The EFC & Social Issues

The EFC promotes an evangelical Christian understanding on matters of law and public policy. Through its Centre for Faith and Public Life in Ottawa, it intervenes before government and the courts on issues of concern to Evangelicals, seeking to uphold care for the vulnerable, religious freedom, sanctity of human life, marriage and family, and freedom of conscience. The EFC develops guiding principles for response to these issues in a manner that reflects our Christian citizenship. [MORE]

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Social Issues
Euthanasia Carter

The EFC wrote to Canada's Minister of Justice about the need to regulate assisted suicide. "We urge you to ensure the practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia are only permissible within very strict parameters so as to minimally impair Canada's commitment to the sanctity of human life and to protect the lives of vulnerable Canadians." Read the full letter at theEFC.ca/CarterLetter2015.

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President in Ottawa Speaking on Paliative Care and End-of-Life Issues
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger will be speaking on palliative care and end-of-life issues to a seniors group at Bethel Pentecostal Church on March 12 in Ottawa. Request a speaker for your event at theEFC.ca/speakers.

Religion and Public Life Event in Vancouver: March 22 - 24
The EFC is sponsoring a conference on religion in the public square March 22-24 in Vancouver. Registration is now open for the Our Whole Society conference. EFC President Bruce Clemenger and Vice-President Aileen Van Ginkel will chair panel sessions during the conference.

Doctors Losing Freedom of Conscience?
The EFC wrote to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Saskatchewan regarding its Draft Policy on Conscientious Refusal. The EFC expressed concern over the proposed requirement that doctors provide referrals, and in some situations undertake procedures, that might violate their conscience and/or religious beliefs. Compelling doctors to act against their conscience would be a violation of their Charter rights and freedoms, argues the EFC. Doctors who don’t offer certain procedures are not discriminating as long as all patients are treated the same.

The EFC previously wrote a letter about a similar draft policy in Ontario. However, the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) approved its new Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy on March 6. It “requires physicians to provide their patients with an effective referral to another health-care provider for those services the physician chooses not to provide for reasons of conscience or religion.”

Responding to Sex Education Changes in Ontario
Ontario released its new Physical Education curriculum last week, which outlines a new sexual education component for the province’s public and Catholic schools. The EFC has now published a webpage of advice, sample letters and other resources on this issue at theEFC.ca/OntarioPE2015. The EFC’s Julia Beazley also spoke on the topic in a Toronto church on March 8.

Lawyer Comments on Assisted-Death Decision
The EFC published a commentary by Geoffrey Trotter, the lawyer who represented the EFC in Carter euthanasia case. In “The Court Has Allowed Physician-assisted Death – What Next?” he examines two critical undercurrents which drove the Supreme Court of Canada’s Feb. 6 decision. He also considers the question of Parliament’s response. Link to the full commentary at theEFC.ca/carter.

Responding to Assisted-Death Decision
The Supreme Court’s decision on February 6 in the Carter case takes us into a Canada where the sanctity of human life is no longer fully supported in our laws, says EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger. Instead, our society and our law will affirm some cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia. He reflects on these issues in a commentary posted today at theEFC.ca/Carter. That webpage also includes links to a new EFC letter to the Minister of Justice urging the government to respond quickly to the decision, and links to Clemenger’s recent TV appearances responding to the court decision.

Nova Scotia Court Decision on TWU: “Great Day for Religious Freedom”
A Nova Scotia court made a very positive decision about the proposed Trinity Western University school of law. The decision agrees with several arguments the EFC put forward in its legal intervention. Read brief responses from EFC lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos and EFC President Bruce Clemenger at theEFC.ca/TWUlaw. TWU is an EFC affiliate.

Will Ontario Enforce Prostitution Law?
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger wrote a letter in December 2014 to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in response to comments reported in the media suggesting the Government of Ontario might not enforce Canada’s new prostitution laws over concerns about their constitutionality. Defend Dignity, an EFC affiliate, is encouraging Canadians to write our own letters to government on the issue.

Parent Rights and Sex Education
The EFC’s Rick Hiemstra appeared on 100 Huntley Street (watch video) to discuss the forthcoming Ontario Physical Education curriculum and its controversial changes to sexual education, which could likely be emulated by other provinces. He recommends a helpful EFC resource called Hands Up: Identifying Parents Rights. The EFC also recently sent the Ontario minister of education a letter on the issue.

