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Austin Cline

Christian Right Sending Funds to Canada

By February 13, 2005

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The American Christian Right isn't just fighting gay marriage in the United States, they are also fighting it in Canada. Afraid that the more liberal Canadian parliament will actually legalize same-sex marriage just across the border, American religious groups are sending large amounts of money north in order to stop it from occurring.

The Montreal Gazette explains:

Sending money across the border to fund allies fighting Canadian legislation is not illegal under Canadian law. While Canadian-registered charities must spend no more than 10 per cent of their budgets on political activity, interest groups are restricted in what they can spend on political lobbying only during elections and referendums.

[Alex Munter, national co-ordinator for Canadians for Equal Marriage]: "In terms of scale, we're dealing with an enormous operation that has charitable status and is funded by deep pockets, including deep pockets from the United States." Munter said his group has not received any money or services from U.S. groups supporting same-sex marriage.

James Dobson, the charismatic founder of Focus on the Family who has been described as one of the most influential Christian figures in the United States, personally waded into the Canadian same-sex marriage debate two weeks ago in a radio show taped in Colorado Springs, Colo., and transmitted as a paid broadcast to 130 radio stations in Canada. "It is clear here in the United States that the American people do not want same-sex marriage. I would hope that Canadians who also do not want same-sex marriage would be encouraged by what has happened down here."

Robins says the decision to channel money and support to same-sex marriage opponents in Canada could mark a turning point for the U.S. religious right, which claims credit for re-electing President George W. Bush. If they are now exporting money, support and expertise to Canada, it could be because they have become emboldened by their success in the U.S., he said.

Same-sex marriage supporters worry the involvement of powerful U.S. religious groups risks tipping the balance in the debate. "We simply have no way to protect ourselves against an American invasion by the religious right," Munter said. "In terms of resources, we're just not equal on that basis. This is fundamentally an issue about Canadian values and the Canadian Charter of Rights," he added. "Do we want the American far right engaged in that debate? I would say no and I would think most Canadians would say no."

I doubt that many Canadians look forward to having their society dominated, or even just heavily influenced, by the American Christian Right. I'm sure that American Christians would howl in outrage if large amounts of money flowed from Canada into the United States to help finance the legalization of gay marriage, so why do the same thing? Because they are on a mission from God and when you are doing God's work, it's OK to violate standards that you would hold others to. Right?

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