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In November 2002, the Persecution and Prayer Alert reported on a private member's bill, Bill C-250, presently before the Canadian Parliament that would add "sexual orientation" to the current list of identifiable groups (i.e. colour, race, religion and ethnic origin) in the "hate propaganda" sections of the Criminal Code of Canada.

This Friday, June 6, Bill C-250 is set for debate on its third and final reading before the House of Commons. The bill, initiated by the Honourable Svend Robinson, was slated to be debated later on the House's agenda, but Robinson traded places with another Member of Parliament who was higher on the list. If the bill is debated this Friday, it could be voted on before Parliament rises for the summer. If passed, this bill would make advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred and the willful promotion of hatred against people based on their sexual orientation illegal.

While The Voice of the Martyrs believes that the deliberate incitement of hatred towards any identifiable group is inexcusable, we join with groups such as The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, The Catholic Rights League and The Christian Legal Fellowship in expressing concern about this particular bill, since it could potentially limit the freedom of expression of religious groups.

It is the position of The Voice of the Martyrs that the Bible clearly opposes homosexual activity and that believers are called upon to see homosexuality as sin. We are of the opinion that this bill is vague enough to allow for a case-to-case interpretation of what would constitute a hate crime against someone of a particular sexual orientation. Potentially, we belief this bill could lead to the criminalization of the public reading of Scripture passages that speak out against homosexuality, sermons that decry sexual sin and any other printed literature against homosexuality.

The Voice of the Martyrs urges Canadian Christians to write to their MPs and to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, The Honourable Martin Cauchon regarding this bill. Contact information can be found through a link to the House of Commons directory at www.vomcanada.com/links.htm. Before doing so, however, we encourage all Canadian Christians to go to http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/social/initiatives.asp for more information. We also urge prayer for the Canadian Parliament as they debate this initiative.

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