Residents of a neighbourhood on Toronto’s Leslieville Street found themselves defending the home of a local gay couple after members of a local Baptist church gathered outside it, shouting, praying, and waving bibles.
The incident, which was captured on camera and uploaded to YouTube, shows the parishioners from Toronto’s Highfield Road Gospel Hall quickly becoming defensive: “We have a right to be here,” said one woman. “We have the authority to preach the gospel.”
Anna MacKay, one of the neighbours, told the media that this was not an isolated incident. “They were talking about blood of the lamb flowing down the street, we’ll have to pay for our sins. Every time I’ve seen them, they’re standing outside that house right there.”
A spokesperson for the church, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the media that the whole incident was all a “major misunderstanding.” “Someone felt we were targeting a specific house, but we would never stoop—never stoop to target any group such as gay people.”
Personally, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on this point, since it appears they’ve been preaching on neighbourhood streets for quite some time. That said, preaching outside private homes is crossing a line whether they’re targeting specific houses or not, and the church doesn’t seem to understand that. “In the word of God,” one of the preachers declared, “next year, we’ll be here.”
The gay couple, who weren’t home at the time, haven’t commented on the incident, but will likely invest in an underground sprinkler system—just in case.