What is Bill C-16?
After three readings in the House of Parliament and three in the Senate, Bill C-16 is now Canadian law. The Bill, which has been the source of great controversy, is “an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code” by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. In other words, it prescribes government-mandated speech codes and legal penalties for disavowing the accepted understanding of gender, including monetary fines, cease-and-desist orders and imprisonment if the defendant refuses to be corrected by the court.
Spearheading the formal protest to this Bill has been Dr. Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor, and D. Jared Brown, a lawyer, who just recently spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Among other consequences, Peterson warned the Senate that Bill C-16 would violate that which it seeks to protect – free speech and tolerance – by introducing “compelled speech” such as referring to a person based on their pronoun preference, whether that be “zir, ze, etc.” as opposed to “him or her.” It should be noted that Peterson has received two cease-and-desist orders from his employer, and now may face prosecution under Bill C-16 for “harassment” for refusing to refer to students by their “self-identified name and proper personal pronoun,” as per the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Brown, a commercial litigator, stated that the hidden intent of the law seeks to injure all those who refuse to comply with the new state-mandated norms, and sets the precedent for future legislation where “government-mandated speech” is concerned. He further averred that the defendant’s refusal to accept the federal tribunal’s decision would result in a contempt of court charge and imprisonment until the contempt is purged. A few years ago in the West, such legislation would have only been found in fictional dystopian literature like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. But now, cultural prophecies previously considered alarmism by most Christians concerning the direction of our society have become a disturbing reality.
Behind the Legislation
The parallels between Orwell’s fictional, tyrannical state of Oceania and the current direction of Canadian legislation are blindingly obvious. Under Ingsoc – short for an English socialism – the state controls every aspect of an individual’s life, including the mandated artificial language Newspeak, by which the state changes, removes and reinvents the meanings of words, so that it might control and preserve the ‘utopian’ social order.
This kind of thinking is what we are seeing in our Canadian landscape and across many parts of the West – a religious and cultural war against God’s law-order, seeking to suppress objective creational reality via a subversive substitution of the real for an illusion. For instance, ‘male’ and ‘female’ have now been removed from Ontario health cards to make way for the new socially constructed norms and invented terms. Binary ‘gender’ as defined by our biological sex (male and female) is being denied so that it can be reinvented as a fluid construction of language, unconstrained by our created being; even the modern word ‘homosexual’ is being increasingly abandoned in favor of the term ‘queer’ so that that the language might not implicitly affirm the biblical heterosexual norm for the structure and direction of marriage and human sexuality. In other words what we are witnessing is a clear manifestation of an underlying religious antithesis in the culture – a radical contrast between Christian truth and idolatrous falsehood concerning the nature of reality itself. The prophet Isaiah warns us of the judgment invoked by such cultural apostasy:
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Who to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! (Isa. 5:20-21)
Coercion as ‘liberation’
The ostensible purpose of this type of legislation is to liberate the oppressed and deliver victims of discrimination, but the only outcome is the destruction of liberty for all and the ruin of those the humanistic state professes to love and save. It is a war against liberty under God in the name of the liberation of man. In Orwell’s Newspeak, such coercion is depicted as freedom and so it is today. As this war against scriptural truth and creational reality rages legal penalties are beginning to accompany the new laws of liberation so that people will be intimidated or ‘legally’ coerced into submitting to the new order and its revolutionary ideology (i.e., Bill 89). Such statist ‘freedom’ is rooted in the false claim of autonomy, which John M. Frame rightly defines as a pretended independence from God along three integral aspects of one’s philosophy of life: existential, moral and epistemological.
Consequently, these legal developments are the logical outworking of Canada’s religious apostasy – its exchange of gods. Canada once enjoyed a strong and vibrant Christian consensus which helped build early Canadian society on unashamedly biblical principles, but Canadians have long since drifted, indeed sailed, into a radical secularism and multiculturalism in which man and his inner life or imagination is made the measure of all things. We are clearly yet to learn the lessons of history. The humanistic quest of realizing the ‘ideal’ society has historically always ended in disillusion and tyranny, and there is no compelling reason to believe that this will ever change. There can be no peace, freedom, liberty or justice wherever God’s word is forsaken.
Faith and Calling
In light of the self-destructive nature of all such rebellion, the church must walk circumspectly in faith, hope and obedience in a time of deep disquiet, disorientation and disruption. The faith of God’s people is manifest in its calling as the salt and light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). As salt has a preserving effect and as light shines in the darkness, so the church in its gospel work and proclamation preserves the distinctions and goodness of God’s creation and is an instrument of light and grace in the reconciliation of all things to God. Biblical faith is thus an active faith and an ever-present hope in which to walk even when times seem dark.
In the final analysis it matters little which idolatrous illusion sinful man seeks to artificially impose on reality – this is God’s world and it is defined and ordered by His law-word. Man has as much power to finally erase God’s truth from reality as he has to wipe away the horizon with a sponge – as Nietzsche once dramatically expressed. Since our God reigns, since heaven is his throne and the earth his footstool, we can share God’s laughter at the folly of the wicked and at the same time vigorously serve his kingdom purposes with both boldness and compassion. In confronting what is transpiring in our society by force of law, this service will look like praying for our national, provincial and municipal leaders, communicating respectfully and cogently with elected officials, writing letters to newspaper editors, forming, joining or supporting political action groups (i.e., CCBR, ARPA), and living in obedience to God in our own families, churches and vocations.
As we do these things out of love for God and neighbour, taking care to expose damaging illusions like those contained in Bill C-16 as harmful to both the individuals caught up in them and the society that applauds them, we can call our fellow man to the joy of repentance and begin with our own lives. This repentance entails both abandoning our self-righteous self-sufficiency and humbling ourselves in complete surrender to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life.
 "C-16 (42-1) - First Reading - An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and The Criminal Code - Parliament Of Canada," Parl.Ca, last modified 2017, accessed June 2, 2017, http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-16/first-reading.
 Lianne Laurence, "Radical Canadian Bill Could Mean Jail for Rejecting Transgenderism: Critics," Lifesitenews, last modified 2017, accessed June 2, 2017, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadian-bill-opposing-transgenderism-will-put-you-in-jail?utm_source=LifePetitions+petition+signers&utm_campaign=8e94aca341-Canadian_5_26_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c5c75ce940-8e94aca341-399403189.
 "Gender-Neutral Ontario Health Cards Rejected as ID for Passport Application", CBC News, last modified 2017, accessed June 16, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/gender-neutral-passport-issue-1.3707405.
 "Revolutionary Sexuality", Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity, last modified 2017, accessed June 16, 2017, http://www.ezrainstitute.ca/resource-library/blog-entries/revolutionary-sexuality.
 See "Bill 89 Pushes Gender Ideology In Child Services - ARPA Canada", ARPA Canada, last modified 2017, accessed June 27, 2017, https://arpacanada.ca/news/2017/01/06/bill-89/.
 John M. Frame, A History of Western Philosophy and Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ.: P&R Publishing, 2015), 14.
 Charles H. Spurgeon, "Matthew 5 Commentary - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of The Bible", Studylight.Org, last modified 2017, accessed June 2, 2017, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-5.html.