Pastor Dave  

Ethical paralysis

Chuck Colson, in one of his Break Point articles on (Jan 11th, 2012) shared about a discussion Dr. Stephen Anderson, a philosophy teacher at A.B. Lucas Secondary School in Ontario, had with his students. He primed their minds with a gruesome picture of Bibi Aisha, the teenage wife of an abusive Taliban fighter.

Bibi was caught trying to escape her abuser, and as punishment, was horribly mutilated and disfigured and left for dead in the mountains. Fortunately she made it to an American hospital where her life was saved and her visage restored. You can see her story on YouTube -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MfE9Iv07dA.

Anderson intended to create an educational shock to their ethical system. Instead of the students sharing a strong moral aversion to this inhumanity, the students shocked their teacher with a common fear of making any moral judgment at all. “They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in another culture.” One student said, “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.”

This incident may expose what may be the tip of the ethical iceberg, a tip that may well become the tipping point for a generation morally. Our youth appear to have bought into the extreme tenets of multiculturalism, ideas that lead to an unexamined faith in the equality of all cultures. To quote Jonathan Goldberg in a 2005 editorial published in the National Review Online, “Have we opened our minds so far, our brains have fallen out?"

The fact is that not all cultures are equal. We see that tension right now in Canada’s justice system. Canadian law is challenging what appears to be an assumed Islamic cultural right, the right to honour kill. Mohammed Shafia, his wife and son, have been charged with four counts of honour killing that include taking the lives of three of his daughters.

Human Rights Watch defines "honour killings" as “acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family....The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that ‘dishonours’ her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.”

Women have been killed for flirting or having a boyfriend without the family's consent. Shafia was caught on tape, after the burial of his daughters, saying: “May the devil s—t on their graves.” The cultural defect here is not just a disagreement about what constitutes honour or homicide, but also, what constitutes a woman’s rights?

Canadian culture has been built upon the bedrock of Judeo-Christian beliefs about right and wrong. Equality between the genders is a Biblical ethic. I know that this foundation is being challenged by present day culture, but it still remains intact regarding the matter of honour killing. To the 2012 Canadian mind, these acts were not acts of honour but acts of crime. All twelve honour killing cases (1999-2012) have resulted in capital charges and sentences to life in prison.

Our youth have grown up with the ideas of values clarification, what may more easily be identified as meta-ethical relativism, the belief that the truth or falsity of moral judgments is not objective. In other words, “It’s moral to me because I believe it is.” Believers tout dropping words like “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Morality is personal, and therefore, outside of the infringements of judgment, right?

The lack of principled morality has led to what Anderson describes as an “ethically vacuous relativism” where the key words become “never judge, never criticize, never take a position.” This is the essence of ethical paralysis, and an entire generation has been infected with this debilitating disease.

This lack of morality, and this fear or inability to speak up, is a clear and present danger for the future of Canada. Only a return to ethical foundations will anchor and right this ship and preserve the future of next generations.

This is Canada. Every immigrant is welcome to enjoy citizenship and the blessings that come from the privilege of living in this great nation. However, some traditions and expressions of culture need to be left at the border. They are not welcome in Canada.

Wrong in itself

The abortion debate continues to heat up, and the fire is showing up on both sides of the 49th parallel. It has engrafted itself into both the Canadian and American political process because there remains a conviction in the conscience of many North Americans that aborting a life is “wrong in itself.”

Many people have bought into numerous distortions of truth. The pro-choice position is that every woman has the right to choose what she does with her own body. However, it is a medical fact that the child in her womb is a totally different person and that life begins from conception. Many are now stating that this life should have the right to choose for his or herself – ie. they have human rights that need to be protected.

Why is it that the law can make it illegal for us to put a needle filled with heroin into our blood stream? Why is it that the law can intervene when they fear we will commit suicide or take the life away from our own body? Why is it that we can face a jail sentence for putting alcohol in our own body and driving? Why is it that we will most likely end up in the psych ward for mutilating any part of our body? The fact is that we all have limited freedom to choose what we will or will not do with our bodies, and that limitation is rooted into morality.

The pro-choice movement loves to trumpet the idea that morality cannot be legislated. Is this true? What do we call it when we tell people that they cannot murder, slander, rape, steal, or enslave? Aborting a child was considered a criminal act at one point in Canadian history, and now you can abort a child simply because the pregnancy interferes with a holiday cruise. Can you make something that was immoral and illegal moral and legal by simply saying it is? Well, we did, and now we have to pay the piper.

