Saturday, September 29, 2018
This weekend I'm speaking at the Canadian Christian Legal Fellowship's national conference in Vancouver, and I'm struck by how little we hear in the US about current religious liberty battles north of the border. Some of the cases track with themes arising in American lawsuits, but others reflect a much more aggressive role for the state. For example, the Canadian government has added conditions to a popular and longstanding program funding summer jobs with a wide range of nonprofit organizations. An attestation attached to the program's application form this year required organizations to affirm that their "core mandate" respects a variety of rights, including "the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," and specifically mentions reproductive rights. Not surprisingly, Catholic and other traditional Christian groups refused to sign, and they lost millions of dollars in funding that they had relied on for years. Litigation is pending.