Patrick Craine

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Evangelicals disappointed Toronto Catholic trustees didn’t stand up for faith

Patrick Craine
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TORONTO, Ontario, September 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Evangelical leaders have expressed dismay after trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board rejected amendments to their equity policy designed to ensure faithfulness to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In a Tuesday blog post Faye Sonier, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said the board’s equity policy, which comes as part of the Ontario government’s mandatory equity and inclusive education strategy, is part of a widespread effort to promote a “new diversity” that can only operate by excluding contrary beliefs.

The policy had sparked an unprecedented mobilization of parents over fears that it will give homosexual activists a foothold in order to further subvert already weak Catholic sexual teaching in the schools.

The Toronto situation, she said, is “simply one of many cases across the country where the government or special interest groups, in aggressive pursuit of a troubling alteration to the concept of ‘diversity’, attempt to crush any expression of belief that is inconsistent with their own. “

She expressed her disappointment that the trustees rejected “straight-forward statements” seeking to ensure student clubs remain faithful to Catholic moral teaching and that teachers promote conduct that is consistent with those teachings.

In advance of last week’s vote, EFC vice-president and general legal counsel Don Hutchinson had called on the board to uphold a vigorous and authentic Catholic identity.  He told LifeSiteNews that the board should defend its Constitutional right to teach the Catholic faith “without having their religious beliefs infringed upon by the policies of the Ministry of Education.”

In her blog post, Sonier noted that the Toronto board’s policy “would (as drafted) necessitate the school board to stand in opposition to the Vatican.” This is because the policy specifically recognizes “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground for non-discrimination in violation of a 1992 directive from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“‘Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination,” wrote the CDF, led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.  “Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder and evokes moral concern.”

Evangelical minister Royal Hamel also took a stand with the Catholic parents in a Friday column for the Guelph Mercury.

Lauding the Catholic parents for taking “an open and strong stance for the straightforward teachings of Jesus,” Hamel slammed the government for “trying to impose a secular agenda” on the Catholic schools.

While the government says it is aiming to eliminate bullying, he says Catholics are rightly “alarmed that their biblical/moral/theological stance on homosexuality will be gravely undermined.”

“My admiration for Catholics is doubly strong when I consider that many Protestant churches have virtually caved to the secular culture in controversial ethical matters,” he continues.

“Some people may wonder why I as an evangelical Christian openly commend Catholics,” writes Hamel.  “It’s simple. The government is attempting to subvert their teaching — and they are fighting back.”

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