For immediate release from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
February 16, 2011
OTTAWA - “While Evangelicals have shown a high tolerance for comment, critique and even ridicule of our sincerely held beliefs, it is still expected that journalists purporting to report unbiased news actually make an effort to do so,” explains Don Hutchinson, Vice-President and General Legal Counsel for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC).
On February 10, 2011, CBC Radio-Canada broadcast a half-hour documentary vilifying Canadian evangelicals through its program Enquête. In the program and its promotional material on the CBC website, evangelicals are portrayed as having privileged access to parliamentarians. The episode focused on controversial issues and imagery and failed to provide an equitable portrayal of Canadian Evangelical Christians.
“Many of the tactics used in the program contravene the Canadian Broadcasters Association’s Code of Ethics, the Equitable Portrayal Code and the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada’s Code of Ethics,” states Hutchinson. “It is for this reason we filed a complaint with the Broadcast Standards Council.
“Had Ms. Brigitte Bureau and her producers completed a simple internet search, they would have found that the controversial issues they focused on during the program are actually issues and practices that are not necessarily representative of broader Canadian Evangelicalism,” continues Hutchinson. “While Evangelicals comprise a minority in Canada, about 12% of the population, we are a very diverse minority. The movement has grown over the last half century to encompass a widening diversity of beliefs and traditions.”
Also readily available on the internet is information about lobbyist activities. “While Enquête focused on one individual who is not a registered lobbyist, many faith-based groups, including the EFC, are registered under the Lobbyists Registration Act and their activities are reported and publicly available. These groups participate in the democratic process, without seeking special access or privileges, all while remaining in compliance with appropriate legislation and policies,” states Hutchinson.
Evangelical Canadians do share certain core beliefs with all Christian Canadians, but they hold a wide diversity of beliefs on matters of public policy and substantially support Canada’s major political parties in roughly the same ratios as other Canadians.
“While it requires no effort to portray Evangelicals in a simplistic fashion, very little effort would have been required to discover the breadth of the contribution that evangelical Canadians make to our country. Evangelicals young and old support and advocate for a variety of causes that include campaigns against human trafficking and child abuse, relief of poverty efforts and support for civil liberties such as assembly, speech, conscience and religion,” explains Hutchinson.
“The simplistic and selective portrayal of one minority cultural or religious group has never benefitted any truly pluralistic and multicultural society. Free expression, however colourful its content, is necessary in a free and democratic society, and so is journalistic integrity.”
For more information, see Don Hutchinson's blog "Reason and Religion: Anti-religionists display lack of reason … or a not so hidden agenda?" at ActivateCFPL.theEFC.ca and the EFC's CBSC complaint here.
For more information contact:
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
(613) 233-9868, ext. 325
THE EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA
Together for influence, impact and identity
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the national association of evangelical Christians, gathered together for influence, impact and identity in ministry and public witness. Since 1964 the EFC has provided a national forum for Evangelicals and a constructive voice for biblical principles in life and society. In addition to 39 evangelical denominations, the EFC affiliates include ministry organizations, educational institutions and individual congregations, who uphold a common statement of faith. The EFC is an active participant in the World Evangelical Alliance.