‘You’re promoting hate’: Toronto police shut down preacher at Gay Pride parade
TORONTO, Ontario, July 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian preacher spreading God’s word on a sidewalk in Toronto during the Gay Pride Parade on Canada Day was verbally assaulted by homosexual supporters as police watched, and was later surrounded by as many as 12 officers who forced him to vacate the area.
“I felt a bit threatened by the Law Enforcement violating my rights,” preacher David Lynn told LifeSiteNews.
“It was really hurtful, because if that’s what happens when Christians stand up and exercise and practice their faith, then we’re not far from being imprisoned or even killed for the faith.”
Lynn and his ministry team had set up a portable microphone system on a small cart, near the corner of Yonge and Wellesley, from which they preached and handed out religious tracts and free bibles.
Attached above the cart was a banner which read, “Free info about Jesus.”
A rainbow colored banner nearby the cart displayed the message, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.”
Lynn told LifeSiteNews that he was there at the parade to preach to the LGBT community about the love of God.
“Jesus died for the entire world,” he said. “Everybody has an opportunity to be saved, including people at the Pride parade. There is no difference between them and me. I am a sinner just like they are. I wouldn’t have wasted my time if I didn’t think God’s loves them, if I didn’t think that there is hope for them.”
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But Lynn’s Gospel message of love was seen as confrontational by some. Video cameras captured Lynn’s peaceful interactions with participants at the event and subsequent police intervention.
“You’re being disrespectful by showing up and spewing your Jesus sh*t at a f***ing pride event,” shouted a woman in a tight pink t-shirt wearing sunglasses.
Next a man walked up with a water bottle and doused the preacher and the young man who was filming the event.
After this Lynn offered to share his mic with those who had surrounded him so that they could have a back and forth conversation. However, at this point police officers arrived on the scene wearing Gay Pride rainbow stickers. They asked the preacher if he had a permit for what he was doing.
Lynn said that he did not need a permit to preach.
“You are causing a disturbance right now,” officer T. Adams responded.
Lynn then appealed to the Charter’s rights and freedoms saying that there was nothing wrong with him having a conversation with people and “preaching what I believe”.
“You don’t have a permit for that; so that’s [the mic] off,” the officer said.
Lynn turned off his portable mic system and began to preach again.
But police began to surround him, effectively cutting him off from the people he was addressing.
“Guys, everybody, by staying listening to it you’re helping him get his message across. If you ignore him, it all goes away,” shouted officer Adams to the crowd.
Lynn then accused the officer of “taking sides.” By now six officers had surrounded the preacher.
“This is Canada Day, and I have freedom to believe whatever I want to believe and to preach what I want to preach,” said Lynn to the gathering police force.
One officer shouted at the cameraman “Hey, you’re blocking the sidewalk now”, and forcefully grabbed for the camera. Other cameras that caught the action show a police officer manhandling Lynn’s cameraman, pushing him along the sidewalk.
“Pack it up,” officers repeatedly said.
By now Lynn was surrounded by as many as 12 police officers.
“I don’t need a permit to preach,” Lynn said. “You’re discriminating against me because I’m preaching the Gospel.”
“You’re promoting hate,” staff sergeant R. Pasini said.
Police finally compelled Lynn to leave amid shouts of “Thank you Toronto police” from pro-homosexual spectators.
“What really disturbed me the most was to see the police assault our 17-year-old cameraman,” Lynn said to LifeSiteNews.
Lynn also says he was flabbergasted by the “hate” that was shown to him and his ministry team by the homosexual paraders.
“To see Christians hated so aggressively by members in that community…I haven’t seen that level of hatred. And there were cheers for that kind of hatred and that kind of discrimination. If that’s what that parade is about — hatred towards Christianity — that’s scary.”
Lynn was also distraught that the police were “supporting them and their hatred and their discrimination and their assault when all I was doing was saying ‘Jesus loves you.’”
Despite all the hostility, Lynn says that his street ministry that day was not in vain.
“Over 100 free bibles were voluntarily picked up.” An estimated 5000 tracts filled with Gospel messages were also picked up.
“We were expecting that people would come to faith in Christ, be saved, be set free, and feel the love of Christ. Despite opposition, we reached our goal,” he said.
Lynn says it is “possible” that he might pursue legal action against the Toronto Police Force if it will “help the Gospel message to be spread and help people on the streets who preach the faith to feel safe”.
“I think I was violated. I don’t think that’s how the police should treat people. That’s bigotry at its worst. That’s hypocrisy. That’s using a double standard.”
Seemingly unfazed by the Pride Parade confrontation, an optimistic Lynn was back preaching on the streets of Toronto on Tuesday with his portable information booth stocked full of “Free info about Jesus.”
Editor’s note: Lynn’s cameraman made a point of approaching the officers and obtaining their names and badge numbers. Officer D. Sinclair, 9678, refused to give his name, insisting that he had already given it. The cameraman nevertheless caught his name and badge number along with the names and badge numbers of a number of other officers who were in Lynn’s immediate vicinity.
Names and badge numbers of Toronto police officers identified by footage captured by Lynn’s cameraman:
T. Adams, 9114
Staff Sergeant R. Pasini, 4528
D. Sinclair, 9678
D. Rubbini, 6346
M. Duffy, 1095
Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD)
Ph: (877) 411-4773
Complaint against police form
Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto
Office of the Mayor
Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor,
100 Queen St. West,
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Ph: (416) 397-3673