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News

Scottish minister charges police with hate for their hate crime campaign

The Scottish government and Scottish police have joined together under the banner "One Scotland" to campaign against hate crimes using videos and a variety of billboards. One billboard reads:

Dear bigots, you can't spread your religious hate here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.

Another, longer one, says:

Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don't want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don't want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people's lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That's why if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you.  End of sermon.  Yours, Scotland

The minister at St Peters Free Church (and former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland) David Robertson, was quick to point out the problem with this campaign – the police have lumped hate crimes (crimes motivated by hate...as opposed to those motivated by love?) in with "hate incidents." Vague definitions mean that the police's hate crime campaign might well be violating their own definition of a hate incident. On his blog (theweeflea.com) Robertson shared a letter he had written to the police and government to report to them their own "hate incident" and began with their definition:

“A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.”

On these incredibly vague grounds, he points out that on a day-to-day basis, he experiences a lot of anti-Christian "hate." He gives as examples, parishioners who have been bullied at work and in higher education. But he also quotes a number of emails that he regularly receives, such as:

“Personally, as a secularist, I hate religion and feel I have every right to, despite attempts by the Scottish government to sneak a blasphemy law round the back door by making it an offence this year to hate religion.”

He then points out that the inundation of billboards is in and of itself "hate incidents," promoting anger and hatred against religion, possibly resulting in vandalism against churches and worse. He also points out that the problem with the term "hate crime" is that it bears with it the threat of criminal prosecution. We can learn from Robertson's response to the officials in Scotland. With some wit, he points out the self-contradicting nature of their own propaganda, and then takes the time to ensure there is no doubt that he is against bullying and hatred...and also governments that exceed their proper limits. Hatred, as we know from Scripture, is a sin, but things such as murder and assault are sins as well as crimes. Sin must be repented of, and then forgiven in Christ. Crimes must be punished by the government, and it is difficult to judge something based on feelings in a court of law. At the end of the day, the irrationality of such a billboard campaign may be clear enough for even the culture at large to see. It is internally incoherent, as can be seen in their two fundamental principles:

1) Hatred is a crime 2) I hate haters

One other Christian voice has chimed in with wit and humor to expose this campaign. A Christian think tank and advocacy group, Christian Concern, created three alternative posters copying the very same style. One read:

Dear One Scotland, All people should be free to express their views, even if they offend other people. This is what freedom of speech means. How about promising to protect those whose views others might find offensive? This is how democracy works.  Love,  Some Christian friends

And we'll leave them with the last word:

Dear One Scotland, Do you really think that churches are teaching their members to be hateful towards others? Or to be violent towards people we disagree with? Why not pop into a church sometime and find out what we really think? Love, Some Christian friends

News

Ninja's take on the "Billy Graham rule"

Tyler Blevins is known around the globe as "Ninja," an online gamer making $500,000 a month by streaming his game play to his millions of fans – people are paying to watch him play video games.  Blevins is most associated with Fortnite, an online multiplayer build-and-battle game, that was released in 2017 and has already pulled in more than 100 million players. For those who don't play, it might be best known as the very first video game banned by a professional hockey team. Vancouver Canuck players have been told to keep their competitive focus on the ice. Blevins' video game skills are his major claim to fame, but he made news this past August for a very different reason. In an August interview he let it be known that as a rule he didn't play with female gamers. This "Ninja rule" echoed one adopted by US Vice President Mike Pence (and first crafted by evangelist Billy Graham) that he would never meet alone with a woman other than his wife. Like Pence before him, Ninja was criticized for how his rule limited opportunities for women. A lot of important work is done in the lunches and dinners before and after meetings, so if women couldn't dine alone with the Vice President, but men could, then it might well limit those women's opportunities to interact with the boss. When it comes to Ninja, teaming up with him brings a lesser-known gamer increased attention, and his rule means that only men can gain from Ninja's fame. But Ninja was unapologetic. In a September interview with ESPN he explained that he will play in groups with women, but not one-on-one because that can involve two people talking for hours on end, which is "very intimate in a way." And he doesn't want to do that with anyone other than his wife. "This is my spouse. This is the person I vowed to spend the rest of my life with....The fact that anyone feels they can judge how I'm protecting my relationship and try to make it political ... really?" The "Ninja rule" and "Mike Pence rule" do have their downsides for the women around them, but there is also an upside. No one can accuse any of them of the wrong-doings bringing down so many in so many other fields. Their marriages are protected not only from sin, but even from the appearance of sin. In an ideal world, this sort of trade-off – an unblemished reputation, at the expense of limiting some opportunities for women – wouldn't be necessary. But in our sin-stained world, that does seem the choice that's out there. And while it isn't clear if Blevins is a Christian or not, for Mike Pence and Billy Graham, the choice they made has allowed them to offer a Christian witness to the world that has been free of any hint of marital scandal. God is glorified in their work in a way that He wouldn't have been if sexual scandal had brought them low. Now Blevins is following in their footsteps, not for God, but for his wife. That choice also seems a hard one to criticize....