Re-Thinking Sex-Ed
EFC President Bruce Clemenger sent a letter to Ontario’s minister of education about the forthcoming Ontario physical education curriculum. The sexual education part of the curriculum is expected to be similar to one released and then recalled in 2010 due to parent concerns. The EFC is calling for the 2015 draft to be released to the public and for a more meaningful consultation process to be established with parents. The EFC offers a helpful resource on this issue called Hands Up: Identifying Parents Rights at theEFC.ca/HandsUp.

Video: Court Date with TWU
Are people of faith allowed to express their sincere religious beliefs and practise a profession at the very same time? The EFC is intervening in court on this very topic in support of our affiliate Trinity Western University. At issue is a vote by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society to prevent graduates of TWU’s new law school from practising in that province. Find links to our written intervention, webcasts of the hearings held last week, and more at theEFC.ca/TWUlaw.

At issue is a decision by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society to prevent graduates of a new law school (planned by our affiliate Trinity Western University) from practising in that province. Law societies in several provinces object to the TWU community covenant which has students pledge to abstain from certain activities during their studies including “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” TWU’s case was dealt a blow last week when the B.C. provincial government revoked its approval for the law school, citing the uncertain future for prospective graduates created by the opposition of provincial law societies. TWU still plans to move ahead with the law school, even if it means an extended legal battle.

Milestone in the Fight Against Exploitation
The week of December 9, 2014 was an historic week for Canada as our new prostitution laws came into force. For the first time in Canadian history, buying sex is illegal. “Today,” writes the EFC’s Julia Beazley, “we celebrate this major turning point in the fight against exploitation. We celebrate with our allies, our survivor teachers and friends – and certainly with all who prayed with us and for us. It is remarkable what can be accomplished when we work and pray together.” Read more of her reflections, including thoughts about the work that still lies ahead on this issue, on the EFC blog ActivateCFPL.

What's it Like in the Supreme Court?
What’s it like to talk about the Bible in the Supreme Court of Canada? An EFC lawyer takes us behind the scenes in the new issue of the EFC newsletter at theEFC.ca/CanadaWatch.

Prostitution Bill Now Law
Canada's new prostitution laws became law on Nov. 6. The new laws make it illegal to buy sex or advertise the sale of someone else's sexual services. The new laws also replace the historic understanding of people who are prostituted as public nuisances with the new recognition that the vast majority are not in prostitution by choice. The EFC has long argued for laws recognizing those who are prostituted as vulnerable victims of exploitation. To contact your Member of Parliament, visit, theEFC.ca/TakeAction.  

Persecution: Join Worldwide Prayer Nov 9 (Alternate date: Nov 16)
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church calls Canadians to pray for Christian believers who are suffering, even dying, for their faith every day. Why not join your prayers this coming Sunday with prayers in half a million churches in 150 countries? Visit the www.idop.ca for free downloadable resources. IDOP Canada is a partnership that includes the EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission.

Blog for the Persecuted
Two recent posts on the Faith Today blog encourage Canadians to pray for persecuted Christians worldwide. “The sheer volume of the more than 200 million Christians who are currently suffering for their faith in Christ is in itself overwhelming. This Sunday is yet another chance to tell the real life inspirational stories of faith in the face of evil, and to pray for their protection and courage,” writes Anita Levesque. “It is a time to remember that there are family members who daily know what it means to count the cost of following Jesus. It is a time where we intercede for them as well as their persecutors; where we as Christian family seek to live out what it means to mourn with those who mourn,” writes Floyd Brobbel.

Comment on Trinity Western University
One of the reasons Canada has our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is to protect minority rights from the whims of the majority. The recent reversal by the Law Society of B.C., which now refuses to accredit graduates of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, is a prime example of what the Charter is to prevent, says EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger in a new online commentary.

Prostitution: Defend Dignity Video
EFC policy analyst Julia Beazley presented at a public information forum on prostitution in Manitoba Nov. 2, co-hosted by the EFC and Defend Dignity. A video shown at the event, “Let’s Talk Man to Man” by Calgary police officer Dan Rossi, is available online. Men represent the demand for commercialized sex but also the solution to the problem, says Rossi in the 8-minute video. Men have a responsibility to “train our eyes,” “renew our minds,” and to challenge friends and relatives – out of love, not condemnation – about disrespectful actions and “locker room” conversations.

