Conduct Unbecoming a Free Society

Something of interest here, in light of the last post.

By Chris Kempling

April 9, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On the first day of the counselling psychology class, the instructor asked us to share what was the most important fact about ourselves. Jim (not his real name) identified himself as gay. I identified myself as a Christian. I decided to befriend him and we went through the two-year program together. I even stayed overnight at his house when we had a weekend seminar in his town.

Fast forward to the present. I encouraged my high school-aged son, a social leader, to befriend gay classmates, protect them if they were bullied and invite them over if he wished. He did (and was harassed for doing so). After graduation, his friend “Andy” moved away, but stayed overnight at our house on two occasions when back in town visiting.

I mention these anecdotes, because some people are convinced that I am “homophobic.” They believe this because I publicly express opinions consistent with socially conservative views of sexual behaviour. I have been suspended, without pay, twice from my job as a school teacher – once for one month, and once for three months. It was hard on my family. Yet I maintain that people can hold, and express such views but still treat those who practise different values with decency. I do, and so does my son.

The British Columbia College of Teachers won a court decision against me in 2006 for “conduct unbecoming a member.” The reason: Between 1997 and 2000, I wrote several letters to newspapers, outlining research data related to homosexual behaviour, and what position major world religions take on the matter. There was a vigorous exchange of views on the editorial pages of my local newspaper, the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. I had thought that was the place where people are free to debate the issues of the day.

The College of Teachers, and my employer, the Quesnel School District, believe that my published opinions had the potential to “poison the atmosphere” in my school. I provided letters from five school administrators which said that my letters had no impact whatsoever on the school atmosphere, but they were ignored.

The college’s lawyer stated categorically that “everything you have written, in its entirety, is derogatory and discriminatory.” I continue to find that a bewildering statement, because I was quoting peer-reviewed research data, including research done by investigators who are homosexual themselves. Furthermore, I have never had a human rights complaint laid against me.

In fact, all sides agreed that there was no negative impact in my school. No parent, student or homosexual person complained to the college or my employer about my letters. I never raised the issue in my classroom or with students with whom I worked. I have even received two letters of commendation from my principals for my work with sexual minority students. Nevertheless, the courts ruled that no “evidence of harm” is required to discipline a member. Having wrong opinions is sufficient reason to deny a worker his paycheque for four months.

One would think that the B.C. Civil Liberties Association might be concerned about this attack on free speech. On the contrary, they were granted leave to intervene against me on the side of the College of Teachers.

On Jan. 28 of this year, the college issued a new citation of “conduct unbecoming,” with 12 new offenses for items written between 2003 and 2005. Once again, no evidence of “harm” was alleged, and in fact, there isn’t even a complainant.

My offenses include signing two letters to the editor as “the local representative of the Christian Heritage Party.” This is true. I did run as a candidate in the last federal election for the CHP, and came in fifth out of eight candidates. I wrote the letters in question, after the national leader of the CHP asked me to be the candidate. In my role as CHP spokesperson for my riding, I outlined the party’s position on the nationally debated issue of same-sex marriage. If a teacher can be sanctioned for letting the public know what his party’s position is on matters of national debate, does this not make Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom meaningless?

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada, writing in the Figueroa decision stated: “Section 3 should be understood with reference to the right of each citizen to play a meaningful role in the electoral process …Full political debate ensures an open society benefiting from diverse opinions … Marginal or regional parties tend to raise issues not adopted by national parties.”

The possibility that a political candidate may be sanctioned for representing his political party is alarming to say the least. I think citizens of a free democracy need to be able to join and speak for the party of their choice, notwithstanding their occupation.

I have also been censured for writing an essay on the philosophical differences between social liberals and social conservatives, and for discussing the therapy services of my private Christian counselling practice, in a CBC radio interview.

Frankly, I find it disconcerting that my professional body wishes to sanction me for my political involvement, for conduct in a completely different profession servicing my own faith community and for opinions published in other provinces or countries. This action has potentially alarming consequences, not only for Canadian teachers, but for all regulated professions (social workers, psychologists, nurses, etc.), for whom such cases end up establishing legal precedents.

I refuse to be marginalized as a second-class citizen, simply because I publicly state social conservative opinions or represent a “fringe” political party. And I don’t think publicly espousing the Christian worldview should be prohibited for public school teachers. If I don’t have free speech, or freedom of political association, then no Canadian does.

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12 Responses to Conduct Unbecoming a Free Society

  1. white rabbit says:

    Get used to it Chris. We have all had “gay” friends but that is not the point. The point is that an organised effort is out to destroy Christianity any which way it can. Although I disagree with Bishop Ingham on numerous issues he is not only reflecting the views of the soon to be head of the church, Charles the Third, he is doing his best out here in “fruitsville” to prevent the minor issue of homosexuality from wrecking the church. Sadly, people who know better, such as the Packer and Short, are playing to the crowd and wrecking the church. Coming from Oxford in the years before Quinton Crisp made his debute, Packer knows exactly what is going on yet has chosen to keep his mouth shut. If Packer is so against the “ultra-liberal” element in the Anglican Church he should show us his supposed brilliance and name the source of it rather than attacking safe targets such as Bishop Ingham.

    How the Anglican Network can boast of “inclusion and interaction with Chinese culture” and still claim the rights of Habous Corpus and all the other hard earned Acts of Freedom in the West is a mystery to me. Adultery (watering down for the dummied down) is also a sin and the results of it will be far more permanent than the passing fads of homosexuality, feminism and all the other anti Western daggers that Packer seems so proud of. Packer and his ilk in the Anglican Network abandoned their post a long time ago. Oh Yea. None of the clergy at the conference were divorced and all have their house in order – ha, ha.
    Sorry Chris but the wreckers of the church remind me of the “lady Anglican lawyer” that Paul Fromm approached for help as the anti-free speech band wagon was getting set to role. She was asked by Paul to throw her weight in behind Zundel but our good Anglican thought that Zundel wasn’t suitable for the Shaugnessy crowd and declined to help. And now Chris is going down. Oh, never mind, we certainly showed Ingham a thing or two last weekend. Aren’t we wonderful.

  2. Warren says:

    The point is that an organised effort is out to destroy Christianity any which way it can.

    Sadly, people who know better, such as the Packer and Short, are playing to the crowd and wrecking the church.

    White Rabbit, if God is who he claims to be in the Bible, “wrecking the church” makes no sense. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church, so the people you have mentioned can’t make a dent (although I disagree with your assessment of them). If, in your view, God is not sovereign, why pay attention to Him at all? Why not relieve your stress and go play golf on Sunday mornings?

  3. white rabbit says:

    And there was war in heaven (Rev 12:7
    I beheld satan like lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18)

    Satan, Luicfer, or whomever you want to call him is alive and well. I am totally unaware if Miley Cyrus knew what she was doing in her latest set of pictures but the hand signals, are of “as below so above.” Just as there is no church below (Christian church, that is) there is no desire for one above (being here on earth).
    God is indeed sovereign as his son indicated when he reminded Pilate where his power came from. Wrecking the church makes no sense to you but it does to the Lucifarians who have been on a roll since 1789 and have no intention of stopping now. Sadly many are in his camp unawares but in his camp they are.
    Just as short term profit for long term pain makes no sense to most of us; money grubbers, whether in the civil service, the banks or the shops are all for it. And as Revelations18:13 points out the merchants are willing to trade in the souls of men too. So wrecking the church to trade a few extra lost souls makes sense to them.
    2 Thess 2:3 tells us of the great falling away and we are all well aware that the last days will be as the days of Noah. today, in my opinion, we are in the last days and the undermining of the church is having its effect.
    Sadly, out here in lotus land Short and Packer can make a dent. I heard that 15 (1+5 = 6) churches left with them. Thats quite a dent.

  4. Warren says:

    White Rabbit, although I was raised in the church, and have been actively involved all of my adult life, my Anglican experience was relatively short (Sep 05 – Jun 07). In that time, however, I spent a year as a deputy Warden and learned much about the ACoC and the Network (the church I was in is now an ANiC church). I have no denominational affiliation and, with each move (we have moved often courtesy of the Air Force), my wife and I simply look for a church where God’s Word is taught, where there is life, and where there is concern for truth and for the great commission. I find that my experience over the past 30 years has given me a very different perspective than most Christians I know.