News

A secular defense of the Sabbath, and how it falls short

Fast Company is a secular business magazine, as likely to pass on presentation tips from industry leaders as it is to pass on marketing tips from drag queens. So this isn't the first place you'd look to find a defense of Sabbath rest, but there it was in a Sept. 14 piece titled: "Let's bring back the Sabbath as a radical act against the always-on economy." The author, William Black, overlooks the core of Sabbath rest – that we take our rest in the Lord, coming together to worship Him. But because God's Law is written on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15), even unbelievers can recognize the Law's validity, at least in part. A practical case for the Sabbath Black began his article by pointing to the religious roots of the commandment, but he certainly wasn't making a religiously-based appeal for it. Implicit in his argument was that, despite how "the commandment smacks of obsolete puritanism" there was still something radical and vital about it. "When taken seriously, the Sabbath has the power to restructure not only the calendar but also the entire political economy. In place of an economy built upon the profit motive – the ever-present need for more, in fact the need for there to never be enough – the Sabbath puts forward an economy built upon the belief that there is enough." In a materialistic world, whose gods include "career advancement" and "more take-home pay" there's no end of the work that can be done to earn the gods' favor. Enough is never enough, because extra work can help you advance further and faster, and help you earn more. In that kind of world, the idea of taking one day off every week is not only radical, but downright blasphemous – such a break can only be enjoyed by those who recognize the materialistic gods are not worth giving our full devotion. Black continues by sharing how Sabbath rest was a benefit for the whole community: "The fourth commandment presents a od who, rather than demanding ever more work, insists on rest. The weekly Sabbath placed a hard limit on how much work could be done and suggested that this was perfectly all right; enough work was done on the other six days. And whereas the pharaoh relaxed while his people toiled, Yahweh insisted that the people rest as Yahweh rested: 'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.' "The Sabbath, as described in Exodus and other passages in the Torah, had a democratizing effect. Yahweh’s example – not forcing others to labor while Yahweh rested – was one anybody in power was to imitate. It was not enough for you to rest; your children, slaves, livestock, and even the 'aliens' in your towns were to rest as well. The Sabbath wasn’t just a time for personal reflection and rejuvenation. It wasn’t self-care. It was for everyone." While Black repeatedly mentions the Jewish origins of Sabbath rest, his is still a secular case for the command - he's touting the practical benefits, and not that this is God's authoritative command. Black may or may not be a Christian himself, but his approach – praising God's Law, without praising the Lawmaker – is one Christians commonly take. Whether it's abortion, sex-ed curriculums, or refusing to bake cakes for same-sex marriages, Christians regularly argue for the godly position while avoiding any mention of our God. We do that for tactical reasons – the world's not interested in God, so they'll just ignore us if we start any argument with His Name, right? Without God the argument fails But the problem is, all of God's Law – every position we're arguing for – stands on Him. Take abortion as an example. Christians will often argue that abortion is wrong because killing babies is wrong. And because God's Law is written on everyone's hearts, that's an argument the other side will concede. But they'll dispute that the unborn are babies and question how something so small and immature can really be of the same worth as much larger, already-born human beings. So the real argument is not, "Is killing wrong?" but "Where does our worth come from?" Only God provides a satisfactory answer to that question: our worth comes not from any abilities we have, but is intrinsic in being made in His Image (Gen. 1:26-27, Gen. 9:6). That's why an unborn baby has value, no matter how small, and doesn't gain worth as it gains in abilities. This intrinsic value is also why a disabled adult isn't of lesser worth even though he can do less, and why an elderly adult doesn't lose their worth as they lose some of their abilities. Our worth comes not from what we can do, but from in Whose Image we are made. Even as the world rejects this explanation, they can offer no viable alternative. Why do they believe we – at least those of us who have already been born – are of equal worth? Where does the basis for equality come from? Some are bigger, or smarter, or faster, or more inventive, or more artistic, and some are less so – in every which way, no two human beings are exactly alike, so on what basis would we ever talk about equality? There is no worldly justification for it. The world holds to equality, but can't offer an explanation for it. But we can. Only God makes sense of the world Isn't that something we should be pointing out? That's God makes the world make sense? It's no different with Sabbath rest – any argument for it needs to be built on God, and if it isn't, the argument will fall short. In his article Black speaks of an economy that embraces Sabbath rest as being one "driven, not by anxiety, but by...enoughness." And he contrasts that with our current 24-7 "anxious striving for more." Black wants our society to make the switch; he wants us to leave the "always-on economy" and start trusting in "enoughness." But what Black can't explain is on what basis his secular audience can confidently make that leap. Is there always going to be enough? Can we really depend on that? His readers will know that in some spots on our planet there isn't enough right now. They'll also know that if our economy takes a downward turn, there might not be enough here too. That's why the secular soul always has a reason to strive for more – so they can build a better cushion against whatever difficulties the future might bring. In short, as much sense as Sabbath rest makes – as great as the practical benefits are for mental, physical, emotional, and even relational, health – it doesn't make near the same sense without the Sabbath Lord. The world always has reason to fear the future, so they always have reason to continue striving anxiously. It is only the Christian, trusting in the Lord, who can not only take a break each week from the constant demands of work, but who can take rest where it can truly be found: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). That the secular argument for the Sabbath doesn't stand up on its own isn't a reason to give up on the practical arguments for obeying God's law. But it is a reason to start with God – to start with Him as our cornerstone – and build up from there....

