In Canada, a wave of Christian churches are condemning the recently enacted Bill C-4, a law that criminalizes the act of providing, promoting or advertising conversion therapy. The legislation was unanimously passed by the 44th Parliament and was the first bill to do so. It took effect on January 8.
In response, thousands of clergy in Canada have dedicated their Sunday sermons to denounce the new law, which could criminalize teachings on biblical sexual morality, Fox News reported. Over 4,000 Christian pastors who publicly admitted to wanting to protest the legislation have come together to support an initiative sparked by Liberty Coalition Canada, which was also promulgated in the U.S. by Pastor John MacArthur of Los Angeles.
The controversial legislation, which was fast-tracked through the Canadian Parliament just last month without any lengthy debates, describes the belief that heterosexuality and cisgender identity are preferable as a "myth." Any type of conversion therapy or counseling that does not support this worldview, under Canadian law, can now be punished with a five year jail sentence.
Critics of Canada's ban on conversion therapy, among other new rules under the just-enacted legislation, claim that the language of the bill is too broad and can even cover personal conversations. Some pastors who were arrested by authorities in Canada for violating COVID restrictions on gatherings spoke out and said the law will enable religious persecution.
"The biblical gospel is a message of conversion, whereby Christ causes sinners to be born-again, thus converting them from sinful propensities to godliness," Canadian pastor Jacob Reaume of Trinity Bible Chapel, whose church incurred more than $100,000 in fines in 2021 for refusing to comply with COVID restrictions, told the Daily Wire. "The bill's language is vague enough that many think it might criminalize a biblical call to forsake sodomitic propensities to embrace righteousness."
Another Canadian pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church, who was detained in a maximum-security facility in the summer of 2021 for refusing to close his church, argued that the new law "promotes a truly harmful type of 'conversion' using puberty blocking chemicals, surgeries to remove functioning breasts and sexual organs, regular hormone treatments, and truly harmful counseling that has led to exorbitant suicide rates."
Stephens called upon Christians not only in Canada, but in the United States as well, to fight the "spiritual battle" against the "strongholds" and the "opinions and philosophies that are raised against the knowledge of God." He lamented that the Constitution will not be able to prevent the advancement of "these godless ideologies."
"Revival and reformation is needed," Stephens remarked. He added that the Church must lead the way, but that in the United States like in Canada, there are "only a few voices sounding the alarm and speaking truth to culture."
Other pastors are also warning against the impending doom these ideologies are causing in the west. Pastor Andrew Brunson, a missionary who was unjustly imprisoned in 2016 and caused a conflict between Turkey and the U.S., said during his 2018 release that religious persecution is coming soon to Western countries. He now works as a special advisor for religious freedom at Family Research Council, where he observes the developments in North America and calls Canada's ban on conversion therapy as "a dark wave of hostility" that will crash onto the church.