Who’s the “street preacher” behind Saturday’s anti-gay protest?

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Some years ago I interviewed a “street preacher” named David Jonathan Lynn, and while his theology appeared confusing and his motives perplexing, he was no fool.

Back then, he was highly vocal speaking on the “sin” of homosexuality, mostly at the corner Yonge-Dundas Square. But he’s now taken it all much further.

Today, he’s founder and senior pastor at something called Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries (CFM). And CEO of Christian Positive Space, which he describes as “an international movement for the rights and freedoms of Christians.”

Earlier this year, he was arrested and spent a night in jail for disturbing the peace after he was seen yelling comments at Church and Wellesley in the heart of the village. 

As always in these cases – in Canada and elsewhere – the police generally ask people to move along. But also in these cases, some people appear eager to get arrested. I am a martyr, therefore I am. 

A group of Lynn’s co-religionists planned a “Freedom March and Prayer” through the village on September 28 to, in their words, “flood the streets and pray, repent, and march as Biblical Christians.” They were blocked by police from getting to Church Street where the mayor was attending a counter rally organized by the LGBTQ community. Lynn’s group marched up Yonge instead.

They say they do not hate, but simply want to tell those who live in the village that they’re loved. That’s a horribly disingenuous claim. They know why they are there, and the community knows why they are there. 

It’s difficult to define those involved with Lynn. He seems to have few, if any, connections even to the traditionally ultra-conservative and homophobic churches or denominations – although they do seem well-funded and organized given the numbers that showed up Saturday with signs and T-shirts. 

CFM claims online that, “Our churches are all grassroots and are comprised of street preaching teams, mentors… seeking to fulfill the great commission and see people grounded in the Biblical Christian faith,” which rather gives the impression that they don’t actually have a church building.

This, however, hasn’t prevented the group from engaging in hyperbole.

“CFM is embarking on a mission to set up Gospel Booths and Evangelists on every major street corner and plant CFM-trained churches throughout the globe to both unite churches and that Christ will truly be present in our nation.”

Hardly. What they have managed to do is cause fear within the LGBTQ community and provoke anger.

@nowtoronto