government

Should Christians be in favor of bill 21?

By Ricardo Fortune

After many months of controversy, Quebec’s Bill 21 on the secularity of the state, has been adopted. What should Christians think about it? Should we rejoice or worry? It is legitimate for Christians to question the decisions taken by our elected officials and evaluate whether they are in line with our worldview. Bill 21 forbids anyone who works for the government to wear any type of religious symbol in the workplace. As we have discussed in a previous article, there are many issues with this bill. But in this article, we will only consider what is problematic for Christians.

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 Religious liberty is the right to live according to one’s deepest convictions and to express them publicly. By the 2nd and 4th centuries, Tertullian and Lactantius had each referenced the idea. Having been persecuted during the three first centuries after the birth of Christ, Christians were the first to appreciate and defend religious liberty. As noted by Barrett Duke, religious liberty is implicitly taught in the pages of scripture. It is presupposed as a societal condition necessary for the propagation of the Gospel. God wants worshippers who freely choose to serve Him (Joshua 24:15). He is Creator of both mankind and the institution of the state, and therefore governments have no right to interfere in the relationship between Him and His creatures. The State receives from God the authority to regulate specific things such as crime and punishment (Romans 13:1), but it is incumbent upon God to regulate spiritual things (Luke 20:25). This last principle, according to which God regulates spiritual things and man secular things, shows us that the Bible teaches a form of separation between the State and religion. Bill 21, however, goes against this foundational pillar of religious freedom in that it legislates against legitimate expressions of religion, where God alone should rule. Hence, because the government of Quebec has limited what Muslims can wear in public, Christians are no longer free to express their faith in whatever way they see fit.

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 For some Christians in Quebec, Bill 21 might seem trivial or even appropriate. Could this be due to the fact that since Christianity does not usually require of its proponents the wearing of religious symbols, some Christians might feel that it does not apply to them? The law might even be seen by some as a way to reduce the growth and influence of some foreign religions in Quebec. Is it legitimate for a Christian to support an unjust school of thought, as long as it does not have any direct impact on his own life? The golden rule of Christianity, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31), emphatically rejects this position. French-Canadians, who are largely Roman Catholic, have forgotten how indebted they are to the idea of religious liberty, without which they would have been forced to convert to protestant Christianity or accept being discriminated against when applying for government positions. The European wars between Protestants and Catholics after the Reformation should have taught everyone within Christendom the importance of religious liberty. If as Christians we have benefited from religious liberty, how could we refuse it to those of other faiths? What is good for the goose is good for the gander, and the Bible teaches that the Lord hates double standards (Proverb 20:10). Living in a society where religious liberty flourishes comes at a cost. It requires that, within reason, we grant the same liberties we enjoy to those with whom we disagree. The principles that allow us to live and express our faith are the same that allow the Muslim woman to wear her veil and the Sikh his turban. Hence, in restricting religious liberty for others, we would likewise restrict ours. God knew His people would be mingled with people of all kinds of beliefs, but He commands us to let the wheat grow with the tares (Mat. 13:24-30). God reserves to Himself the right to separate them at Christ’s return, but for now, He is asking us to all live together. This implies that the greatest benefit Christians can confer upon society is to work so that all people benefit from the same liberties, without regards to any particular beliefs.

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 Some will say that bill 21 does not prevent anyone from practicing their religion, since it only requires that one refrain from wearing religious symbols at work. This objection is based on the false assumption that religion can be strictly private and that a forced repression of public expression of religion is a useful step toward maintaining peace in a divided society. But by definition religious liberty not only guarantees that one should be allowed to adhere to one’s preferred faith, it also implies that, except for a very few necessary limitations, no one should be forced to behave in a way that violates their beliefs and their conscience, whether in public or in private.

It must be kept in mind that if Bill 21 remains in force, Christians will eventually face severe consequences. It is freedom of conscience in the public square that allows a medical doctor to refuse to practice abortion or euthanasia. When coupled with religious liberty, it gives Christians the right to evangelize and to have beliefs that are divergent from the rest of the society on sexuality and other contemporary issues. It also gives them the right to live according their convictions. If it becomes legitimate to violate anyone’s religious liberties in the name of secularism, we can anticipate the loss of such rights. Many already say that in a secular state, religious groups should have no tax privileges. What will happen to the government funds that are usually allocated to Christian private schools if we keep heading in this direction? The Christian who favours Bill 21 is painting himself into a corner. He is rejecting the very principle that can protect him if he is ever discriminated against.

In sum, Bill 21 contravenes the religious liberty that was first proclaimed by Christians. Besides, Bill 21 guarantees that its intended aim, social cohesion and a peaceful society, will fail. Only universal religious freedom provides a path to peace. To live peacefully we must let others live peacefully. Desiring religious liberty for ourselves while restricting that of others is as self-refuting as this quote attributed to Antoine de Saint-Just, “No liberty for the enemies of liberty”.

The Idolatry of Climate Change

By Shafer Parker, Jr.

Once upon a time you could joke that while everyone talked about the weather, no one ever did anything about it. But these days there’s no joking about the weather. Governments don’t find anything funny about it, and they insist we all work to change it, even if it kills us. It might. At least one major U. S. presidential candidate is openly calling for killing human beings to fight climate change[1]. And a Swedish scientist suggests cannibalism is a necessary part of the answer. As you can see from the linked articles, not only am I not making any of this up, these people are deadly serious (pun intended). Climate is their religion, and to show their devotion there is no end of things, and human beings they are willing to sacrifice.

