Monday, April 15, 2024

Persecution Watchdog’s Warning: Canadian Bill Could ‘Send Christians to Jail’ for Quoting Bible

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A religious freedom advocate is warning that a proposed Canadian law could imperil freedom of speech and religious liberty.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC), a religious persecution watchdog, told CBN News proposed Bill C-367 “amends the criminal code and it takes away some religious exemptions that protected Christians.”

King compared the proposal to the Equality Act, a U.S. legislation that the Biden administration championed but failed to pass.

The U.S. bill sought to prohibit “discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system,” but ignited religious persecution concerns.

Similarly, Canadian Bill C-367, King said, would create potential problems for people making biblical claims or basing objections to certain issues on the Quran or other religious sentiments.

With these protections potentially in danger, King said the potential impact could create a similar dynamic to what is seen in more restrictive and despotic nations.

“This is what the dictators and the despots do overseas to strangle Christianity or whatever faith,” he said. “They say, ‘Oh, we have religious freedom, but not in the public sphere.’ So, it’s the same game.”

Watch King explain:

King said hate speech laws are “always being promoted … for the common good,” but he said such provisions tend to “create division.”

He explained that hate speech laws were passed in Canada in 2003 and 2004 with protections, but warned that these caveats are now potentially on the chopping block.

“Democracy means you have freedom of speech,” King said. “It’s the marketplace of ideas. Everyone should be able to voice their opinion, no matter whether it’s great, bad, or stupid.”

He said the “alarming thing” about the current battle over Bill C-367 is that many people aren’t aware of it. King warned provisions such as these are “passed quietly” and with the hopes “no one notices.” That’s why he and ICC are sounding the alarm on the issue.

“If you’re on the left, if you’re on the right, if you’re an atheist, Muslim — it doesn’t matter,” King said. “Anybody who’s in favor of freedom, which is such a precious thing and is a relatively new thing in history … it has to be guarded … there are always those willing to take it away.”

King is among those who have been most vocal in the debate over Bill C-367.

A description of the proposal reads as follows: “This enactment amends the Criminal Code to eliminate as a defence against wilful promotion of hatred or antisemitism the fact that a person, in good faith, expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text.”

This amendment would repeal from the Criminal Code Paragraph 319(3)‍(b) and Paragraph 319(3.‍1)‍(b). Section 319 (2) of the criminal code currently has a section about the “wilful promotion of hatred.” The text reads:

“Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of:

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Currently, there are religious protections tied to this provision. Paragraph 319(3)‍(b) notes no one will be convicted under an offense in Section 319 (2) if “in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text.”

A similar line exists in Paragraph 319(3.‍1)‍(b) when it comes to a provision on anti-Semitism.

It appears Bill C-367 was stalled and failed to advance, leading to Bill C-373, a more recently introduced proposal with the same aim. Both proposals have an identical summary and target the same repeal objectives, with the latter being introduced and read Feb. 5, 2024.

While King and others are sounding the alarm, some are claiming Christians’ and advocates’ concerns are unfounded. Read more about the history here.


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