OTTAWA, September 23, 2003 ( – At a press conference today Evangelical, Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, and Orthodox clergy announced their objections to the passing in the House of Commons of Bill C-250, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda).  Rev. Tristan Emmanuel executive director of the ECP Centre, spoke for the group saying, “Private member’s Bill C-250 is pernicious Legislation. Its passage in the House of Commons was assisted by the Government’s furtive support.”  The group asked the Senate not to rubber stamp the legislation but to consider carefully its dangers. “As Canadian pastors we find this objectionable. We call upon the Senate of Canada to exercise sober second thought on this ill-conceived Bill. We believe that homosexual persons as equal Canadians are already protected in law by the Criminal Code. Bill C-250 is not about the protection of homosexual persons at all, but rather is a direct assault on freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression in Canada. Bill C-250 seeks to criminalize debate and speech, writing and text, and any expressed opinion about the moral dimensions of human sexuality,” said Rev. Emmanuel.  “As clergy and as Canadians, we are concerned that Bill C-250 while in the House of Commons did not receive adequate study and consideration. We are asking the Senate and the Senators to give this Bill, this proposed amendment to the Criminal Code, the study and consideration that it properly deserves and did not receive in the House of Commons. Moreover, we are calling upon pastors, ministers and clergymen across Canada to address the Senate on behalf of their congregations and faith communities.”  Clergy in attendance at the press conference included:  · Father François Beyrouti, the St. Peter and St. Paul Melkite Catholic Church of Ottawa, and · Reverend Matthew Dyck, the Almonte Reformed Presbyterian Church, and · Reverend Hudson Hilsden, retired minister, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and · Reverend Matthew Kingswood, the Russell Reformed Presbyterian Church, and · Pastor Katherine Lu, the Toronto Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship, and · Father Alex Michalopulos, the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of Ottawa, and · Pastor Dominic Tse, the Toronto Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship


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