A group of around 100 people showed up in downtown Victoria to protest a known anti-gay preacher’s planned sermon Saturday night.
David Lynn and his group ‘Christian Forgiveness Ministries’ or ‘Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries’ have been known to use loudspeakers to preach to passersby and allegedly incite violence by espousing homophobic and transphobic rhetoric in Toronto’s Church Street neighbourhood.
On Saturday August 29, Lynn and his group attempted to kick off a ‘Cross Canada tour’ in Victoria, but did not last long on the streets of the capital city.
The Christian street preaching team was supposed to begin their speeches at the intersection of Douglas and Yates Streets at 6 p.m. last night.
However their arrival at that location was preceded by a steadily growing group of about 100 members of the LGBTQ++ community and allies, poised to drown out any sermons with loudspeakers, chanting, music, and noisemakers.
People are gathered at Douglas and Yates where an anti-gay preacher is expected to speak this evening.
— Brishti Basu (@brish_ti) August 30, 2020
“Lynn was initially scheduled to begin at 6, but he was clearly intimidated by the amount of people who showed up to counter his hate,” said Lin Alexander Lloyd, one of the main organizers of the grassroots protest movement.
“A friend was keeping an eye on his Facebook page, which made it easy to figure out where in the downtown area he was when he started broadcasting around 7. It just took a few minutes after that for us to catch up to him.”
Multiple Victoria Police officers escorted Lynn and around three other people associated with him out of the area as they attempted to deliver their sermon while being followed by the large group of rainbow-clad protesters who chanted ‘No Homophobia’, and ‘This preacher preaches hate’ in turn.
According to multiple accounts, Lynn kept repeating the phrase ‘repent your sins’ and told some of the protesters that being gay was a choice.
Further, while those who showed up to protest either wore a mask or was provided one to maintain safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynn himself went without a face covering for the entirety of the event.
After a few minutes of attempting to speak over crowd, Lynn eventually stopped at the corner of Douglas and Courtney St, got in a cab with two of his accomplices, and drove off.
A few minutes after Lynn’s departure, the protesters caught wind of two more people associated with his group preaching at the corner of Broughton and Blanshard.
The crowd, that had by then dwindled to about 50 protestors, followed the remaining preachers and drowned out their sermons with more chants and music until the two got in a cab at Douglas and Fort and left.
— Brishti Basu (@brish_ti) August 30, 2020
Not their first or last sermon
David Lynn and the Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries were most recently in the news after two members of the religious demonstrations were arrested in Vancouver for assaulting a man who took the microphone of one of the preachers associated with the group to stop them from espousing homophobic rhetoric.
Justin Morrissette, the man who was assaulted, says the demonstrators purposely broke his leg for intervening.
He identified one of the attackers who was arrested as Dorre Love, a man previously affiliated with David Lynn and ‘Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries’.
In the aftermath of that incident, Lynn announced his ‘Cross Canada Tour’ which began in Victoria Saturday and had scheduled sermons for the group in Vancouver Sunday.
However Lynn and around five other members of his group showed up at Gonzales Beach in Oak Bay to continue their sermons on Sunday morning.
“He knew that we would show up in force if he gave any advance notice, so he just went live on Facebook and the people who were available showed up,” added Lloyd, who along with three other members of the community, went to protest that event as well.
“Everyone at the beach and in the surrounding community who heard his preaching (and my megaphone-amplified protesting) seemed quite miffed at him and very supportive of us. The beachgoers applauded for our side when he left, and some random people stopped to say that they support our community.”
The preachers left about 30 minutes after going live on Facebook from Gonzales Beach.
Lynn and his group are now expected to preach on the streets of Vancouver and several cities across Alberta and Saskatchewan, but Victoria residents are confident he will not be so quick to return to the island.
“I do believe we’ve impressed upon him that there are very few on these territories who are open to what he has to say,” said Lloyd.
“I don’t think it was worth the ferry cost, anyway.”