by Dan Savage
on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM
...by the people we intimidate and harass. Christofascists in Toronto protest in front of the home of a gay couple—not because the couple did anything in particular to the church. But the couple exists...
Highfield Road Gospel Hall must have been fresh out of mind-your-own-business last night, because eight of God's hand-picked mouthpieces allegedly found themselves outside of the home of a Leslieville gay couple, praying for the men's unsolicited salvation. Residents of the Dundas and Greenwood area stepped up in support of the unidentified targets, asking the holy rollers to move on and leave the neighbourhood in peace.... Though the church members didn't explicitly admit that they had chosen that particular house because it housed a gay couple, Skelding says that many street residents are convinced that's the reason, especially based on the church group's history of door-to-door evangelism on the street.
First, props to the neighbors who came to the defense of the gay couple.
And second: If a church is free to stage a prayer meeting/protest in front of a gay couple's house to express the church's disapproval of the residents' sexuality, seems to me that the couple and other gay people and straight people who support gay rights are free to stage a protest in front of that church to express their disapproval of the church's bigotry and intolerance. Freedom means freedom for everybody, right?
So when's the kiss-in?
Highfield Road Gospel Hall 33 Highfield Rd & Dundas E Toronto, Ontario
UPDATE 2: I—along with the neighbors—appear to have jumped the gun. Update here.
The dispute, during which a neighbour called police, involved parishioners from Highfield Road Gospel Hall, a nondenominational church of about 30.
Christine Oddy was on her porch when she heard a sermon which featured, she said, “something about blood running down the street, souls going to purgatory.” She approached the parishioners. “You are hateful people, that’s what you are,” she can be heard saying on the video.
Online, hundreds of others joined her in condemnation. Prominent U.S. sex writer Dan Savage, who is gay, called the parishioners “Christofascists.” Another gay blogger called them “Christian terrorists.”
To Chiasson, however, they are the unthreatening “church people” — and they did not do anything wrong.
Chiasson, 45, said he believes Highfield parishioners only choose to read the Bible from a spot near their house because a fire hydrant prevents cars from parking there.
He said the parishioners preached on the street long before he and Collins, 47, arrived 13 years ago. Moreover, he said, he and Collins have never felt personally targeted by the parishioners, have never heard them say anything homophobic, and have not even been present for three years on the summer Sundays when the infrequent sermons occur.
He said the parishioners are “a part of the neighbourhood” with the right to speak freely. The neighbours who confronted them, he said, “overreacted.”