Today Tue Wed
It is forecast to be Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on July 28, 2014
Rain
20°/13°
It is forecast to be Thunderstorm at 11:00 PM EDT on July 29, 2014
Thunderstorm
22°/15°
It is forecast to be Chance of a Thunderstorm at 11:00 PM EDT on July 30, 2014
Chance of a Thunderstorm
21°/15°

62 Comments

news

Let Us Prey


The commissary at Highfield Road Gospel Hall must have been fresh out of mind-your-own-business last night, because nine 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.
“We have an authority to preach the gospel,” claims one worshipper in a video clip (above) captured by nearby resident Geoffrey Skelding. “We’ve been doing this seven years.”
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.
“Talking with my neighbours, I learned that a lesbian couple left the area because of this group,” Skelding told Torontoist. “They do come to the area and knock on doors and tell people they are sinners.”
The congregation is based a few streets away at Dundas and Highfield, and has been worshipping in that location since November of 1934.
“You don’t know what love means,” admonishes a bystander in the video, after one of the church members vows to return “in the will of God.”
What makes this incident noteworthy is its context within Toronto’s relatively tolerant religious commixture: overzealous evangelism is uncommon here, and this type of interference is seen by many as a form of harassment. Torontonians are known for welcoming people of all beliefs into the cultural fabric, but we’re also protective of our citizens’ right to live in peace.
And for that, can we get an Amen?
Thanks to reader Yasmary Mora for the tip.

Comments

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    More examples of fine, objective journalism:
    “fresh out of mind-your-own-busines”
    “mouthpieces”
    “holy rollers”
    Fine examples of hack journalism. Who can take your writing seriously?

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Poor writing:
    allegedly found themselves
    How can you ‘allegedly find yourself” ?

  • mark.

    Many were rightly upset about religious people harassing people outside their own home, but I’m very impressed that a crowd of random neighbours came out to tell them to piss off.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    No doubt those people were offended, but your language choices are poor. Do you think it is proper to call Christians “holy-rollers”?

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    Not Christians, necessarily, but these so-called Christians, yes.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Ok. In that case, next time I see some gay people I will call them “faggots”, but of course I don’t mean All gay people, I just mean these gay people.
    Your article is biased and inflammatory. Try to be objective, unless you are not trying to be a news-site. If you are just editorializing, then I will just read you as such, and not as a writer trying to educate.

  • http://undefined Mike

    You know, you’re right: hack journalism is becoming a huge problem on the internet! Why, just the other day I stumbled across this blog called “Professor Muckefuck”, where he says, and I quote:

    The Professor comes from a visible minority. And he is white.
    Within the next 30 years, 60% of Torontonians will be non-white. Here is the question: will non-whites be able to check off that little square box “Are you a part of any visible minority in Canada?”
    The Professor thinks that the current policy is reverse discrimination.
    Whites are punished for being white, whereas brown and yellow people are rewarded. It is unfair. Job qualifications should be based on experience and ability, not on colour.
    Of course all the brown and yellow people disagree with that statement, who assert that minorities should be given an advantage in Canada, but will they still play that bamboo flute in 30 years when they are the majority and whites are the minority? No way, never–Canada is too politically correct and too afraid of its own shadow.
    Here is another question. Is multiculturalism really good for Canada? Sure, the Professor can eat an Indian buffet on one day and on the next dine at a shitty Korean restaurant, but is that what multiculturalism is all about? What actually benefit is there?
    Here is my prediction. Canada will become two Canadas. It will be a nation of traditional Canadian values, such as Timmy Ho’s and hockey, and a nation of hadjis crying foul over their violated religious freedom.
    The only good piece of news for reader and writer: the Professor will most likely be dead, and his grave recycled for the urban condo sprawl necessary to house all the FOBs.

