Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Order of Canada

The highest civilian honor in this country is the Order of Canada. It is awarded every year to leading citizens and extra-ordinary people for outstanding service to the nation. Captain Ray Taylor, the late Director of the Church Army in Canada, received it for fifty years service to the poor, the lost and the unloved. This was most deserving.

This last week, the country was shocked when Henry Morgantaler, aged 85, the initiator of Abortion Clinics around the world, was named to the Order of Canada. What a sad reflection on our times that the Governor General, appointed by Her Majesty the Queen, should be persuaded to do such a thing. A man who came out of a Nazi Concentration Camp has himself "encouraged a culture of death and has thus attacked the most vulnerable, the unborn" (the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Edmonton, The Most Rev. Richard Smith).

One of the qualifications for the award is that the recipient should not have a criminal record, yet the authorities have chosen to ignore the 10 month term of imprisonment Henry Morgantaler served in prison for committing illegal abortions.

Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada says, "Dr Morgantaler upholds the Canadian values of democracy, human rights, equality of women." If this is were so, and it certainly is not, and we continue in this direction then there will surely be no democracy, no human rights and eventually no equality for women in Canada. Were we not all fetuses at one time, whether men or women? Does an unborn child have no rights? To its shame, Canada to this day does not have any legal limitation on abortions and a pregnancy can be terminated up to the ninth month, although Dr Morgantaler's Clinic only performs abortions, so he says, from "seven weeks up to approximately 19 weeks of gestation" (Morgantaler Website).

Dr Morgantaler does not have the qualities required to be a recipient of the Order of Canada. Every other person who has received this order is tarred with this brush and shamed by this decision. Will others give up their Order of Canada honors because of this bad decision?

As an Anglican minister, I think of the Early Church Christians in Rome picking up unwanted babies, mostly girls, who had been purposely left out for the wild animals at night and taking them into their own homes. I think of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her sisters collecting the dying from the streets and giving them a decent home where they could end their days. I think of Jesus embracing the children and telling us, "Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19.14) Later, "He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me ..." (Mark 9.36-37a).

I therefore hope, with all my heart, that the Governor General changes her mind and gives the award to someone more deserving than Dr Morgantaler. It's not how much we do with our lives but what we do with them that really matters. If Canada keeps going in this direction, we will indeed become one of the most morally destitute, criminally driven and uncaring peoples in the World. So much for democracy, human rights and equality of women.

That's what I think anyway.

Rev Ron