Nanaimo council’s come-to-Jesus moment
Once politicians have exhausted all other alternatives, they can be counted on to do the right thing.
Nanaimo’s city council is proof of that.
On May 5, they passed a shocking anti-Christian motion, by an 8 to 1 vote, banning a Christian-themed convention from using the local conference center. And they banned any other groups they felt had “divisive” views.
One councilor, Jim Kipp, actually compared Christian groups to organized criminals, and Boko Haram terrorists.
A delegation of pastors who complained at the next city council meeting was met with stony silence.
So were citizens asking the council about the legal basis for ripping up a signed contract at the convention centre. So were citizens asking about the legal liabilities of such a bizarre act.
Citizen after citizen implored the council to reconsider. But politicians are stubborn things, especially when they introduced the original anti-Christian motion with such a showy flourish.
Nanaimo’s politicians thought they could wait out what little opposition there was. And for six weeks, they were right.
No national media picked up the story, and neither did the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. If it had been a gay or black or Muslim group that was kicked out, the political and legal backlash would have been immediate and massive.
But these were mere Christians. They could suck it up.
When Sun Media picked up the story, the city council started to feel some heat – enough for them to issue a one-page statement, written in a unique blend of politically correct jargon and legalese. It wasn’t an apology – it was an ironic apology, expressing regret only that Christians were so thin-skinned. Again, the council would not be moved.
Nearly two months went by, and the council was as stone-faced as the giant statues on Easter Island.
And then, within 24 hours, they collapsed, as if those mighty monuments spilled into sand. City council reversed its discriminatory motion in a unanimous vote, apologized to Christians, and actually started paying out compensation to those it had damaged through its illegal breach of contract.
Politicians being politicians, they claim the amount of money spent to pay off potential litigants is a “confidential legal matter,” so taxpayers may never know just how much their anti-Christian folly cost the city.
Nanaimo is a city famous for paying $120,000 for a high-tech public toilet that broke down immediately after it was installed. It wouldn’t be surprising if their two-month flirtation with an anti-Christian Quebec-style “Charter of Values” cost even more.
So what caused the change? Was it a sudden pang of conscience? No. It was more than 6,000 Sun readers and Sun News Network viewers who decided that Nanaimo’s city council bigotry was unacceptable in Canada.
Six thousand citizen-activists signed a petition demanding Nanaimo repeal the motion and apologize. But that was just for starters. Hundreds of people e-mailed and phoned city councilors. More than $5,000 was raised for a lawsuit. A city-wide poll was commissioned (showing overwhelming demand to repeal the motion). And, last Wednesday, an impromptu meeting outside city hall drew 100 people.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s one thing for an out-of-town newspaper or TV show to embarrass these politicians. But when 100 Nanaimoites met right outside city council’s office, talking about throwing the bums out – well, that caught their attention. It would be hard to think of another issue in recent history that brought 100 protesters to city hall.
It was that fear – the fear of losing their jobs – that made the bigots of Nanaimo’s city council repent, and apologize so abjectly.
It’s obviously a self-interested, self-serving apology, done at the eleventh hour, when all other alternatives were exhausted. I don’t believe it’s genuine at all. You can’t compare Christians to the mafia one day, and suddenly love them like brothers the next.
It’s lucky for the bigots of Nanaimo’s city council that Christians are a forgiving lot, isn’t it?
– Ezra Levant, Sun News
Read the original article and view the video here.