    Have you ever heard such racist drivel? All that loaded language, all that self-pity, all that unnecessary harshness–and the sanctimonious tone of the thing?! Gosh, I just about choked!
    I mean, I feel terrible for the guy. His life is so hard, having to be white and comfortably middle-class. How can he possibly survive? :(

  • http://undefined Mike

    The term “Holy Roller” emerged in response to charismatic Christian sects which got so into their worship services that they became physically “moved” by the “holy spirit” and took to literally rolling around on the floor.
    The modern interpretation and usage of “Holy Roller”, as confirmed by the Urban Dictionary, refers to Christian religious organizations which practice active and aggressive ministry and carry a “holier-than-thou” attitude in so doing. This description does seem to apply to the group in question.

  • http://undefined Mike

    I must applaud your remarks! It’s so hard to be a Christian these days, what with mean people saying impolite things about you on the internet. Sure, even here in Canada gay people routinely get the crap beaten out of them, and black people face incredible prejudice, and the disabled can’t get jobs, and we treat the aboriginals so badly that we don’t even talk about them any more, but… MEAN THINGS! MEAN THINGS ON THE INTERNET! Oh, Christians have it so hard. :(

  • http://undefined Ted

    I think it’s cute that you complain about the writing in this post and then proceed to write a sentence with a glaringly misplaced modifier. And, sweetheart, you need to get out more often — or at least learn to differentiate between genres of writings. Blogs like Torontoist are supposed to be biased; they have points of view. They are not traditional newspapers. Duh? And this one is pretty tame. It’s also correct: holy rollers is the correct term to describe these hateful loons. Just as “racist crank” is an accurate description of someone who would write what Mike quoted above and who would complain about use of the word “mouthpiece.”

  • http://undefined kstop

    The fact that he didn’t call them out for being the bigoted assholes they are means the article was if anything biased in their favour.
    And technically, being Brethren, they could do the whole speaking in tongues/holy rolling thing. So if it is a mistake, it’s an honest one, at least unless/until he finds out which particular branch of the cult is involved.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Yawn

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    First, I am not your honey. Second, where is the misplaced modifier? Third, look up the word ‘genre’. A blog is not a genre, but rather a forum for genre writing.
    Thanks for the church history writing. A fag was also a burning buddle of sticks–what’s your point?

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    The Torontoist tries to be an objective, informative news-site, or is it just an editorial? I don’t claim to be the former, but you are certainly not a journalist.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Yawn. The word Nigger comes from the Latin for black–so what? Who cares about a word’s etymology. It’s a stupid argument.

  • http://undefined Ted

    Oh, lambchop. Get a grammar book. And some logic lessons.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Biased in their favour? What a joke.

  • http://undefined Ted

    You’re the one who’s been whining about word choice. You started the stupid argument by being, well, stupid.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    It wasn’t an argument I started. They were facts pointing out bias.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Show me the grammar mistake.

  • http://undefined Ted

    Oh, sweet-cheeks, your comments are an argument — a pitiful, badly constructed one, but an argument nonetheless.

  • http://undefined Ted

    Oh, sweet-cheeks, your comments are an argument — a pitiful, badly constructed one, but an argument nonetheless.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    To disagree is not to argue. Also, instead of actually pointing out the incorrectness of my assertions of bias, you instead just make statements. Statements are not arguments, so no matter how many times you attack me, I still wait for an intelligent rebuke.
    I am also not sweetcheeck. That isn’t even funny. Try to be original, unless you are that closeted hack Nathan Whitlock.

  • http://undefined Mike

    Did you really just bawww about the lack of “intelligent rebukes”, then try and discredit someone totally unrelated to the conversation by questioning their sexuality?
    Gosh, you ARE a class act.

  • http://undefined mark.

    You-know-who is a racist crank: http://muckefuck.ca/
    In no uncertain terms, he “hates immigrants.”

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Learn how to read. I never questioned anyone’s sexuality. Show me where I did, or shut up.

  • http://muckefuck.ca/ ProfessorMuckefuck

    Yes, muckefuck might be racist, but I am not. Is that too hard for you to grasp?