News

Saturday Selections - October 6, 2018

Alberta's NDP says Christian school cannot state that God's authority supersedes human authority If the idea that a Canadian provincial government would try this strikes you as unbelievable, don't just read the article linked up above, but also the Christian school's "Safe and Caring Policy" as marked up by the government. You can find it here. What the 9th commandment would have us do in a social media world Tim Challies applies the 9th Commandment (and the Westminster Shorter Catechism) to Twitter, Facebook, and more. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here. Keeping technology in its proper place: An interview with Andy Crouch Andy Crouch is the author of the Tech-Wise Family. Parents will find a lot of advice here worth considering. Gender ideology over science The American Academy of Pediatricians has "made a monumental decision" recently to embrace transgenderism, and as the folks at Breakpoint show, it has nothing to do with evidence, or science, but is instead about blind unthinking obedience to an ideology. Suppressing politically incorrect science on gender...and on intelligent design This is a long read, but if you know someone who thinks science is the ultimate standard, this might be a helpful one to point them to, to highlight just how biased scientists, and published "science," can be. Answering Ehrman - one of the Bible's skeptics gets answered in bite-size chunks Dr. Bart Ehrman is one of the best known critics of the Bible, and now a number of Christian scholars have come together to answer his charges one by one, in bite-sized videos, at EhrmanProject.com. This is a great resource if you or anyone you know is being confronted with Ehrman's work, but discernment is needed as some answers are better than others. ...

News

Saturday Selections – September 29, 2018

My big flaw: I am an impatient parent Being on time is a virtue. Taking it out on your kids when you're not, isn't. Thank-you for your messy house! "While I’m not suggesting never cleaning your house, it did strike me that it is pride that makes me reluctant to present a less than perfect front." Prof tells BC student that discussing abortion in class is "hateful" and "unsafe" Why is any mention of abortion thought offensive, even in a university (i.e. supposedly free-thinking) setting? Because deep down the world understands it is a monstrous evil, and even their deadened consciences are pricked when the least mention is made. So they don't want to hear it! But for the sake of the unborn, hear it they must. And this Reformed young woman was willing to do so. How to think (and how not to think) This is an absolutely fascinating article making the point that much of the evidence cited in the creation/evolution debate isn't evidence for one side or the other, but fits with both. So the key, then, is to focus on finding the sorts of evidence that only fit one theory or the other. Our minds are more than our brains The world views us as elaborate machines, the brain the equivalent of a computer (admittedly a supercomputer). That has implications, the biggest being that free will is an illusion. If we are only machines, then our actions – our output – are merely the outworking of our collective inputs. We've done what we were programmed to do. The Bible says something else entirely. And a closer look at our brain also shows that the computer analogy simply doesn't hold. The evidence says that our minds are separate from and exist somewhere beyond our brains. Myers-Briggs and other mirrors for the soul (1o minutes) A Christianity Today review explores how one of the world's most influential personality tests doesn't have a solid scientific grounding, while in the video below Dr. David Powlison gives a Christian perspective on how our temperament (our personality) can have a powerful impact on us. (10 minutes) The video "Do smartphones make us stupid? Or rude?" that was previously listed here has been cut because it might have had copyright problems....

News

Saturday Selections – August 25, 2018

Colorado Civil Rights Commission is after Jack Phillips again! A baker, who had to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court to be allowed not to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, is now facing charges from the same human rights commission for declining to bake a cake for a transgender transitioning celebration. Today, more than ever, read beyond the headlines Tim Challies on how even conservative or Christian media and bloggers can use headlines that are not telling us the full truth. That's why we need to do more than skim article titles. Susan Pevensie lives! If you were disturbed by Susan's absence in The Last Battle, the concluding book of the Narnia series, you'll enjoy this explanation of where she's ended up (10 min. read). Two atheists walk into a bar... Atheists will get upset when it's claimed they can't account for morality: "We can be as moral, kind, and helpful as anyone else. Many an atheist is the model neighbor, friend, and citizen." This claim may be true enough, but it isn't relevant. The point isn't whether atheists act moral, but whether their worldview provides any reason for them to do so. A Christian may well kill and steal (think of King David), even as that atheist over there spends his life helping little old ladies across the street. But the point is that when a Christian steals and kills he is breaking God's Commandments – he is not living according to his worldview. But if an atheist were to do the same thing, what atheist creed or principle would they be violating? What morality does atheism teach? School is here again - parents, watch out for the performance trap "The gospel is about grace; School is about performance. The gospel is about receiving compassion; School is about earning grades....The gospel and school. There is a disconnect, but it doesn’t have to exist." Truth is compassion: a grown man cannot become a little girl Just five years ago, almost no one took transgender claims seriously. Now folks are getting fired for insisting that God created us male and female. Why are we are losing this debate? One reason is because too many are afraid to even offer up the truth. Compelling, thought-provoking presentations of the truth are available, like this one below. But they are only useful if Christians use them, sharing them on our social media feeds. If no one will speak the truth – if we won't speak the truth – it shouldn't be surprised when the lie gains ground (3 min). ...

News

Adam Ford wants you to bypass social media

Adam Ford was a wildly successful Christian cartoonist (Adam4d.com) before he mostly gave that up to start a wildly successful Christian satire site (BabylonBee.com) that he has also mostly given up. So what’s next for Mr. Ford? He’s started a Christian news aggregator site (ChristianDailyReporter.com) with links to Christian perspectives on the most important news stories of the day. Only time will tell whether this too will be wildly successful. But it won’t be for lack of passion. As Ford explains in a “manifesto” he’s included on the site: The majority of people get their news from social networks. We rely on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to such a degree that we allow them to decide what content we consume, what issues we consider important, what news is news, what is and is not allowed to be said, what's true and what's not. These companies shape the way our brains think by controlling what our eyes see every day…. Now they increasingly shut down content that they don't approve of. At their own discretion, by their own definitions and values….We have given them extreme power over the flow of information. For a few companies to have the power to control the way billions of people think is terrifying and dangerous. It is unacceptable. The control that Facebook has, is control we’ve given it. Consider Reformed Perspective as an example. As much as 90% of our website traffic comes via Facebook – almost no one goes directly to our website itself. That becomes a problem when Facebook won’t let us promote a post, which has been happening on a still rare, but increasing, rate. When it does happen, it means very few people will see the article show up in their Facebook feed, which means very few will read it on the website. In a very real way Facebook controls whether Reformed Perspective articles will get read. Ford wants to bypass these social media sites altogether by having folks come directly to ChristianDailyReporter.com each day. And we, of course, would love people to visit ReformedPerspective.ca directly too. It’s an old fashioned idea – typing websites into our browser’s address bar – but if we want our news from a Christian perspective, then we need to go directly to the source, and not let Facebook, Twitter, and others, act as a filter....

