OTTAWA, Ontario, July 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The New Democrat Party’s unanimously-passed resolution to call on the government to revoke the charitable status of “ex-gay” groups is a “potential attack” on all Christian charitable groups, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada warned Tuesday.
“Should members of the LGBT community who, as the result of personal decision, want to discuss changing their sexual behaviour be told there’s nowhere to go?” asked Don Hutchinson, the EFC’s General Legal Counsel, at the Activate CFPL blog. “Should religious charities be forbidden from providing support to those who want to converse, seek counselling or change their lifestyle?”
The NDP’s resolution, passed at their annual convention in Vancouver last month, called on the government to “immediately remove any charitable status currently enjoyed by ‘ex-gay’ organizations” and to ensure they are not granted such status in the future. In his remarks, the sponsor specifically named Exodus Global Alliance, an international Christian group based in Ontario.
Randall Garrison, the NDP’s “queer issues” critic told Xtra that groups like Exodus “prey on vulnerable members” of the homosexual community and “bully them into believing that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are sick and lead sad and lonely lives, and that the only hope is to become straight.”
Hutchinson said, however, tht the NDP’s proposal is an “affront” to Canada’s longstanding recognition of charities dedicated to the ‘advancement of religion’, which he noted is one of the four categories of charity used by the Canada Revenue Agency.
“Advancement of religion includes those acts of service that flow from Jesus’ command to love God and our neighbor,” he said, naming social justice and poverty relief efforts. “So worship, Bible studies, and the like all flow into practical acts of service, and inform how we engage in the public square.”
“This NDP resolution is a potential attack on the heart of all of these types of ministries, not just those offering services to gays and lesbians,” he explained.
“If implemented, this idea would serve only to weaken the Canadian charitable community and rob Canadian citizens of the many benefits they receive from this sector,” he continued. “In short, the NDP policy proposes a very slippery slope that we best not slide down.”
The resolution followed a campaign by the homosexual blog Slap Upside the Head, which was inspired by the New Zealand government’s decision to revoke Exodus Global Alliance’s charitable status in August 2010.
The Exodus ministry, dedicated to communicating the message of “freedom from homosexuality,” had had charitable status in New Zealand for more than ten years, but the government’s Charities Commission ruled that the group did not qualify because its activities offered no “public benefit.”
See Hutchinson’s blog post, ‘Does the NDP Really Want to Revoke the Charitable Status of Select Christian Charities?’, here.