So we have this manger scene which of course is all about the birth
of the child at the center of Christianity and the ‘life and light’ he
brought into the world, and besides all the other controversies over
where it can’t be displayed, now there’s a new one.

Campaign Life Catholic had donated $5000 for figurines
for a nativity scene erected by the Catholic lay movement, Gethsemane
Ministries, in front of Toronto’s Old City Hall courthouse.  Affixed to
the display was an 8 ½  X 11 in. laminated paper sign noting that the
display had been erected by Gethsemane Ministries. The Catholic
Organization’s logo was the dominant item on the notice. The bottom
three lines, in small plain text, stated, “Statues donated by Campaign
Life Coalition Catholic in honour of the efforts of Pro-Life hero Fr.
Ted Colleton.”

Simple and discreet and innocent enough.

However, the issue exploded onto the national stage
after a prominent Toronto blog reported on the sign in a story
headlined: “Away in a Manger No Place for a Pro-Life Message.”

Which is a pretty weird thought.

On Thursday all three major Canadian newspapers – the
Toronto Star, the National Post and the Globe and Mail – as well as
major television and radio stations, covered the last three lines on
the notice on the crèche as a major news item.

The Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper, featured the
controversy as the lead story on its Toronto print edition’s front page
with a large photo of the nativity display and extensive text that
continued onto another page.

(This, while the global economy is in crisis, terrorists are either
attacking or being rounded up, world leaders are holding a summit on
climate change, etc…)

The sign was incorrectly referred in most reports as
being a plaque. To correct the unintended controversy Gethesmane
Ministries simply sliced off the offending three lines from the bottom
of the paper notice.

Capitulation. Anybody challenge why the three lines offend? Or,
respond that such charges are, themselves, offensive and intolerant? 

In what free speech proponent Ezra Levant, who is
Jewish, called “a brazen act of censorship,” the City of Toronto caved
in to media pressure and ordered the text referring to Campaign Life
Catholic’s contribution to be removed, apparently based upon a single
complaint.

The politics of fear have no limit.

Suresh Dominic, founder and head of Gethsemane
Ministries told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that CLC came forward with the
donation after the statues had been vandalized. The statues were
donated as “a gift,” he said, “for the people of Toronto to enjoy,” and
there was “no intention of politicizing it.”

So first the manger scene was vandalized. Now, this assault. 

“We should recognize those who donate to us,” he
continued.  “It’s only right.  We call ourselves a multicultural
society, but what message are we giving when we are forced to take down
our simple acknowledgment to those who donate?”

(That Christians can be bullied.)

“Not surprisingly, this violation of free speech is done
in the name of ‘Toronto’s Human Rights Policy’,” said Ezra Levant. 
“This would never be done to a Muslim or Jewish group – and certainly
not a pro-abortion group.  It’s a sign of politically correct
desperation: instead of debating their opponents, they want to silence
them.”

And regrettably, it’s working.

This is essentially one of the issues that compelled the drafters and signers of the Manhattan Declaration to launch proclamation, and why it’s growing so rapidly.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....