The Evangelical Christian community (of which the Reformed community is a subset), together with the Conservative government is under fire again, and not just from the mainstream media.
A Christian organization that recognizes homosexual acts as “sin” (is that really news?) is under investigation because it receives federal funds for its aid projects in Uganda.
As our friend Don Hutchinson explains, “The story seeks to draw an insidious and non-existent link between an evangelical Christian ministry providing necessities of life – clean water, latrines and hygiene awareness – for the impoverished in Uganda (and several other countries), CIDA funding (spread over multiple years) and Ugandan government policy against homosexuality.” (Don’s entire piece is well worth reading!)
Sadly, we’ve come to expect such maligning from the mainstream media – demonizing a massive segment of the Canadian public (Evangelical Christians) by equating the labeling of homosexual acts as “sin” with advocating for the death penalty for gays. (Sadly and terribly, there are some doing just that in Uganda.)
However, much more discouraging are the comments of the Official Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mulcair. He states, “It’s shocking to hear Minister Fantino [the Minister responsible for Canada’s foreign aid] defending the indefensible, standing up today and defending a group that on its website is attacking something that’s recognized and protected by Canadian law… It goes against Canadian values. It goes against Canadian law.” Calling sin “sin” is a cardinal sin, it seems.
It’s nothing short of pathetic when a national, federal party leader so blatantly attacks a large segment of the Canadian population for some cheap political points. Mr. Mulcair’s suggestion that Evangelicals (and Reformed Christians are included in that label!) are “un-Canadian” because of their religious convictions is itself un-Canadian.
In response, Minister Fantino stated that the government “funds results-based projects, not organizations.” And I can only encourage the government and Minister Fantino to stick to their guns on this one. Continue to evaluate aid programs on the basis of results, and do not, as Mr. Mulcair seems to suggest, discriminate on the basis of religion. In fact, if tested, I’m certain the evidence will show that Evangelical and Roman Catholic aid organizations consistently outperform secular aid groups, dollar for dollar, and that Canadians get a much better bang for their aid bucks through these groups. We need more of these public-private partnerships, not less.
Minister Fantino was later able to report at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, “The review by officials has shown that the organization delivers projects effectively and without discrimination.”
Indeed. Maybe those Christians ain’t so scary after all. Thank you Mr. Fantino.
*For a well-written and informed opinion on this issue, see the Cardus blog piece by Brian Dijkema here.