By John Jalsevac

TORONTO, June 6, 2008 ( – In a scathing editorial in the most recent issue of The Catholic Insight (CI), Fr. Alphonse de Valk, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, argues that the ideology of the “divinization” of the state that has historically been called “fascism”, is fast encroaching on the rights and freedoms of religious believers in Canada.

De Valk bases his argument on the increasing number of instances where Canadian citizens are being forced to choose between their religious beliefs and the dogmas of the state.

It is a situation with which De Valk is himself intimately familiar. Currently his magazine is the defendant in an expensive and drawn-out human rights complaint. De Valk and Catholic Insight are being accused of having done nothing more than stated traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality – the very same “crime” that other religious citizens in Canada have been found guilty of and punished for by the state’s human rights commissions.

De Valk begins his editorial by quoting a recent piece from REAL Women’s magazine, which said that in Canada in the very near future “adoptions, social services such as nursing homes, religious-based schools, marriages, employment conduct, etc., carried out by religious organizations will be held to secular standards, not religious ones.”

“One reason for this development,” says the editor of CI, “is the demand of homosexual activists that everyone conform to their vision of equality rights. So much for the argument that legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ would be of no concern except to homosexual activists.”

Already in Quebec, observes Fr. De Valk, the Department of Education is replacing Christian ethics in schools with a course that teaches that Christianity is but one religion amongst many others. In so doing, he says, “the state dismisses parental rights and the formative role of Christian culture, and replaces it with secular sociologyâEUR¦.In history this is called ‘statism,’ better known as fascism.”

In another recent case, the Ontario Human Rights Commission ruled that Christian Horizons, a Christian charity that ministered to the seriously handicapped, must stop requiring its employees to sign a Lifestyle Agreement that would have held employees to traditional standards of Christian morality. Commentators on the decision, lamented Fr. De Valk, including Lorne Gunter of the Edmonton Journal and Nigel Hannaford of the Calgary Herald failed to recognize “that the citizen should honour both state and God.”

“By presenting state and God as equal opposites between whom we must choose, Gunter and Hannaford appear to accept the fascist order whereby the state tells the citizen what he may and may not do, think, and write.”

This view, says Fr. De Valk, is in direct contradiction to Judeo-Christian teaching, which has always said that the state is a tool made to serve man in order to bring man to God. “Man is made by God and for God. The state is the servant of man, a mere instrument, to help him in this world.” To divinize the state, to make of it the supreme arbiter of what its citizens may do or say or think, goes against the entire Judeo-Christian tradition.

Fr. De Valk then goes on to quote from one of the most powerful sections of Pope Benedict’s address to the United Nations at length.

“Human rights, of course,” said the Holy Father at that time, “must include the right to religious freedom, understood as the expression of a dimension that is at once individual and communitarian – a vision that brings out the unity of the person while clearly distinguishing between the dimension of the citizen and that of the believerâEUR¦.It is inconceivable, then, that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves – their faith – in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one’s rights. The rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature. The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship, but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order.”

Fr. De Valk concludes his editorial by observing that, as the Holy Father intimated, believers do indeed play their part – an extremely significant part – in building the social order. “For example, through their influential and generous involvement in a vast network of initiatives which extend from Universities, scientific institutions and schools to health care agencies and charitable organizations in the service of the poorest and most marginalized.”

He concludes, “Refusal to recognize the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute-by its nature, expressing communion between persons – would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person.”

Read Fr. De Valk’s editorial, “Fascism Has Come to Canada”: