It’s been said that what happens in California offers a preview of what’s to come across the country. Of course, when Californians say this (and it’s said mostly by Californians), they do so with a mildly prophetic reverence and slightly upturned nose. When it’s uttered by non-Californians, the tone is more suggestive of California as a kind of mad-science social-conditioning laboratory whence come the nation’s demons, social-justice zombie viruses, and other very bad ideas. There’s your new tourism slogan, California. You’re welcome. There is a truth here, though. California does always seem to be one to take the lead in enacting social agendas that later become commonplace throughout the country. “Progressive” California was a leader in the eugenics movement in the early twentieth-century—which, by the way, inspired Nazi racial “hygiene” laws. The Eureka state has been a pioneer in passing so-called “no-fault” divorce, promoting abortion on-demand, stifling religious freedom, ramming same-sex “marriage” through against the will of the voters, and more recently, illegally passing an assisted suicide bill. To be sure, what happens in California tends to metastasize throughout the country. But in addition to looking west, we may want to start looking north. Canada is more likely to be a preview of what’s on the agenda for the U.S.
Canada took a hard left turn in November with the election of (Catholic…*sigh*) Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. His administration wasted no time in aggressively advancing their “progressive” agenda, calling for an increase in the number of abortion clinics nationwide. Canada is already the most pro-abortion country in the world, next to North Korea and China and that’s not hyperbole, allowing abortion even for the purpose of sex-selection. The leading Democrat candidates in the U.S. share this extreme view, and while seven states in the U.S. ban abortion for sex-selective purposes (with bills introduced in a few more in the past year), there is no real way to enforce this. Indiana Governor Mike Pence just signed legislation banning abortion for reasons of sex, race, or disability, making the Hoosier state only the second state (North Dakota) to ban abortion following a disability diagnosis. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have threatened legal action (because of course they have). Abortion advocates are so extreme in the U.S. that they are willing to go to court to be able to search and destroy the disabled. If that weren’t enough, the FDA just approved the use of Mifeprex (Mifepristone), an abortion inducing pill, for up to 70 days gestation. For all the recent pro-life advances in this country, abortion advocates are becoming more and more extreme.
Canada’s prohibition on physician-assisted suicide was just overturned last year and will go into effect this summer. But in that short time, Canada has moved from debating the question altogether to going down a much darker path. In “Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach,” a report with quite possibly the most purely euphemistic name in the history of assisted suicide (and that’s saying a lot), the Canadian Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying (death panel?) urged that the “right” of assisted suicide be extended to children and the mentally ill [Insert blank stare here]. The proposal would also compel physicians to offer all services funded by the government or at least refer for them, meaning physicians would be forced to act contrary to their conscience. What is now on the table in Canada is something death advocates (be they advocates of suicide or abortion) are always telling us won’t happen.
Assisted suicide had already been legal in three states when California’s assisted suicide bill (the absurdly named “Aid-in-Dying Act”) was signed by Governor Brown in October, just a few days after the close of National Suicide Prevention Month. The pro-suicide lobby has become a marketing machine of late, employing the “choice” euphemism of abortion advocacy and putting a human face on dying (think Brittany Maynard) and the number of bills and measures advanced to try to legalize suicide has increased sharply in the past year.
In 2013, and most likely due to Canada’s slide toward Brave New World, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper created the Office of Religious Freedom with the aim of protecting and advocating for religious groups under threat. The office was immediately criticized for being “too Christian”, even though it was not a Christian group and advocated on behalf of all religious groups. Recently, the Canadian government ominously announced it would be closing the office. It was open for just three years. Canada has effectively stated that religious freedom is not worth actively protecting and given what’s in their pipeline, that should send a shiver up the spine of every Canadian of good will—and every American, since this is precisely what is at stake in the Little Sisters’ fight against the unconstitutional HHS contraception mandate. As we speak, the Supreme Court is deliberating on the question of whether the federal government can coerce a religious organization to violate its deeply held religious convictions without facing crippling fines.
In a statement dated March 24, 2016, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed “deep regret” over the closure, stating, “Religious freedom and freedom of conscience have a pivotal status among human rights. Religious freedom is more than the right of an individual to believe and pray. It equally involves a faith community’s identity as well as its interactions with society.” Tell that to Governors of Arkansas, Indiana, Arizona, and Georgia who have recently vetoed bills protecting religious liberty after corporate bullying from the like of the NBA and Disney. In the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges, a number of religious freedom defense bills have been proposed in states to protect the conscience rights of those who do not wish to participate in same-sex “marriages”. Georgia’s bill was so specific, it didn’t even apply to private businesses. Read it for yourself. The “offending” section is literally one sentence. We don’t have an Office of Religious Freedom for our administration to close, but if such a tame defense of religious freedom was able to generate such hatred for religious freedom in practice, then the free exercise clause in the Constitution may already be dead. Is the soft totalitarianism of the north (that’s Canada, not North Korea) what our own future looks like? Let’s pray and hope not, eh?