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JULY 3, 2016: Canadian Navy members with Rainbow flags march at Toronto Pride Parade.

Dec. 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A couple of months ago, I wrote a column detailing the story of a Christian sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy who narrowly avoided having to participate in the Navy’s celebration of Gay Pride week. The celebration of an ideology firmly opposed to traditional Christianity, I pointed out, was another way of forcing conscientious Christians out of the Armed Forces. Since that story ran, I’ve received a number of emails and messages from Christians throughout the Canadian military, all telling me that the secular progressive takeover has become increasingly intrusive, and increasingly mandatory.

Last week, I received another email from a Canadian sailor, this time giving details of his unit's mandatory diversity training, which includes the introduction of the idea of “Positive Spaces,” which are similar to “safe spaces,” but involve the mandatory affirmation of lifestyles that many Christians might oppose on principle.

The email read as follows:

On Wednesday, 30 November 2016, my naval unit within CFB Halifax held a mandatory “professional development” day, which mostly comprised of half-baked seminars on the need for diversity in the workforce, harassment training, and ethics and values of [the] Department of National Defence. My entire unit was present, including Command, which was composed of roughly 300 military personnel and civilian employees. As part of our “professional development” and training, CFB Halifax sanctioned an hour lecture on the newest breakthroughs ascertained in the study of gender fluidity and transgender rights.

As you may recall, the Royal Canadian Navy officially endorsed the LGBTQ movement in May with what is now known as “The RCN's summer of Pride.” While the most publicized portion of that endorsement was the Navy's determination to march in the Halifax Pride parade in uniform, and when it raised the Pride flag across the formation (including across the fleet), it also involved the set up of the Positive Space Initiative designed to bring awareness and mandatory training to sailors and employees on “inappropriate” behaviours, and on how to foster a “positive” (vice “safe” space, which was so 2015) workplace environment. Therefrom, the seminar on gender fluidity theory and LGBTQ rights arose, which has alarmingly become a staple in “professional development” days for CFB Halifax.

For an hour, we were required to listen to a transgendered employee preach on the progress made by the LGBTQ movement, on the cisnormative culture which ostensibly plagues society, and the fluidity of gender. The lecturer had the audacity to claim that the Positive Space Initiative was meant to foster a healthy and diverse workplace for all views, yet ironically declared that any opposition to the new gender (un)reality would be labelled as hate and improper conduct. 

Sadly, I have to report that many in the room by the end of the presentation were giving a standing ovation. However, I did observe a few disgruntled sailors, who were all mainly part of the old guard more concerned with the actual mission (the purpose) of the Navy. On the other hand, the majority by the end insisted that such seminars become more common, because, to them, it displayed the “courage” of the transgendered employee fighting for equality. Ultimately, leadership hopes that the seminar will serve as a model to spread to other military units and services (i.e., Army and Air Force) across Canada in the months ahead…

I wanted to post the above statement publicly, but the current mindset of the Brass within the Navy would be to have me punished for speaking against such unrealities. While a Christian may nominally serve in the Navy (for now at least), it is heavily frowned upon to actually practice as one and speak about truth and faith. Thus, I had to use all means of self-control to refrain from walking out in the middle of the [seminar] this week, especially since my Commanding Officer was [one] of those who enthusiastically endorsed the brave new (in)doctrine(ation). All I wanted at that moment was to go back to my workplace and focus on the real mission at hand. Instead, I was taught the virtues of Tom becoming Tina, and the evil prejudices of my cisnormative ways.

Accompanying this email was a copy of the PowerPoint presented to the sailors and officer, titled “The CFB Halifax Positive Space Initiative.” This training—and this initiative—are necessary, according to the presenter, because “Members of the LGBTQ+ community face specific and unique challenges in the workplace where heteronormative attitudes continue to exist.”


Royal Canadian Navy Diversity Training (Text)


The presentation focused largely on dispelling the dangerous idea of “heteronormativity,” which the presenter defined as “the belief or assumption that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (male and female) with natural roles in life. It assumes that heterosexuality is the norm, and sexual relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes.” Gender, the presenter iterated, is “a social construct.” Heteronormativity must be combatted in the Royal Canadian Navy because all people are “vulnerable to the internalization of these assumptions and bias which are so pervasive in our society. This includes racism, sexism, classism etc.” For example, the presentation noted:

           Heteronormativity (aka Heterosexism) and binarism are linked to:

Homophobia: Fear, hatred, repulsion or social aversion of persons who are or are assumed to be LGBTQ.

Biphobia: Fear, hatred, repulsion or social aversion to persons who are or are assumed to be bisexual.

Transphobia: Fear, hatred, repulsion or social aversion of person who are or are assumed to be transgender or gender non-conforming.


To help the attendees of this training course along in understanding this new “gender is a social construct” ideology, the presenter featured a slide depicting “The Genderbread Person,” which was ironically a cookie-cutter human-shaped gingerbread person with a diagram laying out how sexual orientation, biological sex, and gender expression are all separate things with no obvious connection to one another—unless, of course, you subscribe to the phobia-ridden and dangerous ideology of heteronormativity.

Keep in mind, here, that there is no scientific evidence to back the radical claims of the transgender activists. And yet, this ideology is being ramrodded into every public institution that activists can gain access too. This is the crux of University of Toronto professor Jordan B. Peterson’s current war against political correctness: a small cabal of activists with extreme and unsubstantiated views are successfully hijacking what was once an ongoing conversation by labeling all disagreement as “hate speech” and imposing speech codes through the sorts of diversity trainings that sailors on a Canadian Naval Base were recently subjected to.

These activists claim to be working to further inclusion and tolerance, but they have no wish to include competing points of view and will not tolerate dissent. That is why the emails and messages I receive are so often anonymous, or are sent by people who request anonymity if I publicize the information they send—because they fear being punished for expressing what was once a noncontroversial and common point of view.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.