News

Saturday Selections – August 11, 2018

5 simple things you can do to raise kind kids This psychologist may or not may be Christian, but the suggestions he offers for modeling kindness are bang on. Is Genesis history or psychology? A response to Jordan Peterson A couple of creationists look at the theological thinking of the most popular Canadian on the planet. Ted Tripp on manhood "Dads work out their leadership by toil and hardship in order to serve, not by demanding that they be served." The soulmate fantasy "A soulmate isn’t someone you discover; it’s someone you intentionally and prayerfully become." George Orwell knew: we willingly buy the screens that are used against us In 1984 screens are everywhere, monitoring everything people do. How did they get such coverage? In Orwell's world, like our own, people willingly bought these tools of self-enslavement. Does the US use 500 million straws a day? And is that a problem? Why does the secular world want to solve fake environmental crises? Maybe it's because their flawed worldview won't allow them to solve real problems. ...

News

Alberta man says he is woman to save money on car insurance

When an Alberta man learned he would pay $1,100 less for car insurance if only he were a she, he saw a loophole he could use. Identified only as “David” by CBC, to protect his identity, the 24-year-old got a doctor’s note that declared him a woman, and used that to change his birth certificate and driver’s license. He shared his changed “gender” with his insurance company and now, instead of paying $4,517 a year, it will only cost him $3,423. While David assured CBC that, “I didn’t do it to criticize or ridicule transgender or LGBT rights” his stunt has gotten folks talking. Stephanie McLean, an NDP MLA, and Marie Little, the former chair of the Trans Alliance Society, have both attacked him for insincerely stating he identifies as a woman. But there’s another battleground here that isn’t being explored by the mainstream press. David has bought into the politically-correct notion that men and woman are not notably different. That’s why he was angered when he, as a man, was treated differently by the insurance company. He saw this as outrageous sexism. Meanwhile, transgender activists like Marie Little think there are real differences between the genders. If there weren’t, then what sense would it make for a man to say he felt like a woman? So, which of the two is right? Are men and women practically identical? Or are they fundamentally different? These two questions could get a ruckus going among the politically correct. And here’s a third: if, instead of insincerely identifying as a woman, David had in all sincerity identified as a safe driver, should his insurance company have concluded: “If that’s how he identifies, then that’s what he must be”?...

News

Saturday Selections - July 28, 2018

How to help your daughter deal with mean girls Three tips on how to help your girls deal with - and not become - mean girls. Some cultures are better than others Some post-modern folk are so consistent with the outworking of their worldview, they'll argue that a culture that conducted ritual sacrifice daily is just practicing what they believe, and we shouldn't judge them. Thankfully, most post-modern folk aren't this consistent, and showing them something like this can help them see through the problem with their worldview. Facebook shuts down Christian ideas while allowing others to post threats  When CBC posted a video pushing homosexuality on what looked like kindergarten kids, a Christian professor posted a protest to his Facebook page. And got suspended by Facebook. Moreover, when folks share that they have been muted by Facebook, on Facebook - or their friends do - that can lead to further suspensions. Anne with an E is a PC fail Anne of Green Gables, everyone's favorite Canadian heroine, has been turned into an advocate for homosexuality, and an opponent of "domesticity and traditional social roles." What the Roman Catholic Church is still wrong: a helpful book R. Scott Clark reviews D.G Hart's new book Still Protesting: Why the Reformation matters. If you have a Roman Catholic in your life, this may be a good read. Another is R.C. Sproul's Are We Together: A Protestant analyzes Roman Catholicism. Is the Earth's climate unstable? A young earth creationist's thoughts (3 minutes) ...

News

Saturday Selections - July 21, 2018

Differences between salvation in the Qur’an and the Bible Three key differences, including that the Qur'an teaches Jesus did not die on the cross. On the bad idea of a "guaranteed minimum basic income" For over 50 years now, an idea has been floated in Canada to guaranteed basic income. The key point? There would be no conditions – not even for abled-bodied recipients. Citizens would be guaranteed this sum (one proposal suggests $16,000/year) whether they tried to work or not. The article here isn't written from a Christian perspective, so to the insight offered there we can add another – in our sinful state, Mankind is prone to the temptation of laziness, and this guaranteed income would only encourage that temptation. Beware the "spiritual danger of doing good" “I have seen friends and mentors throw themselves into the causes of justice and do extraordinary work for Jesus. I admired their passion, their devotion, and their sacrifice. But despite their extraordinary dedication, things went wrong. Burnout. Infidelity. Lost faith. Financial compromise. Personal meltdowns. My heart breaks for these friends and for the ministries they worked so hard to build.” Cheap sex and the decline of marriage Even as most Americans still wanted to get married, they want to do it later, so they can have sexual freedom now. But it turns out that approach brings with it some unintended and unhappy consequences (and we're not even talking about the diseases). Or, in other words, God's way is best. Summer causes global warming hysteria The Cornwall Alliance's Roy Spencer on how the media is being encouraged to equate summer heat in specific spots with global warming. Todd Wood, on created kinds The folks who brought us the documentary Is Genesis History? (which we review here) are back with their second volume of follow-up interviews. Instead of the 1-2 minute chunks we get to see in the original documentary, Volume 1 and 2 of Behind Is Genesis History offer the full 20-some minute interviews with all sorts of experts. This one, with Todd Wood, introduces us to the concept of "created kinds" (17 min). ...

