Home/Rod Dreher/Totalitarian Canada. Is The US Next?

Totalitarian Canada. Is The US Next?

From a propaganda video from Canada's state broadcaster (See here)

Canada now has a law banning “conversion therapy”. From the NYT:

A Canadian law banning so-called conversion therapy is poised to go into effect on Friday, making it a crime to provide or promote services intended to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression.

With the new law, Canada’s criminal code will prohibit forcing someone to undergo conversion therapy; taking a minor abroad to take part; and profiting from, promoting or advertising the practice. Violations can draw sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment.

“This is an incredibly important step to making sure queer and trans people in Canada feel valid and deserving of full protection,” said Michael Kwag, a policy director at the Community-Based Research Center in Toronto, which researches the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders.

“It also sends a strong message to the entire country that any attempt to change, deny or suppress the identity of queer and trans people is wrong,” he said in an interview.

It was rammed through parliament last month, and went into effect earlier this month. You would never know from the Times story how radical this law is.

Matt Walsh quotes this from the text of the law:

Matt points out that under this insanely broad law, if you counsel your male child to accept his male identity, you could be looking at five years in prison.


What is it going to take to make people realize that they really are coming for our children?

Religious liberty is dead in Canada. You can have religious liberty, or you can have this law, but you cannot have both. Canadians (Christian and otherwise), now is the time to form underground church groups, like the ones Father Kolakovic set up in advance of the Communist takeover of Slovak society (I tell the story in Live Not By Lies). You are going to need it to get through what’s there now, and what is to come. This is not a joke, this is not an exaggeration, this is not a drill.

Look to what is about to happen in Finland for an example of where this is going next. Paivi Rasanen is a physician, member of Parliament, and Lutheran laywoman. She is about to go on trial, along with her Lutheran bishop, for hate crimes. What did she do? I wrote about it here. But to sum up:

In 2019, she protested on Twitter her church’s participation in Pride, tweeting a photo of a Bible verse critical of homosexuality.

In 2004 — eighteen years ago! — she authored a pamphlet setting out Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, and why gay marriage is incompatible with Christian teaching. And in 2019, she was interviewed on a Finnish radio show where the host asked her what Christianity teaches about homosexuality. The answer she gave is part of the criminal charge against her.

Here’s more about Paivi and her case:


Dr. Rasanen has said:

“I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to freedom of religion and speech…The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets.”

This woman is a hero. The Finnish state is persecuting her, and will put her on trial next week on behalf of LGBT haters. Keep in mind that Finland is one of the most pro-LGBT countries in the world, with widespread legal equality for gays and lesbians, and a population that overwhelmingly supports gay rights. Gays have everything they can possibly want in Finland — except the unanimous consent of every single Finn that what they believe and what they do is morally good. What the state refuses to tolerate is any dissent at all, no matter how peaceful, from the LGBT line. This is profoundly illiberal. Gays and progressives in Finland have already won completely; they are now simply being sadistic. It was never about “tolerance”; it was always about total domination. Dr. Rasanen, a grandmother and former minister of state, could go to jail for two years if convicted.

Again, if you can spare a few coins to help pay for the defense of Paivi and her bishop, please go here and donate. And please do tell everyone you know about her case. Above all, pray for her and her bishop.

Back to Canada. Canadian pastors and Canadian parents who counsel against their child’s gender transition are now considered to be criminals. I tell you, if this comes to America — and progressives will do their best to make sure it does — this is the point at which the regime becomes illegitimate in my eyes. No government or social order that stands between parents and children, criminalizing parents who wish to prevent their children from destroying their lives with hormones and surgery, is worth respect or support. Non serviam. What parents in Virginia fought back against recently regarding the schools is a skirmish in a much bigger battle to come. If you know anything about the history of the Soviet state, you know that the totalitarian Left prioritizes separating children from their parents, on the grounds that the progressive state knows better than bigoted parents.

