If ever there was a ripe mission field, it’s Canada, but those saints called to share the gospel in the provinces have been dealt a serious blow.
According to a statement from Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries, Pastor David Lynn and his congregation have been evicted from a municipal building in Toronto for alleged “hate activity.”
What has this missionary church done to warrant such treatment? They’ve faithfully preached the gospel to Toronto’s denizens, including God’s forgiveness and power to save people from all sin, including homosexuality.
In an interview with LifeSite News, Pastor Lynn says he received an email back in October from Aydin Sarrafzadeh, manager of aquatics at the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre, “immediately” revoking the permit which allowed the church to hold services in the building.
“It has … come to our attention that most recently you have been involved in activities that are in violation of the City’s Hate Activity policy,” Sarrafzadeh wrote. “Please be advised that you are not permitted to book space at any City of Toronto facility.”
Although Pastor Lynn and CFM have used the Aquatic Centre for over a year, it appears that the allegations of “hate activity” stem largely from an incident over the summer in which Lynn was arrested while preaching in the streets.
As we reported at the time, Lynn was swarmed by a mob of LGBT people as he preached at the corner of Church and Wellesley, in the heart of Toronto’s “gay” village. Instead of the angry mob, Lynn was arrested and was released from jail the next morning on the condition that he stay away from that month’s “Pride” events in the neighborhood.
Though he was ultimately charged with disturbing the peace and mischief, Lynn says police were looking to pin charges of “hate speech” on him.
“I didn’t say anything derogatory,” he told LifeSite. “I basically said, ‘God loves you, God’s calling you, there’s hope for you’. I got arrested on allegations of hate speech, but there was clearly no hate speech. And so they came up with this bogus charge of disturbing the peace.”
After several rallies, court dates, a massive petition, and $50,000 spent on legal fees, the charges against Lynn remain and his five-day trial is set for July-August 2020.
Later on, Lynn decided to hold a “freedom rally” in late September to mobilize the Christian community. “I just don’t feel it’s right that anyone should get arrested for exercising their freedom of speech in any part of Toronto on a public sidewalk,” he said.
Lesbian city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and other LGBT activists staged a counter-rally, which Mayor John Tory promoted and attended.
“When there is a threat, when there are people our promoting division and polarization and stigmatization against the LGBTQ community or anybody else, I think it’s my job to stand up and say no, that’s not the way we live here, that’s not what we’re about in Toronto,” Tory said.
Lynn’s explanation of the events, however, is quite different.
“They literally brought out about 200 police officers, SWAT team, everything,” he told LifeSite. His rally attendees “prayed, we looked at ourselves introspectively as a Christian community[.] … And then we were going to peacefully walk up Church Street, just singing praise unto the Lord” until they were “blocked” by the Toronto Police, SWAT, and Antifa thugs in a seven-hour standoff.
Naturally, “all the media just wrote me off as bad,” Lynn said. “They just painted this picture that I’m this hate speech guy[.] … We said over and over, we love the LGBT community, this is not targeted at them.”
The email from Sarrafzadeh followed ten days later.
When asked exactly what Lynn had done to violate the “hate” policy, Sarrafzadeh referred to the rally, Lynn said. “If our rally was hateful, then why wasn’t I arrested? And I mean, I was in my rights to have a rally and it’s a freedom of speech rally,” he asked.
As for freedom of speech in Toronto, what precious pieces of it remain are quickly on their way out.
Councillor Wong-Tam tabled a motion October 29 for a review of booking rules for Toronto’s facilities that asks that “LGBTQ+ stakeholders” be consulted.
She referred to Lynn’s rally when arguing for the motion, as well the fury over Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy, who is critical of gender ideology, speaking at a public library.
Council approved the motion to review by a 20-to-1 vote, and is expected to consider the revised booking policies in January.
Lynn, however, has launched a petition against motion as “blatant in your face discrimination.”
“We are being discriminated against. We’re being bullied. We’re being told we’re not welcome,” he says in a video exhorting Christians to wake up.
“That should bother you,” adds Lynn. “I shouldn’t have to sit at the back of the bus because I’m a Christian.”
Nor should he have to hold his church services “in the park outside in the cold,” as he did for three weeks after the eviction, until finding a temporary refuge near Yonge and Dundas.
Pray for Pastor Lynn and CFM, who are fundraising for a permanent facility in Toronto, and pray for his upcoming trial.
One needs only to look to our neighbors to the north for a glimpse of what awaits us on the descent into rank leftism. When civic business must be reviewed and approved by the LGBT minority and any dissenting speech is punishable as “hate,” we have officially become a totalitarian society.
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