Pastor Ray Duerksen (Sermon rips anti-bullying bill, March 7) seems to yearn for a return to a simpler time when Christian doctrine determined our laws and was universally accepted and enforced.
Minorities were quiet and obedient in that glorious past, and Christian values, decreed by an omnipotent church, dictated how we saw ourselves and treated each other.
Christian leaders were more powerful than mere governments and could easily rid themselves of laws with which they disagreed, and they were able to effectively intervene to keep society within its definition of Christian purity.
Historians call this era the Dark Ages.
I'm not impressed with your March 7 front page. Ray Duerksen's message of fear-mongering does not deserve such a platform.
Where is the balanced journalism that would give voice to hundreds of other pastors and thousands of Christians who actually oppose Duerksen's view and are not the least bit threatened by Bill 18? Or maybe you plan to publish some after you've sold a few more copies with such sensationalism?
I believe the Free Press has a responsibility to help moderate such views and to improve dialogue between people in the community. I don't see this doing anything but polarizing.
Why should anyone consider the position of any church on matters of education and civil rights? These are institutions that thrive on faith and indoctrination, not reason and critical thinking. They don't know what education is.
As for civil rights, this is an institution that has a long history of bigotry, witch trials to women's rights to residential schools.
It is more than a little ridiculous that we have to listen to people like Pastor Ray Duerksen attack Bill 18 for giving a child the right to feel welcome and safe in school.
"Homobullying." Verb. The action of those promoting the gay or lesbian lifestyle which 1) attempts to force their beliefs and practises on the general population, or 2) vilifies or attacks anyone who doesn't actively agree with them.
Bill 18 is trying to homobully schools, even private Christian schools, by forcing their beliefs and practices on them. Students in schools get bullied mostly for their appearance, race, religion or nationality. Sexual orientation is very low on the list, so why is it specifically mentioned in Bill 18? This is an example of homobullying in action.
If a mayor of a major city would refuse to attend a gay-pride parade, he would most likely be homobullied in some way.
I would suppose that if people are against bullying in general, they would also be against homobullying in particular.
One of the talk-show hosts refereeing a debate between those pro and anti Bill 18 asked where was the middle ground. Where could we find a compromise that would satisfy both sides, she asked.
In reality, there is not always a middle ground. Sometimes one side is simply right and the other wrong. And as difficult as it will be for conservative, fundamentalist Christians in Steinbach to admit, they are completely and utterly wrong.
There is no compromise here. And if the Jesus they so adamantly believe in were to weigh in, it is abundantly clear to all those outside the congregants of the Southland Church which side he would come down on.
Thankfully, all over the world, societies are recognizing that protecting our children from being bullied, no matter what their sexual orientation, is simply the right thing to do. And one day, the critics in Steinbach will come to this conclusion as well.
It's just so sad that many in that community will have to suffer in silence or face rebuke from the very individuals who claim to be followers of Christ until that day arrives.
East St. Paul
If, as Pastor Ray Duerksen claims, God can get people fired, I sincerely wish for two things: that, for a brief moment, a God exists; and that Duerksen is the first one he cans.
The preacher's message is a venomous mix of sectarian drivel and bile.
This bill is a blatant attempt by the homosexual community to make their lifestyle seem acceptable, moral, normal and even popular among the community at large.
With Bill 18, we are making way for the exclusive preferential protection and treatment of the politically correct homosexual community. We are dividing groups and doing more harm than good.
A general policy against bullying already exists, although it certainly needs to be improved. Bill 18 needs to draw a clear distinction between toleration and acceptance. Promoting homosexuality to captive impressionable children should not occur without informed parental consent.
Many religious faiths find these lifestyles deeply offensive and would consider the imposition of these views an act of emotional, social and spiritual child abuse.
God's laws are eternal, even if they are considered backward or outdated by some. They do not change with time and they supersede man's laws.
Perhaps the homosexual community should build its own private schools, just as religious groups are required to do, if they wish to promote, proselytize and impose their lifestyle choices on society at large.
It is hard to imagine a more un-Christ-like tirade than the one reported in this article.
Does the pastor really think bullying is OK if it is against people he does not like? If the Gay-Straight Alliance is an attack on his "religious freedom," are physical and other kinds of attacks all right against other of God's creation?
The pastor should consider what Easter, the crucifixion and the resurrection mean.
Ray Duerksen does not seem to like the anti-bullying bill that the government is proposing. Is it not written in the Bible that you are to love your fellow human beings? Or do you pick and choose whom you love and who you abhor according to their religious beliefs?
You cannot pick out certain passages in the Bible and deny others to suit your agenda. If you deny the right for people who are of a certain sexual nature to live their lives peacefully, then you are indeed promoting hatred. There is no place in our modern society for those who spout passages from the Bible while preaching revulsion against others that do not meet your religious standards.
So, let me get this straight. Steinbach Pastor Ray Duerksen wants the freedom to curtail students' freedom to associate? What's wrong with this picture?