Shared June 30th, 2014
Beloved in the Lord
Psalm 33:12 says Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
In this devotional, I want to talk about independence. Canada’s “independence” and I know that the United States’ (US) independence is also the feature this week, with Canada Day happening on July 1st and the US’ following suit on July 4th. You see, every nation, just like every individual, group or organization has a story to tell about itself, a history to recount, and a journey which it has taken and which defines its character. Let us look at Canada’s.
As a nation, Canada was birthed in Confederation in 1867. The founders of what is present day Canada started with such values in mind: give thanks to God Almighty for allowing them access to North America where they could worship Jesus Christ (this is important) without any prevention or persecution. The name Canada comes from the Huron “kanata” (St. Lawrence Iroquoian word), meaning “village” or “settlement”. The name Dominion of Canadawas adopted during Confederation in 1867, and kept until the Constitution Act of 1982, when “Canada” became the only legal name. The national flag was officially adopted February 15, 1965. Canada’s motto “A Mari usque ad Mare” (From sea to sea) is from the Holy Bible: “He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth“ (Psalm 72:8).
1980 – O Canada, originally a poem written by Judge Routhier was officially proclaimed our national anthem; the original recognized the Almighty God as Sovereign and ruler of the Dominion of Canada. In 1927, the Order of Proceedings called for the Sunday following Dominion Day to become a national day of thanksgiving to express gratitude to God. In October, we celebrate our Thanksgiving to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is the Jesus Christ that we preach, I might add!
So, what is the situation now? What has happened to Christian Canada? I am saying that there once was a Christian Canada which is now gone! Right now, for example, we know very well that school prayer which was a part of Canadian foundation and culture is no more permitted in view of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is also known as The Charter of Rights and Freedoms or simply the Charter; by the way, the Charter forms a part of Canada’s Constitution. Within the Charter is the concept of the Freedom of Conscience (or ideas or thought). In other words, this is the type of freedom where an individual, citizen or not, is able to hold or consider an idea, thought, viewpoint, fact, independent of others’ viewpoints. Sounds good huh? Sounds real civilized huh?
Well, look at this single example from just one provincial perspective. In pre-1944 British Columbia (BC), Canada, the Lord’s Prayer was permitted when school started or was closing. In 1944, and being true to Canada’s Christian foundation, reading of the Holy Bible was required in BC schools. In fact it was compulsory for the opening and closing of the school day. So here they had the required reading of the Holy Bible followed by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the opening and closing of the school day.
Then came 1982 and enter the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the royal assent that it received. Hmm! Canada is advancing in knowledge and civilization. Or so it seemed. Section 2 of the Charter, which guaranteed freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, began to trump almost anything Christian that was in its path. To put it another way, it began to chip slowly and steadily at Canada’s Christian foundation, the values and morals that held Canada as a “Christian” country. Sometimes it chipped away real fast!
1989 – Ontario sets a precedent where it noted that the required recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (which was established in the Public Schools Act) violated, you guessed it, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So now the requirement to recite the Lord’s Prayer for the opening and closing of the school day was deemed, get this, “offensive.” The result? I t was removed as being very inconsistent with the freedom of conscience and religion. After all, freedom of conscience and religion was guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yep, Canada is building a new but hollow foundation!
So, it was claimed by others, observance of school prayer had declined from 1871 to 1989. To add to this, the claim was that requiring Christians (note now that the target is not Canadians but “Christians”) to execute their morning exercises in terms of reciting the Lord’s Prayer or reading the Bible needed to be eliminated and be replaced with the assertion that all schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and nonsectarian principles. So much for Christian Canada! Recall, this is just one example!
What about on the federal level? Let us pick this up at our next devotional meet, shall we.
Proposed prayer: Dear Lord, as Canadians celebrate their history and founding, it is our desire that Canadians will begin, really, to look at themselves and realize how far they have strayed from you. You do not want anyone to perish eternally so please, let Canada and all Canadians hear Your call and come back home. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
Enjoy your celebrations this week and as you do so, remember that Christ is waiting for you to include Him in your festivities. Happy Canada Day!