In Criminal Justice there are two types of laws: malum in se and malum prohibitum. Malum in se is a Latin phrase meaning, “wrong in itself.” Most of us feel that murder is wrong, and so laws are constructed to outlaw it. Malum prohibitum means something is wrong because it is prohibited: eg. on this side of the Atlantic we have made driving on the left side wrong, and so sorry my English friends, prohibited.

Malum in se laws are based on moral codes, much of which grew out of English Common Law, which in turn was based on Judeo-Christian perspectives of morality. So, those who decry the inroads of morality into public policy are a little too late. The roads have already been paved. However, you don’t have to be a Jew or a Christian to know something is wrong in itself. We all share a common conscience. That conscience will one day be our judge, and we will all have to face the consequence of violating that internal law of right and wrong.

The challenge with our culture is that we don’t tend to make better laws. Human nature tends towards law breaking. When our nation legalized abortion on demand, did they see the day coming when the most recent controversy would be sex-selection abortion? The medical profession is now lamenting “female feticide.”

Years ago members of the medical profession opened the flood gates to choice and said that women needed to achieve full autonomy over their bodies. Then, members of the legal profession embraced the idea that there was such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived, and children with Down Syndrome were targeted. Now we are told that some are having a tinge of conscience that we may have gone too far as sex-selection abortion has specifically targeted the female gender.

Those that fought so valiantly for the world of choice are trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted. As one of my friends, Ted Gerk said, “You can’t cheapen life by allowing it to be taken for any reason and then go back and arbitrarily decide which death troubles your conscience.”

Perhaps if we had all held to the view that all human life was valuable and precious we wouldn’t find ourselves in this predicament. God help Canada!

Canada: On the incline or decline?

There was a time when, according to Edward Gibbon’s history of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth and the most civilized portion of mankind.” It had a powerful and unified system of laws and manners that cemented provinces of the Empire into a realm that enjoyed an incredible level of peace.

Gibbon pointed to a singular major cause, moral decay as the precursor for decline in the Western Roman Empire. He provided evidence of this moral decline speaking about things like the failure of the patriarchal society, sexual perversity, infanticide, high levels of divorce, violent entertainment in the Coliseums, political corruption, the loss of a national work ethic, and ultra-multiculturalism, where Rome lost its core identity.

Some historians, like Arnold Toynbee and James Burke, have argued that the seeds of decline and failure were there right from the Empire’s inception. They portray Rome as a plundering economy that was based on the military looting existing resources rather than producing anything new, a system that was entitlement based and dependent upon importing slaves from the far corners of the Empire to do work they did not want to do.

Others point to decline as an accumulation of many causes coming together in a very short time. Students of the Empire describe the corporate impact of everything from deforestation, inflation, barbarian invasion, and urban decay to political corruption, disease and plagues, and military over-extension. Smallpox itself killed close to half the population which resulted in less capability to support the tax base and other necessary institutions.

Some see Christianity’s emergence as a cause of empiric failure, as many Roman citizens adopted pacifism and refused to protect the Empire. However, others saw Christianity as the stabilizing force for the Empire, as the Eastern Empire continued to exist close to 1,000 years longer than the West, mostly due to this unifying religious influence.

No matter the theory for decline in culture, it is clear, as jurist Judge Devlin stated, that “an established morality is as necessary as good government to the welfare of society.” He went on to say that, “societies disintegrate from within more frequently than they are broken up by external pressures.” The condition of moral decline is seen as preceding or concomitant with the decline of the quality of life and the decline of nations.

Nations that refuse to heed the lessons of previous failing and fallen cultures are bound to repeat their mistakes. We need to incline our ear or we will be susceptible to decline just as other cultures experienced. If we will not protect our children from conception our nation will decline. If we will not value and preserve marriage and family our culture will devolve. If we will not train the next generation in character and a respect for discipline our country will lose its good future.

We have modern barbarians at the gates of Canada. Who is standing on guard? For years we have tolerated the barbaric treatment of the babes in the womb. Applauds to Members of Parliament who are medically challenging what may be an outdated Section of our code that states that children are human beings at birth, not conception. Abortion is indeed a human rights issue.

For years we permitted sexual predators access to under aged children and kiddie porn. For years we have tolerated our soil being used as a preferred destination for the sex trade and trafficking of women. For years we have undermined the strength of marriage and the family. For years our work ethic has been diminishing. For years we have fought the very voice of reason and faith and thrown back efforts to rebuild moral foundations.