Is Canada a lost cause? I don’t know. But I do know that here in America, we still have a lot of fight left in us. People need to understand that you cannot avoid this fight. It is coming to all of us. When I gave a California workshop last fall on Live Not By Lies, I urged participants to start forming these Kolakovic groups now, before the persecution starts. What is a Kolakovic group? From Live Not By Lies:

Sometimes, a stranger who sees deeper and farther than the crowd appears to warn of trouble coming. These stories often end with people disbelieving the prophet and suffering for their blindness. Here, though, is a tale about a people who heard the prophet’s warnings, did as he advised, and were ready when the crisis struck.

In 1943, a Jesuit priest and anti-fascist activist named Tomislav Poglajen fled his native Croatia one step ahead of the Gestapo and settled in Czechoslovakia. To conceal himself from the Nazis, he assumed his Slovak mother’s name—Kolaković—and took up a teaching position in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak region.

The priest, thirty-seven years old and with a thick shock of prematurely white hair, had spent some his priestly training studying the Soviet Union. He believed that the defeat of Nazi totalitarianism would occasion a great conflict between Soviet totalitarianism and the liberal democratic West. Though Father Kolaković worried about the threats to Christian life and witness from the rich, materialistic West, he was far more concerned about the dangers of communism, which he correctly saw as an imperialistic ideology.

By the time Father Kolaković reached Bratislava, it was clear that Czechoslovakia would eventually be liberated by the Red Army. In fact, in 1944, the Czech government in exile made a formal agreement with Stalin, guaranteeing that after driving the Nazis out, the Soviets would give the nation its freedom.

Because he understood how the Soviets thought, Father Kolaković knew this was a lie. He warned Slovak Catholics that when the war ended, Czechoslovakia would fall to the rule of a Soviet puppet government. He dedicated himself to preparing them for persecution.

Father Kolaković knew that the clericalism and passivity of traditional Slovak Catholicism would be no match for communism. For one thing, he correctly foresaw that the communists would try to control the church by subduing the clergy. For another, he understood that the spiritual trials awaiting believers under communism would put them to an extreme test. The charismatic pastor preached that only a total life commitment to Christ would enable them to withstand the coming trial.

“Give yourself totally to Christ, throw all your worries and desires on him, for he has a wide back, and you will witness miracles,” the priest said, in the recollection of one disciple.

Giving oneself totally to Christ was not an abstraction or a pious thought. It needed to be concrete, and it needed to be communal. The total destruction of the First World War opened the eyes of younger Catholics to the need for a new evangelization. A Belgian priest named Joseph Cardijn, whose father had been killed in a mining accident, started a lay movement to do this among the working class. These were the Young Christian Workers, called “Jocists” after the initials of their name in French. Inspired by the Jocist example, Father Kolaković adapted it to the needs of the Catholic Church in German-occupied Slovakia. He established cells of faithful young Catholics who came together for prayer, study, and fellowship.

The refugee priest taught the young Slovak believers that every person must be accountable to God for his actions. Freedom is responsibility, he stressed; it is a means to live within the truth. The motto of the Jocists became the motto for what Father Kolaković called his “Family”: “See. Judge. Act.” See meant to be awake to realities around you. Judge was a command to discern soberly the meaning of those realities in light of what you know to be true, especially from the teachings of the Christian faith. After you reach a conclusion, then you are to act to resist evil.

Václav Vaško, a Kolaković follower, recalled late in his life that Father Kolaković’s ministry excited so many young Catholics because it energized the laity and gave them a sense of leadership responsibility.

“It is remarkable how Kolaković almost instantly succeeded in creating a community of trust and mutual friendship from a diverse grouping of people (priests, religious and lay people of different ages, education, or spiritual maturity),” Vaško wrote.

The Family groups came together at first for Bible study and prayer, but soon began listening to Father Kolaković lecture on philosophy, sociology, and intellectual topics. Father Kolaković also trained his young followers in how to work secretly, and to withstand the interrogation that he said would surely come.

The Family expanded its small groups quickly across the nation. “By the end of the school year 1944,” Vaško said, “it would have been difficult to find a faculty or secondary school in Bratislava or larger cities where our circles did not operate.”

