I only just heard about them in the beginning of October when I went to a friend's church and saw a notice about this ARPA group addressing issues like prostitution, free speech and abortion and what ARPA was doing about it. The next week it was in our church bulletin and I had talked to my landlord, whose brother is the legal counsel for ARPA in Ottawa.
Each of those three issues are big things in the courts and government and (should be if they aren't already) in our Christian circles - church, small groups, Bible studies and devotion times. For example:
- Prostitution as it is legally defined is before the courts in a big way as sex trade workers, who choose the trade as a 'viable' career choice are fighting to have their occupation decriminalized; meanwhile, those of us who are fighting the growing sex trafficking issue in Canada (and abroad, but specifically Canada in this scenario) are fighting back. We would like to see the Nordic model introduced - that is the process of prosecuting those that purchase sex ('johns') and not the prostituted women ('prostituted' being the correct term as many are being prostituted and sold against their will, it is not an active choice for most). This has worked incredibly well in Sweden and my friends Jay and Michelle are currently raising funds for their second documentary for Hope for the Sold to introduce the Nordic model and interview those who have been part of the success. You can donate to HFTS here.
- Free speech is under attack as is evidenced in the Whatcott case. As I'm not as familiar with this case and my passions do lie with the other 2 issues discussed last night, I'd encourage you to go directly to the ARPA site. I typed in "Whatcott" in the search box and a number of articles, reports and videos appeared. I'll try to link it here.
- Finally, the issue of abortion. This is considered to be Canada's genocide. Did you know that approximately 100,000 children are murdered every year in Canada? That's more than the city I grew up in, 20 times the amount of people in Bad Ragaz (my summer home during my teen years) and 1/5 of the population of the city I live in now. That's a LOT of people. The problem I find is that so many people do not believe that unborn children are actually people. Did you know that Canada is one of four countries in the world that has absolutely NO laws about when a person can get an abortion? A person can choose for any reason, or no reason at all, to have an abortion from any point during pregnancy - from conception right through to when the birthing process begins. As Andre said last night, don't worry, we're in good company - the other 3 countries are North Korea, Vietnam and China. Seriously, Canada? Wake up! ARPA presented some great 'baby' :) steps: stop funding abortions with our tax dollars, present an alternative (i.e. adoption), have a 'pregnancy pause' which would prohibit girls from walking into an abortion clinic and having a procedure done right away - they'd have to have a 24 or 48-hour 'pause' (this has been very successful in the US), show the girl asking for an abortion an ultrasound of her unborn child (another very successful move in the US), make parental consent for children (because that is what they are!) mandatory for those under 16 at the very least.
I was incredibly encouraged to see SO many people there, we had to move out of the fellowship hall and into the sanctuary, they were not expecting so many people to come. It was wonderful to see familiar faces in the crowd from different churches coming together. I enjoyed seeing MP Joy Smith's face on the video screen as she called people to action. Andre is an excellent speaker, very passionate, articulate and engaging (he is a lawyer after all) :) My favourite aspect of the evening was how he not only CALLED us to action, but after each topic, we were called to stand as he led us in prayer about prostitution, free speech and abortion.
An excellent evening and when they come back, I'd encourage you to go!
And Dawn, when you read this, I want to know more about the local ARPA group.