|The Calgary Sun December 13, 1998
Christ's name banned from memorial
Canadians have allowed politicians to deny this is a Christian country
By LICIA CORBELLA
Every Canadian Christian and non-Christian alike should be very concerned
about what the federal government did to two Christian clergy in Nova Scotia recently.
Religious freedom is at risk here and that means all of our freedoms and
everything that makes Canada the kind of country people risk their lives to come to is in
Rev. Carolyn Nicholson, a United Church minister in Glen Margaret, Nova Scotia, is
trying to find out why she was denied the right to read from the New Testament or mention
Jesus Christ during a Sept. 9 service to commemorate the 229 people killed in the Swissair
Flight 111 crash off Peggy's Cove.
Following the air disaster, Nicholson spent two days at Peggy's Cove with the families
of the people who died aboard the ill-fated plane.
She says she was honoured to help these devastated families through the power of prayer
and the Holy Spirit during such a difficult time.
Therefore, when she was called by the federal government's protocol office and asked to
say the blessing and opening prayer at a memorial service for the victims of the crash,
she was eager to do so.
But it appears that she was forced to make a deal with the devil instead. So,
too, was a Roman Catholic priest denied his basic human right to speak about his faith
In the polite letter she has sent to Prime Minister Jean Chretien asking for an
explanation to this situation, Rev. Nicholson says she was asked to submit what she
planned to say to the protocol office representative for approval.
"The representative told me that no references to Christ
or no New Testament (Christian Scripture) readings were permitted," she
"I voiced my protest," she continued, "but the decision was made and I
either had to submit to the decision or refuse to take part. I felt that I had to
choose between my integrity as a Christian minister or my desire to offer comfort to the
families and the people of my faith who attended the service," she wrote in her
In my mind, Rev. Nicholson made the wrong decision.
Without Christ, Christianity does not exist therefore any counselling or prayers
offered up without reference to Christ are hollow and useless.
What's more, I have personally met believers who came to speak at my church who were
carted off to labour camps in Siberia in the former Soviet Union because they refused to
Indeed, Christians are called upon to suffer for their beliefs since Christ said:
"If you deny me among men, then I will deny you before my Father in Heaven."
Rev. Nicholson, who spoke to me a few days ago on the phone, says she has felt guilt
about her decision since then, but was glad she was there for the families.
Nevertheless, I believe Rev. Nicholson should have made a fuss immediately and refused
to take part in the service, though she had very little time to think this over and at
least she is doing the right thing now.
What's most troubling is the protocol office issued a ban on Christianity despite the
fact that a Native Canadian spoke of her people's beliefs, a Rabbi read from the Hebrew
Scriptures and the Muslim representative read from the Koran.
Nicholson writes in her letter: "This is as it should be."
I disagree. Was this a service designed to honour the dead, remember them and
comfort their grieving relatives or was this a public relations stunt for the prime
minister to show what a multicultural and tolerant country Canada is?
The only religious representatives who should have been given the opportunity to
minister and offer prayers were ones who had people of those faiths aboard the doomed
From my research, it doesn't appear that any aboriginal Canadians were aboard that
And simply judging by the names of the deceased, it appears that the vast majority of
those who perished were Europeans who, for the most part are Christian.
How blasphemous and insulting this order by our dictatorial prime minister and his
office is. What an utter disgrace and defamation to the memory of those Christians
who were killed.
It's important to remember that as recently as 1993, Maclean's magazine conducted a
massive public opinion survey of 4,510 Canadian adults and concluded that 78% of Canadians
today almost four out of every five define themselves as Christians.
More astonishing yet is the fact that just slightly more than 2% that's right,
2% of Canadians are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or adherents of cults or New
After Christianity, the largest group about 20% of Canadians describe
themselves as having no religion, half of whom are atheists.
Why then do our legislators trip over themselves banning the word Christmas and Easter
from our schools and treating the name of Christ as though it were a four-letter word?
As for Rev. Nicholson, she has been waiting for more than two months for an answer from
the Prime Minister, his office and the ill-named protocol office. 
