OTTAWA, Feb. 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s Official Opposition leader is under fire Tuesday after saying traditional Christian beliefs on sexuality go “completely against” Canadian values, and even Canadian law.
Thomas Mulcair, the leader of the New Democrat party, was up in arms Monday over a government grant supporting Crossroads Communications Inc.’s efforts to improve water access in Uganda because of the group’s beliefs about homosexuality.
The three-year $544,813 grant, awarded by the Canadian International Development Agency, was targeted by a report in The Canadian Press on Sunday because of a page on Crossroads’ website, since removed, that called homosexuality a “sin” and a “perversion.”
In response, International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino had said payments to Crossroads would be halted pending a review, but his office said Monday that the review was complete and the grant would continue.
Outside of the House of Commons Monday after Question Period, Mulcair told reporters Fantino’s support for the grant is “indefensible.”
"It's shocking to hear Minister Fantino defending the indefensible -- standing up today and defending a group that on its website is attacking something that's recognized and protected by Canadian law,” he said, according to multiple news reports. “So it goes against Canadian values, it goes against Canadian law and he can't defend that.”
The NDP leader also linked Crossroads with a bill before the Ugandan Parliament that would institute harsher penalties for same-sex relations. "We don't understand how the Conservatives can ... subsidize a group in Uganda whose views are identical to those of the Ugandan government," he said, according to QMI Agency.
Crossroads, however, has insisted that they are committed to “lov[ing] people unconditionally,” do not discriminate in their services, and oppose criminalizing homosexuality.
Mulcair's statement "is disingenuous, uninformed, incorrect, inflammatory and offensive to millions of Canadians," Mark Hughes, pastor of Winnipeg's Church of the Rock, told QMI Agency.
Don Hutchinson, Vice President and General Legal Counsel of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, told LifeSiteNews he hopes Mulcair will reconsider his statement.
“As a lawyer and political leader, we certainly anticipate that Mr. Mulcair will inform and sensitize himself to the issues that are important to all Canadians, over three quarters of whom identify as Christians and over 4 million of whom identify as evangelical Christians,” said Hutchinson. “Perhaps the current debate [about Crossroads] will help to inform the revision of his position as it was stated yesterday.”
Brian Lilley, host of Byline on the Sun News Network, told LifeSiteNews that Mulcair seems to be calling for a "belief test" to partner with the government.
"He wouldn't accept this if the belief test required an orthodox Christian worldview and Christians should not accept Mulcair's test," he said. "He has shown himself to be ignorant of Canadian law despite holding a law degree and spending the last few decades sitting in the nation's legislatures."
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Mulcair's office by press time.
Mulcair’s comments come only a week after a Tory minister criticized the NDP for opposing government partnerships with faith-based groups.
“Unfortunately, our Government’s willingness to work with these organizations has not always been supported,” wrote Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in a statement on his website Feb. 5th. “We have encountered opposition from groups and critics, including the NDP opposition members in Parliament, who do not share our Government’s belief in the value of providing support for these worthwhile community endeavors simply because they are delivered by faith-based groups.”
“It is unfortunate that we face opposition to partnerships with churches and organizations like Youth for Christ, Siloam Mission and the Salvation Army that are working hard to turn neighbourhoods around,” he added. “With support from our Government, organizations like these are helping communities in a variety of ways, from providing the less fortunate with a bed for the night and warm meals, to helping disadvantaged youth and helping curb gang activity.”
Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition