I was awaiting the decision today – like many – from the BC courts on whether the polygamy laws in Canada would be upheld. This case had/has wide sweeping implications and deals with many more subjects than just polygamy itself, including (but not limited to) pedophilia, child-traficking, and religious freedoms in general and particular to the FLDS. And I have to say, i really rejoiced and thanked God when i saw that the laws had been upheld and this deplorable practice would not become legal in Canada. But even before the ruling came in, i had this nagging feeling that has not yet left me. And it is simply this: we must be careful as evangelical Christians how much we champion and rejoice this legal and moral victory, for in the very same year, doctrines and practices we hold dear could be “on the block”.
I want to be clear in my words here: i am in no way saying polygamy is right or good, nor am i saying that the law was not right to prosecute and deny this practice. I also believe that, while Scripture does not explicitly say “polygamy is a sin” the pages of the Bible are filled with example after example of the destruction and absence of blessing that comes from taking more than one wife; i trust that is not a point anyone in my circles is disputing.
What i am saying though is that we are already seeing affronts on the church of Christ in our day; from seeking to declare the Bible as “hate speech” to the more subtle insidiousness of pluralism and tolerance, which relegate the truths of God to ‘one choice amoung many’ and ‘acceptable as long as it stays within the confines of the church walls‘. And with that, i would say there is a growing ‘for now!’ attached to that acceptance of the belief and practice of evangelical Christianity. For one example, listen to the words of the judge (George Macintosh) who handed down this verdict today in BC, as presented in the Vancouver Sun article,
“In a 335-page ruling, the judge said that while the law “minimally impairs” the constitutional right of religious freedom, it is justified by the harms polygamy causes to women, children and society.” http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Judge+finds+polygamy+constitutional+used+prosecute+children/5755741/story.html
… did you catch that? It is acceptable to impair (‘minimally’ in this case) religious freedom in Canada when the court views that the harms caused by such a religious practice (and that is what the Bountiful guys were claiming protection under) warrant it. Now here a thoughtful person should take pause i feel. To both say ‘yes and amen – of course!’, but also to consider that what we endorse and champion here as justice, could all to easily turn against our own cherished belief and practice someday. For, who decides in the end what is “minimally impairing” to religious freedom, and who decides what particular “harms” warrant greater restriction of those same freedoms? Again, understand me that i believe this judgement to be right and good and in accordance with God’s law. But whenever a human court wins any victory over religious freedoms in Canada, it should be celebrated with caution. Thankful to God for the good, and humble at His grace which at the same time shields His truth in a culture that places us all (Christian, Mormon, JW, Muslim) under that category “RELIGIOUS”.