Former Prime Minister John Turner once called it “the most important and all-embracing reform of the criminal and penal law ever attempted at one time in this country.”
On May 14th 1969, the Canadian government passed the Omnibus Bill that legalized birth control, divorce, homosexuality and abortion among others. The Bill was passed to “modernize” Canada’s laws and to recognize, what then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau told reporters, that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” He even added that, “what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code”
Trudeau’s words have become a mantra for much of Canada’s social progressives. They believe the liberalized laws were the first step in creating a sexually liberated population. Unfortunately, often the bogeymen for these liberal advocates have been Christians. We’re accused of being responsible for implementing a moral system thatoppresses women, creates homophobia and stifles sexual expression.
Because each issue is different, Christians do recognize that society can’t treat them all the same. For example, it makes little sense to make divorce illegal since it would be impossible to enforce such law. In contrast, Christians have always fought to protect innocent life and so would expect the same protections of preborn children.
But what makes these topics such important apologetics issues is that Christians insist God has something to say about each of them. These are not just merely private issues in Canada’s bedrooms. Rather, sexual issues affects how society functions and how it reproduces the next generation. And that’s why Christians have something to say about them. In fact, these issues also represent an important truth about the Christian faith: that what God has to say about every aspect of our life is always for our benefit. This series explains that far from harming us, the biblical response to issues such as birth control, homosexuality and abortion are meant to protect us.
In contrast, our culture teaches that Christianity has nothing relevant to say about sex and sexuality. It teaches that Christian beliefs are simply a preference that cannot be imposed on others. This is especially true about our view of sex. In fact all of the other debates we’ll examine in this series, whether homosexuality or abortion, hinge on how we view sexuality. That’s why we should look at our view of sex first.
Sex Is Not Sinful
Many Canadians look at the biblical teachings of monophony, sex only within the confines of marriage, and heterosexuality as possibly outdated, close-minded, or even dangerous. They see the God depicted in Scripture as a prude and a cosmic buzz-kill. They ask, “Why is God so unreasonable?”
Many Christians also act as if sex is somehow inherently sinful. The church at large has not taken the time to really study what the Bible actually says about sex. They know the various “do nots” in Scripture (eg. “do not” commit adultery), but rarely do they know how to articulate the “whys” of God’s commandments.
We would challenge any Christian who holds this idea to read ‘Song of Solomon’. It is full of sexual content and is far from prudish. It shows that strong sexual desire between a husband and a wife is not only acceptable, but is celebrated. In Proverbs, Solomon instructs his son:
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:18,19 ESV)
Sex was given by God to humanity and God commanded this method used to, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV) Paul also instructs that it is good for us to give our bodies over to our spouses in love.
“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1 Corinthians 7:3,4 ESV)
It should be clear that far from the Bible saying sex is somehow sinful, it is a pleasurable gift from our Maker to be enjoyed. So much for God being a cosmic prude!
The Reasons For The Limitations
As we move away from God’s ideal, there are many consequences that we must now live with; many of which are devastating.[i]We would here like to provide a general outline as to why God places limitations on sexual activity and why this is a good thing. Our hope is that this will inspire you to contemplate these issues and that you will further develop these concepts.
1. God placed limits on sex due to the Fall. After Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible records that something changed (Genesis 3). They realized they were naked and covered themselves up. Their nakedness did not bother them before sin, yet after it did. They looked at each other in a new way and no longer did they view one another as persons, but started objectifying their bodies. They started reducing the inherent value of persons into mere objects to take pleasure from and they were ashamed. Today, the objectifying of persons is rampant. Pornography is a billion-dollar industry where the human becomes simply an object to extract pleasures from.[ii]
Yet, God instituted marriage in this fallen world partly to reverse this trend. We have our spouse so we can rediscover the humanity that God created us as; to discover the persons we are instead of the objects we have become.[iii]
2. God created the family unit to bring stability to society. Sex is extremely powerful, so much so that the action has the potential to create a distinct human life. It is quite difficult to fathom this power. The family unit potentially provides a safe place for raising vulnerable children with great benefit on future generations. Monogamous marriages vastly reduce the chance of sexually transmitted infections and provide a safe environment to enjoy sex.[iv]Marriages can provide a safe emotional place for spouses to explore one another without fear of rejection and abandonment.
3. Limitless sex is extremely dangerous. The “free love” of the 60s was a code phrase for ‘sex with no strings attached’. We have had decades now to see the results of this idea. They are ugly; STIs, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, disillusionment, family breakdown, and insecurities are just some of the problems.
God places these restrictions to safe-guard us much in the same way a loving parent places restrictions on children to keep them safe. It is not to limit our pleasure, but to fully allow us to enjoy sex safely and securely.
Bill C-150 became law May 14, 1967 and moved us away from God’s ideal not just because it made certain acts legal – but because of the attitude it fostered. Many of us have never known a Canada that doesn’t have publicly funded abortions, have a general disregard for marriage, an avoidance of purity, and a rejection of God in public society. It is hard for us to imagine regaining the vision of sexuality, with all of its strengths, as outlined in Scripture. But, if we as a Christian community are able to learn this vision, live out this vision un-hypocritically, and properly share this vision with others; we just might live in a Canada which would be much stronger then the Canada we live in now.
[i]The other article entries will articulate many specific issues.
[ii] Devaluing humans have grave consequences and many of these will be discussed throughout this series.