Why Canadians have allowed our politicians to continually deny that Canada is a
Christian country and that the very bedrock or foundation of this great land is
Christianity is truly puzzling.
Christianity and the tolerance it produces ironically is what has allowed this kind of
double standard against itself to exist.
To this I say: "Bah, humbug."
And to all of you I simply say, "Merry CHRISTmas!"
Licia Corbella, editor of the Calgary Sun, can be reached at 403-250-4129
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her columns appear Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Copyright © 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the Calgary Sun
Just in case you wondered how it could happen that our society turned away from the
moral standards that were the foundation based on which our country became great but is
great no longer, it took:
Intentional straying from The Ten Commandments to make a
society turn away from God,
to make it possible by actively
participating in that and to allow
Anti-Christian governments to cause it to happen.
(Incongruously, the current Canadian Prime Minister is ostensibly a Roman Catholic)
CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Quotes from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and
freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be
demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press
and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to
the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in
particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour,
religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its
object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including
those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion,
sex, age or mental or physical disability.
of guaranteed rignts and freedoms
24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have
been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such
remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances. [Human Rights Commission]
27. This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the
preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.
to promote equal opportunities
36. (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the
provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the exercise of
their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government
of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to
(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians; ...
Human Rights Act
R.S., 1985, c. H-6 July, 1996
I - PROSCRIBED DISCRIMINATION
Quotes from the Canadian Human Rights Act:
PART I - PROSCRIBED DISCRIMINATION
Prohibited grounds of discrimination
3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race,
national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status,
family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.
Orders in respect of discriminatory practices
4. A discriminatory practice, as described in sections 5 to 14, may be the
subject of a complaint under Part III and anyone found to be engaging or to have engaged
in a discriminatory practice may be made subject to an order as provided in sections 53
1976-77, c. 33, s. 4; 1980-81-82-83, c. 143, s. 2.
Denial of good, service, facility or accommodation
5. It is a discriminatory practice in the provision of goods, services,
facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public
(a) to deny, or to deny access to, any such good, service, facility or accommodation to
any individual, or
(b) to differentiate adversely in relation to any individual,
on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
1976-77, c. 33, s. 5.
Publication of discriminatory notices, etc.
12. It is a discriminatory practice to publish or display before the public or
to cause to be published or displayed before the public any notice, sign, symbol, emblem
or other representation that
(a) expresses or implies discrimination or an intention to discriminate, or
(b) incites or is calculated to incite others to discriminate
if the discrimination expressed or implied, intended to be expressed or implied or
incited or calculated to be incited would otherwise, if engaged in, be a discriminatory
practice described in any of sections 5 to 11 or in section 14.
1976-77, c. 33, s. 12; 1980-81-82-83, c. 143, s. 6.
14. (1) It is a discriminatory practice,
(a) in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily
available to the general public,
to harass an individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
PART III - DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
40. (1) Subject to subsections (5) and (7), any individual or group of
individuals having reasonable grounds for believing that a person is engaging or has
engaged in a discriminatory practice may file with the Commission a complaint in a form
acceptable to the Commission.
Designation of investigator
43. (1) The Commission may designate a person, in this Part referred to as an
"investigator", to investigate a complaint.
How to reach the Human Rights Commission
List of Offices/Liste des bureaux
National Capital/Capitale nationale
344, rue Slater Street
Place Minto Place, Édifice Canada Building
Ottawa K1A 1E1
Tel/Tél : (613) 995-1151
Fax/Télécopieur : (613) 996-9661
TTY/ATS : (613) 996-5211
Internet : email@example.com
Full list of Addresses
If you feel like writing about this to your MP, here is where
you can find his address:
In case you should feel that our Prime Minister should be involved in this (however, he
already is, he caused it to happen), here are his address details:
The Right Hon. Jean Chrétien
Liberal Party of Canada
Constituency: Saint-Maurice, Quebec
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Note 2. What's in a name? After all, Joseph Goebbels
was called the Minister of Education!