In 1946, Czech authorities deported the activist priest. Two years later, communists seized total power, just as Father Kolaković had predicted. Within several years, almost all of the Family had been imprisoned and the Czechoslovak institutional church brutalized into submission. But when the Family members emerged from prison in the 1960s, they began to do as their spiritual father had taught them. Father Kolaković’s top two lieutenants— physician Silvester Krčméry and priest Vladimír Jukl—quietly set up Christian circles around the country and began to build the underground church.

The underground church, led by the visionary cleric’s spiritual children and grandchildren, became the principle means of anti-communist dissent for the next forty years.

You think it can’t happen here? Look across the border to Canada (where the soft totalitarianism was well underway a year ago). Look across to ocean to the persecution of Paivi Rasanen and her bishop. It is coming — and the Republican Party (right now) is not doing a damn thing to resist it. Is your church? Don’t wait for our leaders to get it in gear. They are like the Slovak Catholic bishops of 1944. It’s coming. Get ready for the fight, and if we lose the fight, get ready for the underground resistance. Now is the time to prepare, not when the persecution laws are already in place.

UPDATE: A Canadian Lutheran comments:

Hi Rod. I am not sure if you remember meeting me. Back in 2016 you spoke up here in Canada at a theological conference which I helped organize. We spoke over beer about how things of this sort were in the wind in both of our nations. I will soon be leading a study in my parish on “Live Not By Lies” with a young adults group. I have been involved in this issue in the Canadian Lutheran community for decades now. Years ago, like Paivi Rasanen, I authored a few pamphlets and articles on this topic, mostly for the purpose of fighting this movement in my (then) denominational body. I have since left that body due to their sanctioning of same sex marriage. I helped in the formation of a new Lutheran church body in North America, which is largely made up of congregations and individuals who are refugees of the so called “sex wars”.

One of the most difficult things to internalize has been how we were stigmatized and abandoned by so many who purported to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. We were often publicly compared with Nazis, and were quite regularly publicly accused of bigotry by the more zealous Rainbow Warriors. I can only imagine what was said about us in their private circles. Actually, I don’t even need to imagine all of it, because some of it got back to me, as these things do. Most disappointing of all however have been those (both clergy and lay) who, after looking over both shoulders, would whisper that they agreed with us, but then would tell us all the reasons why they would not poke their heads out of their foxholes. And of course I have watched friend after friend, colleague after colleague drink the kool-aid. I have watched as one of my children suffered harassment at school, and later at university over this. I have even been asked by my other child “Dad … are you a homophobe?”. The latter query turned into what I think was a good conversation about what is and is not a phobia.

My point here is that this has been going on for a long time, and I am afraid to say that elements of the Christian church have been in the vanguard of this movement. I almost wish it were more the case that the church was simply asleep at the switch. But I’m afraid that the church in Canada and the USA is deeply implicated in bringing this about. Every western denomination has had its rainbow flag movement. Some more so than others. But it absolutely crosses denominational lines. I cannot speak of the Eastern church, because I simply don’t know much about it. I would like to think that somewhere there is a Christian community who will not bend the knee to Ba’al. But I admit to feeling pretty discouraged about that right now. The topic of that theological conference back in 2016 was “Relevant or Remnant?”. You (along with Peter Leithart) taught us about keeping the faith when we have been pushed to the fringes. I am more convinced than ever that this is how things are going to go down.

Given our treatment at the hands of those who claim to be of the same faith I cannot but expect worse now that the government has become more deeply involved in this movement. I believe that politics is downstream from culture, and that the politicians in Canada are now simply raising their sails to catch the cultural wind. I fear it will get worse from here, and that there might yet be a personal reckoning for me over things that I have said and written a decade and more ago. All stuff that was fair ball at the time of course. But the overton window has closed since then. What once was something we were called to tolerate is now something that nothing short of a full throated shout of approval will suffice. I hope I am wrong, and I pray that God will give me the strength to stick to my guns if it should ever come to that.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this issue to people’s attention on your side of the border.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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