It was a horrible moment of hatred and tragedy. When I saw the news that 6 Muslim worshippers in Quebec City were killed, and 19 others wounded in such a senseless act of violence, my heart poured out in compassion for their families and the Muslim community. Hate and violence towards anyone has no place in Canada.
And so it’s understandable that someone in Parliament would table a Bill such as Motion-103, which condemns Islamophobia and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination”. This motion is being hotly debated, with protesters clashing over the issue in Hamilton and Toronto in what were reported to be heated, and at times violent, exchanges of beliefs and opinions about the freedom of speech and the curbing of anti-religious hatred and violence.
Clearly, there is little peace to be found amidst the discussion of hatred.
There is always going to be a delicate balance between discouraging hate and maintaining our fundamental freedoms of speech, religious belief and expression in Canada. Violence is never the answer. Instead, peaceful, healthy debate is good and necessary to question, inform and maintain the freedom and security we value so greatly in our country.
Canada is known around the world as a place of freedom, and many come to our country seeking refuge from places where freedom is merely a dream. When it comes to creating true freedom, peace and security in Canada, political intervention and policies such as Motion-103 can be of help. Hate speech should be prosecuted, and all should be treated equally under the law. Religious discrimination, in any form, is harmful for society and shouldn’t be tolerated.
But Motion-103 or any other man-made law will never fully solve the problem. We need a new kind of law. We need a divine, heavenly law, not written in Parliament but written on our hearts.
…true peace, freedom and security do not come from social movements or human laws: they come from a changed heart.
In my study of the history of women’s rights in Canada – still a contentious social issue today – I’ve learned about the many social and legal changes brought about by those who’ve courageously fought for equality and justice. Against great pressure and often at great cost, equality for women has emerged where today we see women with status and position like never before.
And yet, the cry being heard round the world is that the work remains unfinished. True peace, freedom and security still elude us. Why? Because true peace, freedom and security do not come from social movements or human laws: it comes from a changed heart. And changing someone’s heart is something only God has the power to do.
It was Jesus who said in His sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers”. I find it interesting that Canada is known as a nation of peace. Our peacekeeping role around the world is respected and valued. Is it a stretch, then, to think that Canada is a blessed nation? Can it be that, here in Canada, God can move in our nation in such a way that we can truly find peace within our great diversity and serve as a true model of peace to the nations?
As the Bible states, the highest commandments (or laws) that anyone can attain is to “love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.” And to “love your neighbour as yourself.” Imagine if these were the defining laws of our nation.