General Douglas MacArthur stated, “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.”

We are in critical days for the Canadian experiment. Whether Canada will incline or decline – whether it climbs mountains or steps on to the slippery slope – will depend on how it deals with growing moral decay.


The immigration tragedy

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was on the hot seat this week regarding his review of immigration laws. First, he invoked a new regulation requiring new Canadian women of Muslim descent to show their faces while taking the oath of citizenship. This requirement was not considered onerous in that an open face is required to obtain driver’s licenses. A quick review of this demonstrates clearly that this regulation is not a violation of religious freedom as much as it is a challenge to culture.

Then, he ordered a crackdown on immigration fraud. Apparently, people have been using crooked immigration consultants to construct fake evidence of residency in Canada, and close to 6,500 people have now been linked to this fraudulent behaviour. This investigation may wind up exposing one of the biggest citizenship scams in our short history.

History hasn’t been that kind to Canada’s sense of responsibility towards those in need of refuge. In 1939, PM Mackenzie King rejected the SS St. Louis, a ship carrying 937 Jewish passengers who were desperately seeking refuge from the horrors of Nazism in Europe. He commented that “it is not a Canadian problem” and that “as far as he was concerned the admission of refugees perhaps posed a greater menace to Canada...than did Hitler.”

This moment has been portrayed in history books as the “voyage of the damned.” The mentality of many in our nation toward immigration then was that “none was too many.” That response, or lack of compassion, remains a dark spot on one of the pages of our nation’s history. It is vital that any residue of that attitude be wiped from our minds and hearts.

Canada likes to see itself as a sanctuary for the oppressed, but this view of ourselves may be at risk. In November 2000 Canadian clergy apologized for sending the ship back to its country of origin which led to their deaths, but as far as I know there has never been an official government apology for the rejection of the St. Louis, although a memorial for the Jewish refugees was unveiled on January 20, 2011 in Halifax at Pier 21.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of unlawful immigration has infected the entire global community. Canadians, as well as many of these new immigrants, have been duped and taken advantage of. The promise of a new life has been threatened by the injustice of their old life. The stories of injustice break the hardest of hearts as we witness the inhumanity of humanity to humanity.

Canada needs to make sure that it focuses on correcting the right wrongs: bringing accountability to educational institutes that build on student visa scams; exposing fake or forced marriage services; prosecuting immigration documentation firms (ghost consultants) who have cheated immigrants of their monies; removing immigrants that are here on false pretentions; creating interagency support systems to identify undocumented immigration; and, incarcerating those who abuse our gentility and hijack immigrants into the sex trade industry.

Canada was built by immigrants. It is a generous nation with a gregarious heart to support and welcome those less fortunate. While holding the standard of compassion high, we must hold true to the principle that Canadian citizenship is not for sale and unlawful or deceptive entry cannot be tolerated. Citizenship is not a right, but a privilege.

I love the multi-cultural dynamic of our nation. I love it when I go to the mall and see a myriad of cultures inter-connecting. I love it when I go to church and see a diversity of cultures worshipping God together. Heaven is going to be comprised of people from every tongue, race, and nation. You may not like heaven if you don’t love the people of the world. Immigration – hospitality, stranger loving – is a Christian and Canadian tradition. God bless Canada. Merry Christmas, everyone!

More Pastor Dave articles

About the Author

Dr. David Kalamen is founder and lead pastor of Kelowna Christian Center (KCC). Married to Carleen for 35 years, they and their family, all living and working in Kelowna, have together been ministering to the people of this region for over 25 years. David cares deeply about the citizens of Kelowna and the state of the city, causing him to develop the Houses of Mercy program to help build compassionate community.

His column "Oh! Canada!" reflects his love for the Canadian people and this nation, and brings a refreshing perspective to local and national issues of common concern.

David has spoken at national and international conferences that have dealt with a wide range of leadership issues touching Christianity, politics, social justice, mercy missions and business. That call has taken him to over 20 nations. He has served on the General Council of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and is presently a faculty member of the Wagner Leadership Institute. David has authored a book, Life Purpose that has sold broadly throughout Canada.

If you want to contact Pastor Kalamen about this week's column please e-mail [email protected], call (250) 762-9559, or write to KCC at 905 Badke Road, Kelowna, V1X 5Z5.

Useful websites are:
Kelowna Christian Center: www.kcc.net
Heritage Christian School: www.heritagechristian.ca
Heritage Christian Online: www.onlineschool.ca
Global Ministry Training Center: www.gmtc.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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