Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Road to Polygamy

We await a court ruling on polygamy in Canada. Last week, the BC Supreme Court of British Columbia wrapped up deliberating whether polygamy laws violate religious freedom under the Charter.

If nothing else, a population generally balanced evenly between men and women suggests that marriage consisting of one of each would be preferable. What do you do with all the boys that cannot marry because a few old men have claimed and married all the women?

Carolyn Jessup at 18, became the fourth wife of a 50 year old man. She reports that surplus, young teenage boys, accused of succumbing to sinful temptations, are dropped off in a city and told they are not wanted any more. (Macleans, April 4, 2011) I guess that cleanses the commune of potential trouble makers!

 Apart from the obvious arithmetic, marriage restricted to two people is based on the natural need for one woman and one man to conceive and parent a child. This was the creation ideal in the Old Testament, despite the acceptance of bigamous marriages.

Even there, the experiences of Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah indicate the arrangement was less than happy. All the wives in Old Testament polygamous marriages squabbled, creating the same misery as unfaithfulness in monogamous marriage. Christ confirmed monogamous marriage in the New Testament.

But if members of the same sex can form a marriage, restriction to two marriage partners loses its original rationale, making it difficult for liberal governments and courts to deny marriage rights for other arrangements.

Furthermore, families with more than two legitimate parents were created by the so-called "two-mother" ruling of the 2007 Ontario Court of Appeal. The court held that the biological mother of a small boy and her same-sex partner are both legally mothers of the child. The boy's biological father is still considered his father.

This family of two female married parents and a legitimate father outside the marriage is an opening parody on polygamy. Furthermore, Ontario recognizes multiple wives if previously married in a consenting jurisdiction. Put that beside the irrelevance of only two in a marriage, and polygamy becomes a reasonable option.

The slide into an eventual definition of marriage with multiple relationships is predictable even though the journey may be bumpy. Tradition, religion and social acceptance are no match for the juggernaut of Canadian Charter rights currently defined by the courts.

Together with the burgeoning use of internet pedophilia, children have become a by-product of sexual union, in which current culture prioritizes recreation over procreation. Are we heading for another, worse tragedy than the Canadian native residential schools heartbreak behind us?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Religion in Canadian Politics?!

Once again, the idea that religion is bad for politics is being dragged into the election arena. Because religious contenders for parliament seem unwilling to expose their religious views, they apparently have a “hidden agenda.” You can read the report by Ian Bushfield at

Ian’s own agenda, showing through his article, is the tired old line that religion skews truth; only non religious people have a balanced view of life, and therefore should run the country. He is fearful of the “Religious Right” that seems bent on thwarting his ideas of ethical progress in our nation.

Ian is entitled to his views as an atheist, but he makes the common mistake that non-religious people are free of religious bias. There is no empirical proof that God exists, or that He doesn’t, only circumstantial evidence. That is why Christianity and other religions are a “faith.”

Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Unless Ian, or other atheists, can prove beyond doubt that there is no God, his beliefs are a faith like anyone else’s. Then the question arises, why should his faith take precedence over another’s faith, or his faith based “reason and evidence” be superior to another?

This feeds into the faltering multiculturalism in Canada. It is not a work in progress, but is in regression like Europe. Why? Simply because religion, that most new immigrants espouse, is deemed inappropriate for national policy making, and sidelines those newcomers multiculturalism is trying to accommodate.

Ian is right. Deeply held religious views do affect policy decisions—including his. There should be “an open discussion about the role of religious belief in Canadian politics.” But he would mistakenly consider himself impartial and excluded from that discussion.

The growing popularity of the Conservative Party reflects a growing disenchantment of the way Canada’s liberal democracy is going. Ian’s “archaic” traditions may still be the bedrock on which Canadians are finding stability in the shifting sands of secularized ethics.

Either there is a God or there isn’t, and if He exists, He may be detached or involved in this world. Without clear proof for any of these views, they may all be considered legitimate and valid as a guide for life. But a wrong view is likely to destabilize a country.

Religious views on life are likely to be as right as Ian’s secular views could be wrong. Most people believe in a God of some sort, and if, as I believe, He is involved in our world and cares for our country, we are unwise to ignore Him. Better to bring Him into our political debate and policy making.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Denying Love

I’m not sure which saddens me the most, Terry Jones, or the Afghans who killed a score of innocent people in reprisals against Jones’ Koran burning. You can read the story at

We may well recognize the reason for the anger, but provocation never justifies irresponsible reactions. Yet it is often deemed legitimate. Here’s one man’s excuse: "I took part in the demonstration to curse the foreigners but I had no weapon. But I don't feel sorry for UN workers killed; our people are slaughtered by foreigners everyday."

I recall a less lethal comparison. A father, angry with his small son, took his anger out on a nearby chair and smashed it. Then he said to his son, “Now, look what you made me do.” The boy’s behaviour probably caused his father’s anger, but not the broken chair.

We are all responsible for our re-actions as well as our actions, including those brutal Afghans. Not only them, but the whole terrorist plague, ostensibly justified by the actions of others. I recall God’s word: “It is mine to avenge, I will repay” (Romans 12:19, quoting Deuteronomy 32:35).

He who calls on God to avenge him, denies himself the right of vengeance. That’s why Christians are called to weather the gravest provocations without recourse to violence. Which brings us to the crusading Mr. Jones, who blamed his action on his understanding of the Koran’s content.

He claims that the Muslim reaction proves that the Koran incites violence. Certainly, the reaction to the burning was likely after recent demonstrations against the cartoon of Mohammed, and Jones’ response shows he expected it. Thus, his action deliberately engineered the Muslim reaction. While not directly responsible, he must shoulder some blame for the resulting deaths.

Whether the Koran incites violence is really beside the point. Like the Bible, there are sufficient interpretations out there to justify various lifestyles—good and bad. Our personal experience with many Muslim families indicates we cannot paint all Muslims with the same brush. But for the Christian, Jones’ actions are invalid on the very basis of our faith.

God demonstrated His love for us in this: Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). If we are conformed to His image and the likeness of His Son, we will also love our enemies. Jones failed to show that reflection of God’s love for Muslims, by burning their most treasured possession, however he felt about its value.