‘God matters’: Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan calls on authorities to reopen Canada’s churches
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May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life candidate in the running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada called on authorities across the country to allow churches to reopen, saying “God matters to many people.”
MP Derek Sloan made his comments in a May 20 email to followers titled “NEEDED – a plan to reopen the churches & other places of worship.”
“During this unprecedented and trying time, we have found ways for people to get their groceries, to get their alcohol, to get their marijuana, and to get their takeout food, all the while observing the protocols of social distancing that keep us safe,” Sloan said.
“We could — and we should — be allowing religious congregations to use their buildings in the same way, with limited seating and social distancing of course, until it’s safe to allow things to return to ‘normal.’ Emergency powers are intended to keep us safe, NOT to shred our Charter-guaranteed rights to freedom of conscience and religion and of peaceful assembly,” he continued.
“I call upon provincial authorities across Canada to allow churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and all other places of worship to reopen and hold worship services while adhering to social distancing protocols. This is not a request for special treatment, but a request for equal treatment,” he added.
Sloan said that in Canada “we can all stay safe without surrendering our constitutional freedoms, including the freedom to worship in assembly.”
Sloan’s email was a response to a Saturday decision by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to allow for drive-in church services.
In response to Ford’s decision to allow for drive-in services, Sloan said the decision is welcomed but not good enough.
“So now what? Premier Ford has amended the order and local police can no longer harass the ‘drive-in’ service. Is everything now ‘okay’? No, not quite. Not by a long shot,” Sloan said in his email.
“It’s time — well past time, actually — to start thinking about how churches and other places of worship are going to figure in the order of things as Canada gradually reopens, piece by piece. Eight million Canadians attend worship services at least once a week, or at least they used to, just two months ago.”
Sloan then blasted the decision by Ontario’s government, which mirrors itself throughout Canada, that places of worship were deemed “non-essential.”
“It was a hurtful insult to these Canadians to have their places of worship classified as non-essential by so many provincial governments. This is just the same as telling these people of faith, who put God at the centre of their lives, that religious worship is non-essential, that God doesn’t matter,” Sloan said in his email.
“Well, God matters to many people.”
Sloan recently spoke about his 12-point pro-life plan with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) as part of the 2020 Virtual March for Life. Sloan’s plan includes a ban on sex-selective abortion, a ban on partial-birth abortion, freedom of conscience for healthcare workers, and a review of the current euthanasia and assisted-suicide legislation.
Dr. Leslyn Lewis, the only other official pro-life candidate in the running, also spoke with CLC about her promised pro-life initiatives should she win the leadership race.
Premier Ford’s post-coronavirus relaunch plan announced at the end of April does not specify when religious services will be allowed to resume.
Some provinces such as Alberta have allowed indoor religious services with a maximum capacity of 50 people, but no communion is permitted for Christian churches.
As a result, the JCCF yesterday served a legal warning to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney over “his government’s arbitrary and unscientific treatment of houses of worship compared to restaurants and bars.”