Sabbath 22/5/27/120 Part A
Some of you are probably aware that one of the members of CCG in Canada, Mr. Harold Derksen, was dismissed unlawfully for observing a New Moon. You are also aware, that the Bible and the doctrines of CCG require such observance. An appeal was made to The Human Rights Tribunal of Canada in British Columbia, with CCG support. The matter was a clear violation of human rights law, and the Tribunal had no option but to find for the applicant, Mr. Derksen.
There are a number of matters about the decision that are open to criticism. However, the fundamental issue of the right of every person in the Dominion of Canada to keep the Sabbaths, New Moons, Feasts, and Holy Days, has been fought and won.
What has transpired, is that the media in British Columbia has seen fit to attack the beliefs of CCG in this issue, and to try to limit the freedom of religion to those religions it sees as being of the “acceptable majority”. In other words, they think that it is acceptable for them to be left to continue to force the idolatrous and pagan days of their system on to every person seeking freedom to obey God’s Laws. Less than two hundred years ago, the same thinking put us in prison, and confiscated our property for keeping the Sabbath. Less than four hundred years ago, it was a capital offence to deny the Trinity, which doctrine had been invented in the fourth century and has nothing to do with the Bible. Our freedoms have come very hard won indeed. Under the French system of the Code Napoleon in Europe (which forms the legal basis there today), it would not have occurred, and if the Nazis had taken power we would be exterminated. The Commonwealth fought two world wars to ensure that did not happen.
On the basis of the protection of private property rights of employers, they think that it is not acceptable to impart freedom of religion to those religions accepted under the legislation of Canada. In an article titled “Bad moon on the rise”, National Post, July 20, 2004, the editors systematically attacked the decision, and the legislation, and our rights to legal protection. It tried to make a distinction between so-called “legitimate religions”, and those numerous other registered faiths under the legislation of Canada. They provide this line of argument:
“Nearly 10,000 religions have been identified worldwide. Sociologists estimate new ones spring up at the rate of two per day. The majority of governments in Canada -- federal and provincial -- list upwards of 60 as protected creeds, from Christianity, Judaism and Islam, through Buddhism, native spiritualism, Sikhism and Unitarian-Universalism. Even Neo-Paganism and Wicca are protected in most provinces. Ontario goes so far as to safeguard "non-deistic bodies of faith" provided the "beliefs and practices" they maintain "are sincerely held and/or observed."
Once a creed has achieved protected status, its adherents typically have the right to equal treatment in hiring, housing and the like. Company dress codes may not be designed to exclude religious attire. Work schedules must accommodate days off for religious observance. The timing of coffee breaks may even be dictated by daily religious rituals.
All of which is fine on the surface. But what about the private property rights of employers? It is one thing for the state to bind itself to non-discrimination codes. Yet it is quite another for governments to force private employers to become agents of their social engineering.
Employees have the right to whatever faith they choose, but they have no right to demand their employer remake his or her business to indulge that faith. Enlightened employers will always accommodate their workers' legitimate family and personal commitments. Those who do not will quickly find it impossible to recruit and retain good employees -- just as is the case with those employers who provide inadequate benefits. Indeed, an employer that gains a reputation for insensitivity toward a particular (legitimate) religion may quickly find itself the target of a consumer boycott.”
You may think that this is all perfectly normal. Most of you will know that these rights have been hard won, and in the face of relentless bigotry by employers. Note the use of the word “legitimate” in relation to religion, as though the decision of the authorities in recognition is somehow not acceptable, and that there are only a few legitimate religions. Presumably these are the ones with which the writer agrees. Moreover, the acceptance of our faith is implied as being merely part of the social engineering of society. The article is contrary to law.