News

The PCUSA and the need for more praise from the “mouth of babes”

This past June the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US – the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) – held their 223rd General Assembly. This is a denomination that already ordains sexually-active homosexuals so it's might not seem all that surprising when they make another departure from orthodoxy. But one observer, Dr. Mateen Elass, was surprised by just how comprehensive the departure has been. On his blog he shared the wording of a written prayer, handed out during the June 20 morning worship service at the Assembly: We praise you also for diverse faith among the peoples of the earth. You have bestowed your grace that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Practitioners of traditional religions and others may celebrate your goodness, act upon your truth and demonstrate your righteousness. As an average person in the pew, many of us are intimidated about evangelizing. We think we have to know everything about God before we can tell anyone anything about Him. Might we think differently if we understood what understood just how desperate the need is, and how great the poverty. Inside this 1.5 million member, formerly Reformed, denomination they don’t understand that serving other gods is not praiseworthy, but rebellion. This is a truth that their 20,000 ministers don’t seem to understand, but that we all know. All our children understand it. And if even our children know more than their ministers, then what excuse do we have for being too intimidated to speak? We might even be mere babes compared to some of the wise and knowledgeable theologians out there, but if God has called forth praise “from the lips of children and infants” (Matt. 21:16) – and He has! – then we can do likewise. The world – including many professing Christians too – need to hear about God from you and me....

