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My dear friends, we
are here today to affirm the goodness of marriage. We are here to
affirm and recognize the inherent dignity of the human body and
the complimentary nature of men and women in marriage. We are
here to admit the necessity of respecting our own basic humanity.
We are not here because of hate - we are here because of love.
Love for our country. Love for our children. Love for our faith.
Love for our family. Love for freedom. And yes, even love for our
opponents. But love does not say "yes" when the truth
My fellow Canadians, marriage and freedom are built on the same foundation of truth. If, as a nation, we deny the very union which sustains our country, what hope will we have in defending our country against attacks on civil and religious liberties? If we will not defend marriage, then we will not preserve freedom. If our government can redefine something so basic and timeless as marriage, they can also re-define our freedoms.
If Bill C-38 becomes law, the fundamental cornerstone of our society will have been toppled. And when a nation fails to recognize the most basic objective moral and physiological truths, democracy itself will be emptied of its power so that only an empty shell will remain. And when a strong wind blows, I ask you, what will happen to that empty shell?
My fellow Canadians, at this critical moment in our history when our country is on the brink of moral collapse, all of us are faced with the central question: Shall we defend marriage or shall we retreat? If we retreat to buy a little time, what will become of our freedoms when our opponents seek to dictate what is taught in our schools, our churches, and even our homes? And what will be left for our children and their posterity? What will become of their freedoms? Of their divine right to practice their faith and enjoy their civil liberties? Will we lie to ourselves today and say it won't impact us because we fear the sacrifices that come with it?
Ladies and gentlemen, this day is not just about Bill C-38 but about us. We need to look inward, and ask ourselves: How much are we prepared to sacrifice for our country? How prepared are we to recommit ourselves to our marriages, to our children, to our churches, and to our communities? The sacrifices to defend our freedoms are not only fought on the battlefields of far off lands, but also within our hearts and resolve. When Monday morning comes and all of the excitement of this day is gone, will you remain steadfast and move todays conviction into tomorrows action? If we leave here today, and fail to transform this culture - politically, socially, and spiritually - this day will have meant very little.
But I sincerely believe that this is not going to happen, because on this day, those of us united here will rise up and defend this nation and its matrimonial heritage against the forces which seek to tear it down. And if we have to go down and lose on this vote and on this issue, then lets go down together in unity and solidarity, knowing that after death comes resurrection and new life and freedom!
My Canadian brothers and sisters, in the Christian Scriptures, there is an event which Christians refer to as Pentecost. The followers of Jesus are in the upper room. They are afraid. They are timid. And they are somewhat divided. Suddenly a gust of wind descends upon them and they are emboldened to proclaim their Gospel. Ladies and gentlemen, this day in our nation's history is our Canadian Pentecost. The Gospel is Marriage. And all of us here - Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, Sikh - indeed all Canadians - are the Apostles of Marriage. And now the time has come for us to stand and defend the good news of marriage as being only the union of one man and one woman. In the words of the Pope John Paul II: Be not afraid.
Thank you and God Bless you all.
April 9, 2005