    From my perspective, the ACoC is a tiny enclave on the fringes of the world-wide Christian church. The number of people involved is almost inconsequential (if numbers mean anything – the church I am now attending in a small Ontario city has a average Sunday attendance that is probably greater than the nearest 20 Anglican churches combined). Despite its small size, the leadership of the ACoC claims a unique understanding of God’s will – one that sets it at odds with virtually all of the rest of the world-wide Christian church (including the RC and Eastern Orthodox branches), both present and historical.

    J.I. Packer has been highly and widely regarded as a theologian outside of the Anglican church for decades, whereas Bishop Ingham, as he comes to people’s attention, is generally regarded as heretical. Were the stakes not so high, it would be hilarious to think that there anyone could view Ingham as a church builder and Packer as a church wrecker. There are definitely a few Anglicans who need to hop out of their little goldfish bowl, take off the blinders, and start swimming in the ocean that is the Christian church.

    Most people in the church I attend know very little about Anglicanism (although many have read J.I. Packer and the church regularly runs the Alpha program), and the ACoC would be completely off the map for them were it not for action’s like Ingham’s to defrock Packer. This action has received some coverage in the monthly newsletter (not my doing), and now the only perspective most people have is that there are deep problems in the ACoC and that many who are involved may not even be Christians. There is some truth to this, but I do my small part to let people know that there is much more to Anglicanism than the ACoC and that it should not be judged by men such as Ingham.

    I’m rambling, and I’ve just been called for supper. Time to sign off.

  5. white rabbit says:

    Thanks Warren, that was a good letter. I am not defending Ingham; I am attacking the good professor Packer and the Rev Short. While I am in the mainstream Anglican Church and in Inghams’s sphere of influence I disagree with women priests and same sex blessings. The issue is that there is no scriptural basis for one to leave the church and start another. Even Jesus Christ himself spoke highly of the widow that gave two mites to the temple that was plotting his murder. God’s ways are certainly not our ways for if I was in his shoes I would have been screaming at her, “Are you crazy, giving your last penny to them who are about to kill me.”
    Ingham probably is a heretic. I actually know very little about “da boss.” i don’t even know if he is married or where he was educated or what. Perhaps someone could start a blog on him.
    Speaking of blogs Warren I appreciate your input but this is a blog too and so I accept that neither of us are speaking as if we were the queen giving her Christmas message but rather as a couple of blokes throwing our opinions around as we try and thrash out “the answer.”
    PS I wish I would get called for supper but I am just a grumpy old bachelor.

  6. Warren says:

    White Rabbit, I’ve enjoyed the dialogue. I have been part of churches just prior to and just after a split has occurred (not during) and I don’t view splits as inherently bad or good. They can be either or both. On the positive side, splits have been instrumental in the spread of the gospel to areas/communities that otherwise might have gone unreached with the gospel, and in rejuvenating the spiritual life of believers. I guess we would all be part of the RCC if no splits had ever occurred.

    I take your hint about pontificating on this blog, and I’ll make this my last comment.

    Cheers.

  7. Peter says:

    Pontificate away gents. 🙂 I shall comment with more substance tomorrow when I hope to have some time……

  8. Since when are we Christians to expect an easy life? Here in the USA I took a stand against TEC’s gay activism and it cost me my home, friends, pension, medical benefits, and income. I still don’t have fulltime employment after 4 years. I’m single and 58 years old. But I have joy and great confidence that God will take care of me. Now I live simply in a home provided by Christian friends. Isn’t this what Jesus’ disciples face in every faithless generation?

  9. white rabbit says:

    Could you expound a little on your experiences and any suggestions for future activism would be appreciated. I have experienced some minor recriminations but nothing like yours. Wonderful that some friends stood by you.

  10. Peter says:

    Yes it is. But then again we do have to stand against this form of injustice, even if it is to no end.

  11. gary English says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters..all

    To finally be able to contradict leonard Cohen.
    Can you hear again the words of our Lord Jesus, as He soars above our wisdom, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. I present this to bring you all a measure of comfort. If for whatever reason it does not……..It soon will.

  12. White Rabbit,

    Sorry for delayed reply. You may listen to my story at Ancient Faith Radio and at Orthodox Radio of Canada.

    No one, for any reason should suffer unjustly. Yet injustices abound. Are Christians called to defend the suffering, the helpless, the victims of social evils? I think so. That is a very different thing than defending false teaching in the Church or mis-representing Holy Tradition by saying things such a Gene Robinson says. Read about him here: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2009/04/gene-robinson-on-bible.html

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