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A lot of people have forgotten that sacrificing to the gods in order to control the weather is as old as mankind. Essentially, today’s call to eliminate carbon to save the planet is the same grift the prophets of Baal were pulling on the Israelites three thousand years ago—at least they were until the prophet Elijah called them on it (I Kings 18). In those agricultural days the weather god was always the most important god in every location, and in Canaan his name was Baal (Zeus and Thor were the same god under different names—they were all depicted with thunderbolts and they all controlled the rain and the crops). That’s why Elijah set up a direct confrontation between Yahweh and Baal. After three-and-a-half years of drought, he challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest over which god could send fire and rain (these two are intimately connected, as anyone who’s lived through a thunderstorm can attest). As you probably remember, the false god Baal did nothing, even when his prophets cut themselves and offered him their own blood. But in response to Elijah’s prayer, Yahweh sent, first the fire, and then the rain. On that day the God of Israel proved Himself the only power able to control the weather, and the people knew it, as evidenced by their repeatedly chanting, “The Lord (Yahweh), He is God; the Lord (Yahweh), he is God” (I Kings 18:39).

In Psalm 107 the psalmist builds upon the thought that Yahweh controls the weather. He describes how the sailors of his day cried out to God in the midst of the storm. Then, he says, in language echoed in the gospels, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven” (Ps. 107:29-30). Something similar happened to Jesus’ disciples as they crossed the sea of Galilee. As many of you will remember, a storm rose, and the disciples were in danger of drowning. The disciples cried out to Jesus as he lay sleeping in the back of the boat, “Master, master, we are perishing.” Jesus arose and, in language reminiscent of Psalm 107, he “rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). At that point the disciples were still trying to figure out who Jesus was, “that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:25) The answer by now should be obvious. Since only God can send the fire and the rain, since only God can answer the sailors’ prayers, then Jesus must be God. And since he was obviously a man (note the sleeping bit), he must be God in the flesh.

“But where is all this going?” you ask. “What’s the point of proving that Jesus is the true weather God?” The point is that sooner or later all false religious systems are forced to try to do something about weather. It can’t be ignored because it is too intimately connected with food supply. As has been pointed out, weather control was at the heart of Egyptian mythology, as well as the mythology of the Babylonians, the Romans, the Greeks, the northern Europeans, and pretty much every society that ever existed apart from a Bible-based faith. Modern atheistic socialism is no different. With pretensions toward providing guilt-free, responsibility-free, and even deity-free abundant life for all, socialism, too, is forced to address climate. Like all forms of tribalistic religion, it demands that in order for the climate to be healed, everyone must make the necessary sacrifices, that is, everyone must be prepared to eliminate fossil fuels, fertilizer, mechanized farming, modern transportation, and more, in order to guarantee an abundant supply of future rain and crops.

Of course, a lot of people will demonstrate their resistance to this new religion by clinging to their modern conveniences. They don’t realize that by simply existing they will become the enemies of the climate religion priests. They are unaware that when all government efforts to “heal” the climate fail, resistors will be made into convenient scapegoats, declared enemies of the people who will have to be sacrificed to appease the angry climate gods.

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All this confronts Christians with a stark choice, either to confess Jesus as Lord of the weather (He really is Lord of all, Col. 2:9-10) or join the pagans and bow down before Gaia’s empty throne. Sadly, too many who think themselves Christians are doing the latter, apparently unaware of how all of Scripture testifies against the modern belief that people must do something to prevent the entire planet from becoming a heat-dead desert.

Do you doubt this statement? Consider, then, what God said to Noah immediately after the flood. Out of gratitude for safe passage, Noah built an altar for an offering to God, who responded with a promise to never again wreak total destruction upon the earth. But then God followed that up with a guarantee that Global Warming (or Climate Change) would never become a factor for human survival. “While the earth remains,” God said, “seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22).

Spelled out, God’s promise means the seasons will continue, and the fruitfulness of the earth will continue, so long as there is an earth for human beings to live on! This is no guarantee against local droughts, or occasionally colder winters followed by occasionally hotter summers. After all, weather does change. But in the plainest terms possible, it is a guarantee from the sovereign God that man will never be allowed to totally wreck the planet. I think it’s also a promise that we don’t have to fear any giant asteroids, either. But that’s another subject.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve said all that should need to be said, that is, that Christians need to confess Christ to the world by celebrating his faithfulness to never cease watering the earth and making it fruitful. We need to affirm our confidence that the God who controls every molecule in the universe still hears and answers prayers, and that he will continue to bless the world.

“But,” someone will say, “We can’t rely on Genesis 8:22. If we believe in any part of Genesis 8, then we’d have to believe in the flood itself. We might even be forced by the same logic to accept the Genesis account of creation.” My only response is, Genesis might be dismissed, if it weren’t for the fact that the entire Bible testifies to its foundational purpose in establishing the ways of God. For instance, in Isaiah God, speaking through the prophet, refers to Genesis 8:22 like this: “9 “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you” (Isaiah 54:9). Jesus also confirmed the veracity of the Genesis flood in Matt. 24:37ff and Luke 17:26-27. So, to deny Genesis means to also deny Isaiah, and Jesus! Much better, I think, to believe God’s promises and to call people to faith in Christ and away from the idolatry of climate change.


[1] In this article I will use weather and climate change almost interchangeably. For the language police who insist there is a difference, my only defense is that I am following popular usage. When weather seems to fit with current climate-change models, then it’s proof of the model. When it doesn’t fit, it’s just weather. I think it’s always both.