives of the three men aboard the tiny craft hurtling through space. It takes a special kind of inner-strength and fortitude to face mortal danger with such calm courage, and yet history is full of stories of men and women who seem to be made to stand up to the hard and the seemingly insurmountable.
The history of the western societies is distinguished by the development of what we call classical liberalism – a belief in rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. But classical liberalism has been overrun by a movement that, in an Orwellian hijacking of language and meaning, uses the term “liberal” to define advocacy of a social egalitarianism that, in practice, rejects religious expression, speech and the rights of parents to oversee the care and nurture of their children.
So, yes, Houston, we have a problem. This problem threatens the very foundations of the civil society in which we live and which free societies have sacrificed to promote throughout the world. It hinges on the right to civilly agree to disagree. Religious persons are increasingly being told that they may not civilly disagree. Last month we discussed the ramifications for religious business people who decline participation in events that they feel conflict with their deeply-held beliefs. It seems that every day there is another story revealing the animus of governments, corporations and everyday citizens towards those with traditional views of marriage and those who have the temerity to suggest that sex and gender are inseparably connected and immutable because, oh, DNA.
Countries founded on principles of classical liberalism are now denying the equal rights of religious adherents. In Canada, Alberta’s Child and Family Services has prevented the adoption of children by a Christian couple because of their belief in sexual abstinence before marriage. It was determined that the couple would be incapable of providing a “safe, healthy, loving, and inclusive home.” And in Ontario a law was passed that prohibits the adoption of foster children by foster families if parents are not supportive of gender transitioning of children. In Nova Scotia and British Colombia, the accreditation bodies for law schools have voted to withhold accreditation from graduates of Trinity Western University because of the school’s Orthodox Christian teachings regarding marriage.
In his comments regarding a European Court of Justice ruling which allows employers to prohibit the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign” or garment in the workplace, Dr Robert Innes, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, stated that “dealing with difference within civil society is currently a critical issue across Europe” and “the suppression of freedom of expression by trying to make difference invisible will only stoke the fires of extremism.”
Jettisoning classical liberal principles, and dictating the acceptance of progressive ideologies regarding sex, gender, marriage and family only increases the discord and factionalism of our civil societies because it is founded on a “winner-takes-all” mentality. Securing the rights of religious expression as well as belief will take more than hope and a demonstration of good-will towards those with whom we disagree.
It also takes the steely-eyed resolve of those Apollo astronauts to not give in to fear or discouragement, but to engage in the struggle, for the well being of our children and families and the freedom to live in accordance with our beliefs literally depends on it.
Protecting Freedom to Believe,
Tori Black, President
United Families International
More news stories on Religious Freedom:
Is the End Near for Religion?
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