“I am tired of seeing my faith community mocked and belittled. To not respond is to validate my accusers and, worse yet, imply that I lack the courage of my convictions to stand up for what I believe. … That is not a legacy I wish to leave behind.” So said Minister of Parliament James Lunney of British Columbia before the House of Commons on Wednesday, April 1–one day after he announced he would no longer participate in the Conservative caucus.
Mr. Lunney’s dissatisfaction began on Twitter in late February when he took to social media to defend an Ontario legislator who said he didn’t believe in evolution and questioned if evolution should be taught in school. When the legislator, Rick Nicholls, was severely criticized online and in the media, Lunney tweeted “Stop calling evolution fact!” Then the uproar got louder to the point Lunney said he became a victim of cyberbullying and online crowd shaming in an effort to silence his creationist views.
In his speech before the House of Commons, Lunney implied that several people in the Conservative caucus were pressuring him to tone down and/or keep quiet about his views on creationism, so he felt he had no choice but to leave to better defend his beliefs. He also feels that what he has suffered is part of a greater effort across Canada to gag millions to “undermine freedom of religion.” But he only got 21-minutes’ worth of his defense before his microphone was cut off by Andrew Scheer, the Commons Speaker.
Later in the day, Lunney appeared on the CBC to describe macroevolution as a theory in crisis. Lunney went on to explain that “There’s a whole generation of kids being taught that what they’re taught in Sunday School or in church is garbage, it’s wrong, it’s false, and it’s simply a form of bullying that’s no longer acceptable. It’s not scientifically tenable, it’s a disservice to science… it’s not freedom of religion if your views are put down by your peers.”
Lunney says he will not seek re-election. I have no idea what denominational affiliation Mr. Lunney has, but I applaud his courage and willingness to express his views even at the prospect of a personal and professional cost. Such persecution is evil and uncomfortable. But God can use it for the good of evangelicals to prompt us to rely more on him through the power of the Holy Spirit and to encourage us to increase our godly knowledge. By doing that we can give an answer to every man who asks us a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and godly fear (1 Peter 3:15).
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
Peter O’Neill, Canadians who believe in creation ‘gagged,’ B.C. MP charges, VancouverSun.com, April 1, 2015.
Kady O’Malley, James Lunney defends views on evolution in House of Commons, CBC.ca, April 1, 2015.