The Churches of God have been in existence for some two thousand years. We have been persecuted for the faith for much of that time. The paper makes the comment regarding our beliefs as follows:
“The CCG claims the English-speaking peoples of the world are the lost tribes of Israel and that the timing of high Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter have no foundation in Scripture. They argue these holy days were deliberately created around pagan festivals for the purposes of proselytizing the early inhabitants of Europe. Therefore, the CCG adheres largely to the Jewish calendar, including the now-obscure practice of observing the Sabbath on each new moon. Once every 29 days or so, church members refrain from working or conducting business from sunset of the day on which the new moon occurs to nightfall the following evening.”
Now anyone with an understanding of the history of the Christian faith will know that, aside from the comments regarding the identification of the English speaking peoples, this is in essence a true, if simplistic statement, both of what we believe and what the Church originally taught. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the doctrines of Christmas and Easter will know they are not Christian, and had no part in the early Church. Indeed, Christmas was not even a doctrine of Christianity when we split with the Church at Rome, over their introduction of Easter to Christianity in 154 CE, and finally severed completely in 192 CE (see the papers The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277) and The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)). Many faiths in North America do not accept or keep Christmas. Many rely on CCG documents to support their teachings. CCG does not adhere to the “Jewish Calendar”, but rather to the ancient Temple Calendar prior to 70 CE, which was kept by Christ, and the apostles, and the early Church. However, they might be excused for that sloppy journalism given the appalling standard of the article overall.
The National Post concluded its article with the paragraphs:
“Given these market pressures, human rights commissions should not be forcing employers to accommodate this or that obscure religion. The human rights industry, by its nature, is endlessly dilatory, and has little respect for the right to property. And so the end result of such decisions as the CCG edict is to have any religious belief -- no matter how fanciful, obscure or insincerely held -- be the subject of legal protection. It is only a matter of time before each person can claim to be a church unto himself, and establish his own holidays -- which, by Godly coincidence, will coincide with the trout season, baseball's opening day, or a brother-in-law's bachelor party in Las Vegas.
There is a distinction to be made between legitimate religions and all the rest. It is not a distinction that we feel comfortable vesting in governments -- or even in ourselves. But it is one that ordinary people are equipped to make in their collective judgments concerning what companies are fit recipients of their labour and patronage. And it should be on this basis that employers decide which holidays to respect and which to ignore.”
These are the sort of slippery slope arguments that any person with a basic introduction to philosophy, and logic, would dismiss immediately. It holds the sincerely held beliefs of others up to ridicule, as whim and fancy for gain, and not for the purpose of worship in sincerely held beliefs. Nor does it canvas their right to work over periods others are given as rest.
One newspaper in British Columbia even had a vote recorder on the court case decision, regarding whether we should be allowed to keep a New Moon or not, as if the power to legislate by a majority vote was an acceptable means of suppressing the minority views and beliefs.
The basic fact of the matter is that the means of production, distribution and exchange have been held in the hands of a system that has intolerantly persecuted those who disagree with it, both in the West, and under the Communists. That situation has resulted in religious war and persecution. The Church of God has been the victim of that persecution for century after century, for some fifteen hundred years, ever since the Trinitarian system was established in power.
This article is nothing more than a plea to leave these people free to enforce their religious bigotry on to others, and to force those people, who sincerely wish to obey the Bible, to take Sundays, Christmas and Easter, and any other holiday they wish to enforce on us, and make it impossible for us to obey God and the Bible and stay within their system. Yes, we can have so many holidays and entitlements, but only to be taken as they insist. That is the way they have always worked. Fortunately, the law has now seen what such systems will do, left to their own devices, and has limited their capacity to discriminate.
The fact of the matter is, that in the province of British Columbia, in which the offence took place, the law provided for the exact number of days off that would have been required for anyone to take the nine New Moons required for 2004, in any case. That issue was not addressed in the incitement to hatred.
This is like the period of the Human Rights conflict in the US south, where blacks had no rights to anything. They won basic rights by hard struggle. The legislation has to be made to work, but the power is there. These newspapers suddenly realise that they can’t suppress truth and freedom any longer under the current system.
In this period of tolerance we can at least survive for the time being. Do not accept the biased arguments of organisations that would limit our capacity to keep the faith.
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