  • http://undefined Margaret

    I’ve always loved Toronto for this; the city has a streak that is millitantly accepting. You can be you, so long as you let others be themselves. I wish it would happen more, but it’s always heartening to get a good example.

  • http://undefined k386

    Mmm. Trolling. I love me some good trolling.

  • http://undefined davidcreed

    I’d be really pissed if some group of holier than the rest of us came down my street and identified me or my neighbours as sinners.

  • http://undefined davidcreed

    I don’t think I’d like to be singled out as a sinner by some holier than thou group. Bravo to the neighbours.

  • http://undefined Paolo

    This guy muckefuck used to troll my blog and was writing contradictory things to bash a movie I liked. This guy is a troll, let’s clean this shit up like Molly Maid.
    In other news, the Highfield Road Gospel Hall just shook hands with Rob Ford. And I’m gonna do some third base gay sinning in Leslieville. Any takers?

  • http://undefined Paolo

    I also found this nugget-shaped turd he calls argumentative writing.
    “However, the problem is with Canada’s immigration law. It is mindblowing that all foreigners have the same rights as Canadians do; the Charter of Rights applies equally to both Canadians and foreigners.”
    THEY CAN’T. VOTE.
    This guy is making me regret that I didn’t buy cigarettes today.

  • http://undefined PJV

    These people must be Rob Ford voters.

  • http://undefined metabaron

    when i was a student in a different country i used to get the hare krishna types knocking on my dorm room once in a while. i am off 2 opinions on this one: i don’t like someone preaching me something i don’t believe in, on the other hand this is a free country and i am not sure if the citizens can decide who can and who cannot walk the streets. they could sue for harasment or forbid them to enter their property, but not walk on the streets in their neighbourhood. i am also not sure why this is such a big deal for residents as I said I used to get those various sects all the time in the university: you can select not to open doors to strangers or you can also close the doors as they start preaching. it is like getting a telemarketing call – i try to be nice, but if they continue to talk i just put the phone down in approx 10 seconds. and these days i don’t even pick up the phone if the number is not in my address book.

  • http://undefined Johan

    “that closeted hack” ring any bells for you?

  • http://undefined Johan

    Clearly it’s no harder for him to grasp the fact that you’re racist than it is for you to claim otherwise.
    The only grasp that’s too hard for anyone here is your grasp on reality, sweetcheeks.

  • http://undefined mark.

    Well, if you click his name, that’s the website he claims as his (hers? but I doubt it). Perhaps it was some lame-ass lulz art performance piece? Something for this?: http://rhizome.org/announce/view/55812

  • http://undefined Heather

    The difference is one group is recruiting to their religion, the other is targeting people based on their sexual orientation in a way that could very easily be construed as hate. I’ve dealt with my fair share of Jehovah’s Witnesses and while they are annoying, they were always polite and respectful. This is something clearly quite different.

  • http://undefined rek

    It’s been so long since we had a troll.

  • http://undefined spacejack

    That’s creepy. How do they know which houses to target?

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    Seven years of knocking on doors would give them a good idea of who lived on the street, I would assume.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    The neighbours should use this tactic next time.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwyZ0ji1GRU

  • http://undefined Colin

    Well hey, at least we can all take solace in the fact that muckefuck (by his own admission) has no more than 30 years left to spread his ignorance.

  • http://undefined JustSayin’

    Yeah, as Heather said, there is a world of difference between a group simply proselytizing door to door and a campaign of targeted harassment, which is the case here. This is dangerously close to terrorism, as their intention is no doubt to “strike the fear of God” into the hearts of these sinners.
    If a group were to show up at their church protesting in a similar fashion (say, a group of Muslims), I would venture to guess that these hatemongers would be up in arms over it. So much more so should private citizens feel threatened.

  • http://undefined holly

    Have your read the Torontoist before?
    It doesn’t exactly claim to be a source objective journalism.