Nova Scotia Will Review Ban of TWU Lawyers
Will law school graduates from Trinity Western University be allowed to practise law in Nova Scotia? A decision by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society basically says “not until TWU changes its Christian community covenant,” but that ban will be challenged at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in December. The EFC (together with Christian Higher Education Canada) filed legal arguments in the case last week, arguing that the provincial law society overstepped its mandate and that its decision violates the religious freedom of TWU and its graduates. See theEFC.ca/TWULaw.

You Shall Not Kill
“Autonomy and the 6th Commandment” an online commentary posted by EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger. He reflects on arguments for euthanasia put forward last week at the Supreme Court in the Carter case. Read it at theEFC.ca/6th.

October 14 in The Supreme Court: Religious Freedom
The EFC presented arguments in the Supreme Court of Canada in a case which deals with public prayer and the meaning of religious freedom. Should prayer before city council meetings be unconstitutional? See: media release, why the case is important, three ways supporters can help. More details at theEFC.ca/Saguenay.

October 15 in The Supreme Court: Euthanasia and Assisted-Suicide
The EFC intervened in the Supreme Court of Canada in a case about euthanasia and assisted suicide. See: media release, brief EFC introduction to the case, three ways supporters can help. More details at theEFC.ca/Carter.

The EFC Supports TWU in Court
The EFC has applied to intervene in support of Trinity Western University in its challenge of the decision by the Law Society of Upper Canada not to allow graduates of TWU's proposed law school from practising law in Ontario. TWU is an affiliate of the EFC. The EFC's Centre for Faith and Public Life recently summarized the legal precedents that support the TWU law school. The EFC has also applied to intervene in a similar case in Nova Scotia. EFC President Bruce Clemenger recently wrote to EFC supporters concerning these upcoming religious freedom court cases.  Faith Today recently interviewed TWU President Bob Kuhn on the law school controversy.

EFC at Prostitution Law Reform Hearings
The EFC's Julia Beazley appeared before the Senate committee studying prostitution bill C-36 on September 9. The proceedings can be viewed online. She also appears on CTV's Power Play with Don Marting to talk about the bill.  Read the presentation that was made before the House of Commons in July on the same bill. What should we make of the government's proposals in Bill C-36? Read more in Faith Today. Bill C-36 targets the demand for paid sexual services and prohibits profiting from the sexual exploitation of another person. Read The EFC's Media Release here The EFC offers a number of resources that are available for download.

The EFC Calls for Prayer for Iraq
The EFC is calling on Canadian Christians to specifically pray for those directly affected by the attack on religious liberty and the related refugee humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Although the original call for prayer proposed Aug. 17 as a good day, continual prayer is needed. Could this be a focus of prayer at your next worship service? 

Urgent Religious Liberty Prayer Alert for Iraq
The EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission has issued an urgent prayer alert regarding the mass religious persecution of Christians in Iraq by the Islamic State (IS - formerly ISIS).

Evangelicals Are Convenient Target
The EFC’s Julia Beazley had an op-ed published in the National Post on how Evangelicals are a convenient target in the current prostitution debate. This article is now available on the ActivateCFPL blog

Letter to the Minister of Justice
The EFC sent a letter to the Minister of Justice Peter McKay urging the government to ensure that euthanasia is not practised in Quebec following the passage of Bill 52. 

Christian Woman in Sudan Released, Re-Arrested
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a Christian mother of two who was sentenced to death on false charges of apostasy and adultery, was recently released from prison. The World Evangelical Alliance celebrated along with many other Christian groups following her case. But today she has been re-arrested trying to leave Sudan. In Canada, the EFC Religious Liberty Commission has recently been sending letters to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Sudan and other foreign affairs dignitaries about the case.

Quebec Euthanasia Legislation
Quebec has become the first province to legalize euthanasia. The legislation outlines the conditions under which a patient may request palliative sedation, which would lead to death. The EFC has responded to the passing of Bill 52.

Maternal Health Consultation
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger participated in the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit held by Federal Government May 28 - 30 in Toronto. The focus in on the maternal health initiative of the department of Foreign Affairs that seeks to improve the health of women and children in developing countries. He reflects on how the issues relate to all Canadians.

Prayer Alert: Pakistan
The EFC has issued a prayer alert for Pakistan, where the situation for Christians within the country is becoming more unstable. An increasing number of Christian girls are being forced to convert and to marry Muslim men.

EFC Writes Law Society in New Brunswick About Trinity Western
New Brunswick is the fourth province to debate whether or not it will accept graduates of a Christian law school into the practice of law. The EFC sent a letter in support of Trinity Western University’s proposed school of law to the Law Society of New Brunswick. The letter challenges the LSNB’s compliance with Chapter 21 of its own Rules of Professional Conduct should it decide not to accept TWU law grads.

