If you have been attentive to recent developments across the world, it is likely that you have heard of the trucker convoy that converged on Ontario, Canada. The convoy traveled across Canada with the intention of protesting vaccine mandates that were placed upon the trucking industry and disrupting the industries that depend on trucking through their protest.  This “freedom convoy” garnered much support among Canadians fatigued by the constant burden of fluctuating, and occasionally harsh Covid policies.  The convoy also grabbed the attention of the news media, with the majority denigrating and decrying the protests, while certain sites praised the convoy’s efforts.  However, there was another major situation in Canada that went unnoticed to many, yet has severe implications for both Canada’s future, as well as the grim reality that the Church (here in the West) faces in the coming years. There was a resolution that passed uncontested through the Canadian parliament and was given royal assent to become law in Canada on December 8th. This “Bill C-4” details the policies regarding conversion therapy.
The bill defines conversion therapy as the following:
“Conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to
(a) change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
(b) change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
(c) change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
(d) repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
(e) repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
(f) repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth .”
It’s important to recognize the definition, as my mind immediately equates conversion therapy with horrific practices such as cranial lobotomies or electroshock therapies. Although people did use the term conversion therapy to describe terrible historic practices, the current bill is about penalizing anyone that counsels or communicates against same sex attraction. The definition also includes provisions criminalizing any action suggesting a non-cisgender gender identity is wrong.  The law however does not ban exploring different identities or treatments that relate to gender transition, it simply prevents anyone from saying a “particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is to be preferred over another.”  This law tries to play the line of totalitarian neutrality, preaching the false worldview that this conversation is not governed by absolutes.
The C-4 Bill comes with a few punishments for those violating the new law. If you cause or provide conversion therapy, the penalty is up to five years in prison.  If you promote or advertise conversion therapy, then the penalty is up to two years in prison.  The law also prohibits receiving any financial benefit or material incentive from conversion therapy, with the penalty of up to two years in prison. 
This bill sets off warning bells in my mind and establishes a dangerous precedent that other nations might follow. First, the definition given regarding conversion therapy only creates more questions about the extent of the law. If conversion therapy includes any support or promotion of certain ideas, then what are the ramifications regarding free speech in Canada? According to this law, anyone stating that non-heterosexual attraction is wrong or that a non-cisgender identity is not to be preferred could be charged with promoting the idea of conversion therapy. Furthermore, there are questions regarding how this law may work in regards to individuals who struggle with gender dysphoria. According to the C-4 bill, one cannot state that any particular identity is preferred over the other. How then do therapists effectively treat patients who struggle with this issue? The third problem that I see relates to the church and how this law affects pastors in Canada.
A major point of concern for this bill relates to the future of religious freedom in Canada. The Bible provides clear statements on gender and defines sexual morality. First off, the bill contradicts Biblical claims about gender and sexuality in saying such beliefs are just myths.  Secondly, this bill creates a difficult scenario for pastors as it sets dangerous precedents for what they can preach. For example, consider a situation where a pastor preaches on Romans 1, where Paul expounds upon the immorality of the Roman culture (which explicitly includes homosexuality in the pericope of verses) and the righteous judgement of God that will come. According to the C-4 bill, simply preaching that topic is not yet illegal, although the preamble to the C-4 bill would be in contradiction with Romans 1. However, the law is vague on what defines promotion and advertisement, as well as “a practice, treatment, and service.”  If a member in that congregation was convicted by the pastor’s exhortation of Scripture, and changed his lifestyle, then the sermon could fall under the purview of this law. The reality remains that this law sets a dangerous precedent, and will likely have a litany of lawsuits in its wake. The Bible teaches that sexuality is a gift between one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage, and it teaches that actions occurring outside of these boundaries are sins against God. Many pastors have been watching the passage of this bill and have spoken out against the legislation. Pastor Tim Stephens commented, “We’ve seen that the new prevailing worldview is totalitarian, seeking to define marriage, sexuality, and control health choices…It is absolutely intolerant to opposing beliefs.” . Pastor Andrew Brunson similarly stated, “I think those who hold to the standards of Jesus will be thought of as hateful, and will face varying degrees of social and financial pressure .” Lastly, Pastor Artur Pavloski declared, “I will always preach the whole Bible. And if someone comes to me asking for help, for therapy, I want the government and everybody else to know I’ll never turn that individual away. And if it costs me, so be it.” 
That sort of moral resolve, as stated by Pastor Pavloski, may be required for the church both in Canada and across the West very soon. The C-4 bill primarily targets therapeutic treatment, particularly as it pertains to counseling services, but the clause regarding promotion or advertisement makes the bill’s scope dangerous. Given that this bill denounces Biblical truths as myths, it demonstrates a dangerous trend for religious freedom in the coming years. Christians must first know what they believe on these issues, and then make a resolution to stand for what is true. This is another challenge that is facing the church today.