A controversial Toronto street preacher, who has faced opposition for his views about LGBT people, is kicking off a national tour this weekend by starting on the West Coast, in the wake of a recent assault during a conflict involving queer issues and an evangelical group in Vancouver’s West End
David Lynn, founder of Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries, is launching his cross-country tour in Victoria tomorrow (August 29), and he’ll be making appearances in Vancouver on Sunday and Monday (August 30 and 31).
That’ll be followed by dates in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In June 2019, Lynn was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace after he used his megaphone in Toronto’s queer-oriented Church-Wellesley Village, shortly after the city kicked off Pride Week, and he attracted a large crowd who opposed him.
His ministry states on its website that its mission is to “to impact the world through radical evangelism, church planting, and discipleship” and to establish gospel booths and evangelists “on every major street corner”.
On a webpage about beliefs, the ministry excludes same-sex marriage.
“I believe that Christian marriage is a covenant involving the union of two believers of the opposite sex, symbolizing the holy relationship of Christ and the church,” the site states.
Lynn’s arrival is scheduled after a series of antigay assemblies that have taken place in recent months in Vancouver’s LGBT-oriented Davie Village in the West End. Tensions culminated in an altercation between SportsNet 650 host Justin Morissette and the evangelical group on August 22.
Morissette, who stated he isn’t gay but wanted to protect his neighbours, took away their microphone but a physical conflict ensued. Morissette wound up in hospital with two broken leg bones and a dislocated knee.
Vancouver police arrested two men at the scene, one of whom has been affiliated with Lynn.
B.C. queer resource centre Qmunity, based in Vancouver, issued a statement today to "call on the City of Vancouver, Mayor and Council, the Vancouver Police Department, and bylaw enforcement officers to condemn the spread of hateful homophobia and transphobia and to do their jobs enforcing the laws of our community". The organization is also asking "faith-based organizations and spiritual leaders across the city to condemn homophobia and transphobia, and in particular to support LGBTQ2SIA+ people of faith who may feel doubly ostracized and delegitimized by the concerted efforts of the street preacher’s rhetoric".
Qmunity also praised Morissette "for his bravery in standing up for what is right" and for supporting their nonprofit organization with GoFundMe page.