TORONTO, June 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A street preacher arrested for evangelizing in Toronto’s “gay village” was released Wednesday after a night behind bars on bail conditions barring him from “Pride” events and the homosexual district.
Police arrested David Lynn of Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries early Tuesday evening and charged him with disturbing the peace after a crowd protesting his message surrounded him and other street evangelists on the corner of Church and Wellesley Streets.
Members of Torch of Christ ministries were also present and posted a full video of the incident on YouTube, while Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries posted a seven-minute edited version.
The edited video shows Lynn using a microphone to declare he is “coming out as a Christian” and asking several people if they will “tolerate” him, but they refuse to engage with him.
“We have people who can’t say they even tolerate me, and I haven’t even said anything yet,” Lynn says as he’s hemmed in and jostled by people holding rainbow flags and pro-LGBTQ banners and signs.
Lynn states he doesn’t hate anyone, that some people hate Christians, and that some people want him to “stay in the closet” as a Christian, as he is followed, elbowed, and yelled at.
“Everyone’s accepted, and that’s what we preach as Christians,” he says. “Jesus died for the sinner…sin is when we violate the laws of God.”
As the crowd spills onto the road and tensions mount, more police arrive on the scene, 680 News reporter Melissa Nakhavoly notes on Twitter.
The video shows Lynn telling the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood’s Sergeant Henry Dyck, who is openly homosexual, he has a right to preach on the sidewalk and objecting to his arrest.
“What did I do?” Lynn asks as he is handcuffed and placed in a police car by at least five officers. “This is against the law. This is against the law … I was sharing the Gospel.”
“We arrested a man for disturbing the peace after he was allegedly yelling derogatory comments,” Dyck is heard saying on the video.
“There were people there that were clearly disturbed and appalled by the comments that were being made. I don’t know what those comments were, or exactly what it was that he was saying,” he states. “And so that man was arrested.”
Toronto Police Services are now investigating whether a hate crime charge is warranted.
“We had a number of individuals who came to the village and one had a bullhorn and they started making comments that were disparaging towards the LGBTQ community,” duty inspector Jim Gotell told CP24.
“Our hate crime investigators are going to be reviewing what was said today to determine if additional charges could be laid,” he said.
“We are asking people if they did make a video of what happened, to please turn it over to us.”
Dyck likewise defended the arrest to CityNews.
“The difficulty becomes when that expression on loud speaker and using screaming and insulting language results in people responding in a negative way,” he said.
“Unfortunately at that point, as you can see, the safety of everybody can be put at risk.”
But Lynn disputes that version of the incident.
“All I said was ‘God loves you, there’s hope for everybody.’ I didn’t do anything illegal, I was within my rights of the law. I didn’t go there to provoke anybody,” he told CityNews after his bail hearing.
Lynn will be in court to answer to the charge on July 10.
Meanwhile, he is barred from in the area bound by Bloor Street, Yonge Street, Carlton Street and Jarvis Street and from locations hosting “Pride Month” events.
Lynn was arrested the same day Mayor John Tory raised the pro-homosexual rainbow flag at City Hall to kick off June as “Pride Month.”
“It is very clear that a bias exists in Canada,” notes a message under the Torch of Christ Ministries video of the incident.
“Christian beliefs are being labeled as hate speech, and hatred and violence towards Christians is being allowed,” it states.
“Assaults against us are overlooked by law enforcement. Christians, you are being discriminated against. This is the truth.”
That won’t deter the Christians from evangelizing, Phillip Blair of Torch of Christ told CityNews.
“We believe that it’s worth the persecution against us,” he said. “We believe it’s worth the arrest. The truth is always going to be a very difficult, complex subject.”
In 2012, about a dozen police officers surrounded Lynn and his team as they preached near the corner of Yonge and Wellesley during the “Pride Parade” and forcibly shut them down.