News

Justin Trudeau, and what the need for two witnesses would have us do

On August 4, 2000, the 28-year-old Justin Trudeau was in Creston, BC to have fun at a festival put on by a beer company. Ten days later an editorial appeared in the local newspaper, the Creston Valley Advance, alleging that Trudeau had groped reporter Rose Knight and then offered this apology: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” On June 6, 2018, eighteen years later, the allegations resurfaced when commentator and former Liberal Party strategist Warren Kinsella shared a clipping of the old editorial on his twitter account and later on his blog. Will the PM apply the same standard? Why was Kinsella bringing this up now? He wanted to know if Prime Minister Trudeau was going to treat this allegation with the same zero-tolerance approach he’d been using with other Liberals MPs. Since 2014, he has expelled two MPs from caucus, and accepted the resignation of a third from caucus, and a fourth from Cabinet, when they were faced with allegations of sexual harassment. In the most recent instance, Kent Hehr had been the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities until he was accused of sexual harassment earlier this year. A day after the allegation – made via tweet – and before an investigation was conducted, the Prime Minister accepted Hehr’s resignation from his Cabinet post. Kinsella wanted to know “If what Kent Hehr did resulted in him being considered unfit for Cabinet, is Justin Trudeau similarly unfit?” He concluded his blog post with this question “Why aren’t you facing the same fate Kent Hehr did?” A confusing answer In responding to the allegations, the Prime Minister noted this event occurred long ago and stated “I am confident I did not act inappropriately.” But he went on to add that “often a man experiences an interaction as benign, or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently.” Was Trudeau saying he was innocent? Yes. So the reporter had wrongfully accused him? Well, no, he wasn’t going to say that. To understand Trudeau’s answer we have to view it in light of the #MeToo movement that sprang up late last year. The movement started when, over the course of October and November, over one hundred women came forward to accuse one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault or sexual harassment. The #MeToo hashtag went viral when it was used by many others stars to make allegations against other powerful entertainment figures. It was no shock, to Christians, that in an industry that exploits women’s sexuality onscreen, women would be exploited off screen too. We could cheer as, one after another, sexual predators were being exposed. The wrong solution But the #MeToo movement wasn’t anchored to a Christian idea of justice, and without that foundation, it couldn’t provide the right sort of correction. Soon demands were made for the accuser to always be believed. It was said that in a he said/she said situation, the accuser is less powerful so we should presume they are telling the truth because their risks in speaking out are great and they don’t have much to gain in reporting. Trudeau echoed this position in January shortly after the allegations against Kent Hehr were made. He told the World Economic Forum that when women bring forward accusations “it is our responsibility to listen and more importantly to believe.” This is why Hehr had to resign, even before an investigation. It’s also why Trudeau was so hesitant to say his accuser was wrong. Because the accuser must be believed. Point people to the answer So is Trudeau hypocritical for disciplining others facing allegations, and not resigning himself now? Maybe. But that’s not the point we should be making here. The very different lesson that needs to be learned here is that the standard Trudeau applied to others – always believing the accuser – is one that shouldn’t be applied to anyone (Matt. 7:2). To be clear, I'm not trying to argue that Trudeau is innocent of what’s been alleged. The point is, unless another eyewitness comes forward, we can’t know...so we shouldn’t find him guilty. After all, false accusers do exist. As Douglas Wilson noted Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor is in the Ten Commandments for a reason. This is a common sin –  it's not like it only happens "every 25 years or so." So we need a better standard to guide us – we need God’s standard. And in Deut. 19:15 He tells us how to proceed: One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” In other words, we aren’t even to entertain allegations made by just one accuser. But what of the women who are exploited and harassed away from any witnesses? It’s only when we understand that the guilty, in such circumstances, can’t be punished that we will understand what sort of societal changes need to be made. What we need is to demand less privacy, and bring in more light. As Jesus says in John 3:20-21: Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. And like any needed change, God’s people can model it first. So what would loving the light look like? We can see it in structural changes like how, in new schools, the offices now include one wall made entirely of glass. The school counselor or principal can still meet with a student behind a closed door but they are in full view of any number of passersby. In professional settings meetings can take place in public areas, or in an office with the door open. And if ever we get a Christian movie mogul he should invite a star’s agent to accompany the star for any meeting. This isn’t a full-blown Billy Graham rule but if sexual exploitation is as common as the aftermath of the #MeToo movement has made it seem to be, then there is good reason for this move towards more accountability and less privacy. Does that mean we’re letting Trudeau off the hook? Yes, because he should never have been on the hook in the first place. While God knows what did or didn’t happen, until and unless a second witness is found we can’t know, so we mustn’t judge. ADDENDUM After this article was published online, a number of issues were raised that need to be addressed. What might a second witness be? Some readers noted that evidence can serve as a witness: (DNA, security camera footage, electronic banking records, self-incrimination, etc.). That’s a good outworking of the biblical principle requiring multiple witnesses. Now, what sort of evidence rises to the level of being a second witness? For guidance on this point we can ask whether we would be satisfied if such evidence was used as proof against us (Matt. 7:1-2 & Matt. 7:12).  The consistory is not the police A concern was expressed that this article might encourage church consistories not to go to the police unless there are two witnesses when members come to them with allegations of sexual abuse. To be clear, the government, and not the church, is tasked by God to deal with crime (1 Peter 2:13-17). So if a crime is alleged, then church leaders must report it to the authorities. The issue of abuse and how to prevent it, and expose it, is a complex one, so it’s worth noting that this article has a limited focus. I am asking what Deut. 19:15’s two or three witness requirement would have us do in the context of the public debate about the allegation against Trudeau. As citizens of democracy, we have a say in the laws that the police administer, and we have a role in the public debate. So what direction should we give the world about the sort of laws we should have? And, just as important, what sort of rules of business etiquette can we encourage? One possibility: it should be seen as inappropriate/creepy for the powerful to invite the vulnerable to have business meetings alone in their hotel rooms.  What about abusive marriages? Some wondered, if this two-witness requirement was followed, whether it could make it difficult to get out of an abusive marriage. A particularly manipulative spouse might only be abusive when no one else is around to see it. The elders have to report any criminal abuse allegations to the police, but they do have a role in counseling. So if a wife claims abuse, should church leaders required two witnesses before they’d approve of a divorce? My article doesn’t touch on how elders should apply Deut. 19:15, but this is a pressing question that needs an answer. Douglas Wilson digs further into God’s Word to addresses it in his article, “On a wife deciding to leave her husband” to explain that while two witnesses are needed to prove abuse, the same isn’t required to flee such abuse....

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