David Lynn’s anti-LGBTQ preaching was drowned out by protesters in Victoria during the first stop on his cross-country tour Saturday night. And protesters plan to be there again when Lynn appears in Surrey and Vancouver on Monday and Tuesday.
“We need to defend our community,” said Dan Snyder, a lawyer and member of the group “Disco Task Force” which gathers to protest each time an anti-gay preacher appears in Vancouver.
It’s something that has happened frequently this summer in the West End and English Bay.
“They pop up, some of them have their speakers, and they start saying terrible things,” Snyder said. “Much of it religious, but a lot of time it goes past acceptable speech. Especially as a gay man, I find it quite offensive.”
Snyder doesn’t think speaking to David Lynn would be productive.
“They don’t want a conversation, they want provocation,” he said.
Instead, members of the Disco Task Force are encouraged to play music, dance and sing while he preaches.
“In my case, waving flags, dancing around, trying to be a helpful, almost a distraction,” said Snyder. “Because I don’t want to give him the attention. I want to create a buffer between him and community members.”
Vancouver’s mayor calls the travelling preacher despicable.
“We will be talking with police about what we can do,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “There is some hate speech, whether you can charge it as a crime or just denounce it, it depends on what’s said. So we’ll be monitoring that situation very closely.”
Police don’t want a repeat of last weekend, when Justin Morissette, a Vancouver man who confronted street preachers on Davie Street, ended up with a broken leg. Two men are now facing charges.
“I wish the best to Justin, that he heals up quickly because it’s just so sad,” said Snyder. “It’s absolutely appalling that this type of violence is happening in our community.”
He hopes Vancouver protestors react peacefully to Lynn’s appearances, like the group in Victoria did. Around 50 people waving rainbow flags and shouting “no homophobia” and “go home” followed the preacher until he was escorted to a taxi by police.
“I don’t think he had a very open welcome, but at the same time if he’s having his freedom of expression, we as the community have the right to respond,” Snyder said.