Funding of Abortion Clinics
With the New Brunswick government refusing to fund the Morgentaler clinic, questions about public funding for abortion are once again rising to the surface. EFC staff recently addressed this topic in these articles: 3 Biggest Myths on the Government Funding of Abortions and Abortion Funding in Canada.

EFC Endorses Palliative Care Motion in Parliament
The EFC endorses and supports a private member’s motion in the House of Commons aimed at improving palliative care in Canada. M-456, Establishing a Pan-Canadian Palliative Care and End-of-life Strategy, was introduced by NDP MP Charlie Angus and jointly seconded by nine MPs from the NDP, Liberal and Conservative parties.  

Increasing Abortion Access in Canada

The EFC is concerned that abortion access in Canada may be increasing through the back door of using the Health Canada drug approval process. In the second of a three part series examining the proposal to approve the medication RU-486, the ActivateCFPL blog reports on the Health Canada approval process RU-486 and attendant dangers of its use.

Religious Liberty Prayer Alert for Ukraine
The EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission has issued a prayer alert following the kidnappings and intimidation of religious leaders during unrest in Ukraine.

EFC in Supreme Court of Canada
The EFC made verbal arguments in the Supreme Court of Canada on March 24 when the Court heard arguments in Loyola High School v. Attorney General of Quebec.  This case concerns the Government of Quebec's refusal to permit a private Catholic school to teach ethics and religion from a Catholic perspective. You can read more at theEFC.ca/Loyola

EFC at Anniversary Consultation for Office of Religious Freedom
The EFC’s Anita Levesque, Co-ordinator for the EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission, attended a consultation on Middle Eastern Christians After 2010: Persecution, Religious Freedom and Pluralism hosted by Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom on the occasion of its first anniversary. Panel specialists included Carl Hetu of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association of Canada, Rabbi Reuven Bulka of the Ottawa Congregation Machzikei Hadas, and Father Shenouda Boutros from St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church.

EFC Lawyers Join Call Against Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
Lawyers with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada have joined lawyers from across the country in signing a declaration which condemns the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Decriminalization “would necessarily lead to the acceptance of consensual killing & may lead to a legal obligation on one party to kill another,” according to the non-sectarian declaration. Complete text & list of signatories at www.lawyersagainsteuthanasia.com.

Why Not Block Internet Porn in Canada?
Canada could follow Britain’s lead and require Internet companies to block access to pornography unless customers opt-in. The National Post describes a formidable group, including EFC Policy Analyst Julia Beazley, discussing the need for this change. Read “Conservative MP, Radical Feminist and Evangelical Christian Come Together to Block Online Porn in Canada.”

Pornography: Protect Children and Youth
EFC policy analyst Julia Beazley comments on the need to protect children and youth from the violent reality of today’s internet pornography in the ActivateCFPL blog posting “It’s time Canada take the lead in protecting children from online pornography.”  At MP Joy Smith’s invitation, Beazley was part of a panel on the harmful impact of pornography on society, children and youth. The panel also featured Gail Dines, a prominent expert from Wheelock College in Boston.

Prayer Alert for North Korea
A prayer alert has been issued from the EFC Religious Liberty Commission for North Korea as there have been eight executions in seven cities in one day. Please pray for both the Christians and the leadership of North Korea.   

Court Says Bible is Not Hate Speech
Did you hear about the recent “hate speech” decision by the Supreme Court of Canada? EFC Vice-President Don Hutchinson offers a short explanation in What Does the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision Mean to You? The EFC intervened in the case of Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott in 2011, arguing in particular over the issue of religious comment in a public policy dialogue, and has also commented further in several blog posts, available at our summary page theEFC.ca/Whatcott.     

Religious Persecution Affects Children
The EFC Religious Liberty Commission released a report detailing the nature and effects of religious persecution on children. This report is part of the EFC’s continuing focus on public policy issues that impact children, whose presence and vulnerability often go unnoticed. Entitled The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of Religious Persecution on Children, the 23-page document briefly considers various ways in which children are uniquely affected by religious discrimination and persecution.

Has Your Faith Group Faced Challenges From Your Municipal Government?
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) Centre for Faith and Public Life has released Zoned Out: Religious Freedom in the Municipality, an introductory guide to understanding the religious freedoms of faith groups and the engagement process when they face municipal zoning challenges.  You can download the report here.


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