Thinking Out Loud

January 1, 2020

Faith in Canada: Top Stories of 2019

Top 15 Canadian Items from the 2019 Blog Year

🇨🇦 In my view, Canada’s top faith-based story of the year, in terms of what we followed personally and what consumed our attention, wasn’t in the strictest sense faith-based at all, though it involved a couple who pastor a church in British Columbia.

An overseas adoption, which should have taken days on the ground once months of paperwork had been established, ended up taking months, and the Canadian government seemed unable or unwilling to speed up the process.

More recently, that story was summarized in the first 22 minutes of this Canadian television program:

Other stories of interest in 2019 were:

🇨🇦 In January, the controversial “attestation” in the federal government’s summer job grant program was removed for 2019. (Having to agree to the statement prevented many churches and Christian organizations from receiving the grant in 2018.) The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada reported on the changes in this 6-page .pdf article.

🇨🇦 LGBTQ and Faith: “Eight months after declining to ban conversion therapy, the Liberal party is promising to do just that if re-elected in October…In its platform released [late September], the Liberal party said it will criminalize the practice.”

🇨🇦 Quebec’s Bill 21: The article called it “Quebec’s strict secularism bill,” noting, “A new law in Quebec prohibits the wearing of religious symbols or clothing by some government employees, including public school teachers, state lawyers, judges and police officers…Quebec’s majority government passed the bill, 75-35, using closure June 16 after long hours of deliberation. Some last-minute amendments concerning surveillance provisions made the law more stringent than anticipated…Bill 21 includes a notwithstanding clause overriding some parts of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” More recently, four parts of the bill are being challenged in four separate lawsuits.

🇨🇦 In what many viewed as an upset, the Anglican Church of Canada did not ratify same sex marriage. The vote would have required a two-thirds majority from three constituencies consisting of lay-delegates, clergy and bishops. It was the bishops who failed to reach the two-thirds, coming close at 62.2%. So the rank-and-file parishioners are at odds with the leadership.

🇨🇦 The same denomination is facing extinction, “‘Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,’ said the Rev. Neil Elliot…” The historic denomination is a counterpart to the Episcopal church in the U.S. “Membership in the Anglican Church fell from a high of 1.3 million in 1961 in membership to 357,123 in 2017.” (But wait, didn’t we hear this before, ten years ago?)

🇨🇦 And it goes beyond Anglicanism: Or maybe it’s common to other countries in Western Europe and North America. “A national charity that works to save old buildings estimates that 9,000 religious spaces in Canada will be lost in the next decade, roughly a third of all faith-owned buildings in the country. National Trust for Canada regeneration project leader Robert Pajot says every community in the country is going to see old church buildings shuttered, sold off or demolished.”

🇨🇦 For one couple, belief appeared to cost them an adoption entirely. The Christian Post reported: In the week of April 30-May 4 of last year, they met with a Child Services social worker. The social worker asked the couple, one of whom is a pastor, if they “still” believe “in some of the more outdated parts of the Bible” and if they considered homosexuality a sin. Last October, the couple received a letter from Child Services declining their application, stating that “the policies of our agency do not appear to fit with your values and beliefs.”

🇨🇦 Although the same percentage of people in the U.S. and Canada claim no religious affiliation — referred to as ‘the nones’ — it’s easier to be unaffiliated in Canada. “With religion playing a less important role in Canadian public life, Canadians don’t view their country as a “Christian nation.” That also makes it increasingly easier for Canadians to say they don’t belong to any religious group.” The difference is the subject of a forthcoming book.

🇨🇦 The landscape for Christian book distribution in Canada changed suddenly and dramatically on December 1st as two of the country’s largest distributors — Foundation and Anchor/Word Alive — merged distribution and operations.

🇨🇦 From August, was this guy running ahead of the law? “After 20 years leading Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schadenberg is unsurprised by news a B.C. doctor has been exonerated for sneaking into an Orthodox Jewish nursing home and terminating an elderly resident.

🇨🇦 In His Majesty’s Secret Service, A Canadian author’s story of Bible Smuggling in Romania took 23 years to be published, but surfaced early in 2019.

🇨🇦 In December, the federal court in Canada decided that the Church of Atheism doesn’t qualify as a church, nor qualify for tax exempt status.

🇨🇦 Though not Canadian-focused, a very powerful article released in August by Canada’s Tim Challies on the influence that Amazon now has on the Christian publishing market in The Power Over Christian Publishing We’ve Given To Amazon.

🇨🇦 Here on the blog we ran a series on four of Canada’s best charity secrets of which two which are able to issue U.S. tax receipts, and of the other two, the orphanage is in such dire need I would hope some in the U.S. would want to give irrespective of tax advantages.

1 Comment »

  1. […] ICYMI: Our summary of the top Canadian-interest faith-related stories of 2019 which appeared at our parent blog’s weekly Wednesday Connect […]

    Pingback by News and Notes | Christian Book Shop Talk — January 6, 2020 @ 3:59 pm

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