My newsfeed has included a lot of posts about the recent arrest of David Lynn, a Christian evangelist. He had been preaching on the streets of a largely gay neighbourhood in Toronto during Pride Month.
One article responding to this was titled, Yes, Canada Is Actually Arresting Christian Pastors And Banning Them From Preaching In Public. This is another example of fear-mongering among Christians that has me really concerned.
Another example is this one: Pastor Arrested for Preaching Against Homosexuality. The title argues that he was arrested for preaching about homosexuality while the article claims that he didn’t preach against homosexuality. That’s just bad reporting.
This article, and many similar ones, make it sound as if Canada is actively arresting Christian pastors and preventing any public expression of the Christian faith. As a Canadian pastor, I can say that is not the case.
You can watch the video of the incident here:
I am not going to claim that the behaviour of the crowd was completely appropriate. There likely was some anti-Christian feelings by some of them.
But David Lynn was really asking for trouble by doing this. It was not wise to go street preaching in a gay neighbourhood during Pride Month. What was he hoping to accomplish? He must have known that this would cause a disturbance.
And this is not just about LGBTQ either. Something similar would have happened if a Christian evangelist went into a Muslim neighbourhood during Ramadan. It is just not wise.
There is real persecution of Christians going on all of the world. There are people who are being arrested and even killed for identifying as a follower of Jesus. But that is not the case in Canada.
I have no fear of being arrested. Nor do I think that the government is going to stop me from publicly expressing my faith. But that is because I try to do it in respectful and appropriate ways.
When expressing our faith, we need to anticipate our audience, determine our goals and do it in appropriate ways. Setting ourselves up for a hostile reaction with no real hope of a positive outcome is not the way to go about it.
More than that, we should not use these incidents as ways to create a culture of fear and hate. Report on the event for what it was and don’t claim something that isn’t true.
If you are concerned about this, you might like this article as well: Is Ontario Considering Legislation Criminalizing Public Displays of Faith?