There is a new directive to Canadian Armed Forces chaplains regarding prayer. The term, “public prayer at military ceremonies.”, will be replaced by “spiritual reflection in public settings”. The Forces’ chaplain general, Brig.-Gen. Guy Bélisle says prayer “does not play a role” in the lives of some CAF members and therefore chaplains “must ensure that all members feel respected and included by undertaking inclusive practices.”
Basically, the directive to chaplains is to stay in the mushy middle. Many of our veterans who have faced fear of death and the terrors of war do pray. Mushy middle does not promote inclusivity. Rather, it alienates all. Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and others would be forced into silence. I see this new directive to be another abuse on our freedoms. Canadian law and society recognize the significance of religious belief and practice. “The preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says Canada is founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. The first fundamental freedoms in the Charter are freedom of conscience and religion.” (from EFC article entitled Religious Freedom)
Please reach out to your Member of Parliament to let them know that this directive is not acceptable and that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are so concerned about being inclusive they forget the very men and women who have sacrificed life and limb for the freedoms we enjoy.
Regarding the Remembrance Day ceremonies, this absolutely does not mean that prayer is banned. Military chaplains may be banned from prayer in public services but Remembrance Day observances across the nation are governed by the local legions. Legion organizers can invite any religious leader of their choosing to pray, read scripture or sing hymns. Any religious leader who is not a military chaplain is not subject to the government directive.
Each legion is autonomous. You may find one Remembrance Day service full of the Word and prayer, as Chris mentioned in the video about the Oshawa commemoration. And there are those legions who choose to stay in vagueness so as not to offend.
This is where we come in. Showing up to help puts us into a place of influence. If your neighbourhood legion is one of those that chooses to keep its religious beliefs in an ambiguous space, there is nothing stopping each of us from praying at the event. I don’t mean we are to cause a commotion, but we can pray for our veterans. We can thank God for Canada and we can pray that God would continue to bless our nation. We can pray that those governing the Remembrance Day service would find Jesus and come to the knowledge of the truth.
When Chris and I go into the gallery at the House of Commons, there are a few rules we need to follow. We must stay in our seats. We cannot speak out. We are not even allowed to lean forward onto the railings. Having an audible prayer time would be frowned upon. We watch quietly and we pray quietly. We pray for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation for each member to know Him more. Sometimes we target different ones in prayer. We pray for our friends that they would be strengthened with His encouragement and His peace. We pray for all, that they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. We pray for God’s love to overtake and overwhelm them.
When our government brings in unrighteous and unjust legislation, our best course of direction is to pray. Please do reach out to your MP’s but know that there is nothing as effective as a praying church. So, on November 11, we encourage you to go to your local Remembrance day observances and pray.