OTTAWA, September 16, 2003 ( – At a press conference in Ottawa yesterday, two days before parliament is scheduled to vote on homosexual hate crime bill C-250, Rev. François Beyrouti, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Melkite Catholic Church, warned “Canadians are now finding their precious country rushing into an era of ruthless religious persecution. They are witnessing their religious rights eroding before their very eyes and see Bill C-250 as the launch pad for a full attack on Canadian religious beliefs and institutions.”  Citing several recent court decisions which have seen religious freedom rights trumped by homosexual activists, Fr. Beyrouti declared, “Religious groups are deeply concerned because they have seen their beliefs repeatedly trampled upon by court decisions. In effect these decisions have stated that religious rights are relative while homosexual rights are absolute.”“The erosion of religious freedom is increasing at an alarming rate in Canada. Bill C-250 and any other proposals that would consider amending the hate propaganda sections of the Criminal Code to include ‘sexual orientation’ would see the near complete removal of religious liberties in a country that once prided itself as being a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious society,” said the Melkite leader.