A lawyer for a Canadian Catholic high school student who was allegedly suspended for opposing transgender ideology said his client’s legal battle shows that freedom in the country is rapidly eroding.
“I think it’s representative of where the culture is, where the community is, and where our public institutions are up here,” attorney James Kitchen told Fox News Digital about the case against 16-year-old Josh Alexander.
The high school junior was arrested on Feb. 6 for allegedly trespassing after he showed up at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario, despite an exclusion order. Kitchen is taking legal action by appealing the exclusion order against Alexander and filing a human rights complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Alexander, who describes himself as a born-again Christian, was first suspended in November for organizing protests at his school against biological males in girls’ bathrooms and arguing in class that God created two immutable sexes.
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Alexander’s suspension was technically lifted in January, but has effectively continued after the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board “excluded” him for the remainder of the school year. Alexander told The Epoch Times that his principal offered to return to the school if the teenager stopped using the “dead name,” or first name, of transgender students and excluded himself from classes with two transgender students.
Kitchen, who serves as director of litigation at Liberty Coalition Canada, said he never realized how big Alexander’s case would become when he first contacted him around Christmas, after Alexander’s first suspension from the state-funded school.
Liberty Coalition Canada’s website was founded by Clergy in January 2021 and said it is committed to “supporting Canadians who face unfair and unlawful discrimination in order to exercise their legal freedoms.”
“I never imagined it would rise to this level,” Kitchen said. “I knew it would probably end up being published and there would be some kind of conflict because I knew Josh wasn’t going to back down.”
Kitchen believes that both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are in sharp decline in Canada, but noted that religious freedom is evaporating faster. He said many Canadians do not understand the seriousness of the threat their government increasingly poses to religious freedom, which he said is “essentially dead” after withering “for about 10 or 15 years.”
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Kitchen said the Supreme Court of Canada issued the “nail in the coffin” with a 2018 decision against Trinity Western University in British Columbia. The Christian school, which sought to establish the first Christian law school in Canada, appealed to the Supreme Court after regional law associations refused to accredit them based on their student covenant that prohibited extramarital sex.
Kitchen said the legal precedent set in that case “really gutted religious freedom in Canada,” and that such trends have accelerated in recent years as authorities jailed pastors and seized church property during the pandemic. Alexander’s case, he said, is another escalation.
The lawyer singled out Bill C-4, which the Canadian Parliament passed last year, as a “perfect example” of the encroaching tide against religious freedom in Canada.
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Under the law that led to protests from thousands of churches throughout North America, therapists in Canada who provide any type of counseling to suppress or reduce “non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behavior” or “non-cisgender identity” can face up to five years in prison.
“We don’t have any cases on it yet, we don’t have any charges, so we’re all just waiting to see what the government decides to do about it,” said Kitchen, who predicted that “gender and sexuality issues” are going to lead to more legal clashes between Christians and the Canadian government.
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“I fully expect in the next 12-24 months to get a call that a pastor or other religious leader has been arrested because he’s been caught telling a guy who thinks he’s a woman that maybe he should consider being okay with being a man instead of transitioning to being a woman,” Kitchen said.
“I expect as a lawyer in Canada to be on that case or at least hear about it,” he added. — That is where we are heading.
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Echoing Kitchen, Alexander told Fox News Digital that “freedom of speech in general and religion is under attack” in his country.
“There is absolutely no doubt that we are losing all the freedoms that we have taken for granted for far too long,” he said.
Alexander noted that some young people his age are afraid to speak their mind. He urged them “to speak up before it’s too late”.
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“If you think what I’m doing is bad right now, just wait until your freedom of belief and thought is banned,” he said. “It’s time to speak up before it’s too late. Our previous generation has failed to do so, and it’s time for us to pick up the torch and do it.”