A Canadian Press story published earlier this week by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) links the teachings of Crossroads Christian Communications on issues such as homosexuality, to a decision by the federal government to stop providing Crossroads with matching funding through its Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Crossroads, founded by Rev. David Mainse, produces Canada’s national daily Christian television program, 100 Huntley Street, as well as other Christian television shows for both domestic and foreign consumption. Its foreign missions division has projects running overseas, including the project in Uganda for which funding has been halted.
Typically, CIDA works alongside development organizations such as World Vision and matches the funds raised by the organizations within their own constituency. Past grants over the years to various groups have matched funding by as much as a 9:1 ratio.
“I have asked officials to review this organization before further payments are made,” tweeted Julian Fantino, International Cooperation Minister.
The group was receiving funding from the government of Canada for its work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians face severe threats.
The federal government has denounced virulent homophobia in that East African country and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned plans for an anti-gay bill that could potentially include the death penalty for homosexuals.
Nevertheless, the federal government has been providing $544,813 in funding for Crossroads Christian Communications — an Ontario-based evangelical group that produces television programming — to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.
Until Tuesday, the organization’s website carried a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”
Lower down the page, the group asks sinners to “repent.”
In a later part of the article:
A study by the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid concluded that, between 2005 and 2010, the funding for religious non-government organizations increased 42 per cent. Secular groups saw an increase of five per cent.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been asked about that disparity.
“We consider the efficiency of projects,” Harper replied during a Montreal news conference last month. “(We) do not consider the religion of groups promoting these projects.”
A further update from CBC News is available here.
Because many relief agencies are evangelical and share Crossroads’ views on social issues, this could spell the end of matching government funding for groups not willing to tone down or renounce their positions on subjects where they feel the Bible’s teaching is non-negotiable.
UPDATE (10:00 AM) — Turns out I missed some good background on this story — Crossroads isn’t the first to see its CIDA funding cut — at this item at Bene D.