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    militantly accepting

    Well put. I’m going to use that all over the place, with or without your permission.

  • http://undefined ishmael

    I LOVE this story!! Nothing like good neighbors coming together to make you feel all warm inside! I dream of having neighbors like this.

  • http://undefined gh

    Everyone assumes that this group was protesting something, yelling at gay people or targeting a particular home. Although some groups may enjoy saying provocative things, these people do not:
    See their responses here http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Toronto_Baptists_pray_outside_gay_couples_house_Church_insists_its_a_misunderstanding-9083.aspx
    See what they believe here http://www.gospelhall.org

  • http://undefined HHHMMMMMM!

    gh appears to be correct.
    It is obvious that Torontoist really doesn’t care about Toronto or the people in it. Torontoist is only creating controversy and animosity among it’s diverse cultures and people. Torontoist slams the Gospel Hall and the people there without knowing anything about them. Did you all notice the little icon below Marc Lostracco’s name which says “queer”. Click on it. It is obvious what he is really calling the gay community in that little icon. It is to bad when journalist exploit without really knowing the truth. Was the whole incident including the speaking by different individuals from the gospel hall recorded before and after? Just think of all the tricks Hollywood uses for your enjoyment. Remember when tempers flare and voices raise the truth is lost in the echoing chamber of whispering gossip!

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco
  • http://bit.ly/accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Wait, I thought the Orange Order street demonstrations died down after Nathan Phillips was elected as Toronto’s first non-Protestant mayor. Did I miss the memo?

  • http://undefined namedoesntmatter

    This would not be in the news if it was a group of gays protesting/preaching their rights to a group who did not share their veiwpoint.
    Maybe some of you in here should actually read the facts of this story. If they have been preaching on that street for over seven years, odds are several times they might end up in in front of the gays house. Seriously… If they preached in front of that specific house for a month straight, then there might be some substance for a hate crime.
    Right now, as I see it, its a bunch of crying from some people who want media attention and a check. Gays aren’t the only people in this country who have the freedom to believe in something.

  • http://bit.ly/accozzaglia accozzaglia

    While it is true that gays and lesbians have protested many times for their civil rights, the difference here is that gays and lesbians are not proselytizing and preaching a gospel of conversion right in front of someone’s specific private residential property. The very act of being proselytized is for many people odious and boorish behaviour bordering upon harassment. For others it is regarded as an act of violence upon one’s conscience — sort of an Inquisition-lite.
    Besides, gay conversion is impossible. And freedom to believe does not transfer to the freedom to single out private citizens at their own property and to bully-pulpit them before their neighbours — not, that is, without the neighbours mobilizing an impromptu circle of protection for their singled-out neighbour.
    Love thy neighbour and all that.

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    For many socio-conservative and religious groups (redundant?), two men living quietly and happily together = shoving it down their throats. Hence the irony.

  • http://bit.ly/accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Having gay couples in their home might — *feigned gasp* — lower neighbourhood property values. Can’t have them queers in the neighbourhood.
    Oh, wait.

  • http://undefined namedoesntmatter

    “And freedom to believe does not transfer to the freedom to single out private citizens at their own property and to bully-pulpit them before their neighbours — not, that is, without the neighbours mobilizing an impromptu circle of protection for their singled-out neighbour.” – accozzaglia
    Again, you misconstrue the facts. How can you state that they singled this gay couple out when they didn’t? Do you have proof that they did? (Proof in my mind would constitute of hard, clear evidence that these Christians specifically targeted and “attacked” this gay couple.)
    This group was simply sharing what they believe in a public place ( Yes, Toronto streets are public. They did not walk into the couples house, yard, etc.) and someone took offense to it.
    You say that the Christians’ behaviour was an “act of violence upon their conscience”. Was the message they were sharing “anti-gay”? No. Were they suggesting that since they were gay they needed to listen? No.
    The reason for the Christians being on that street was totally un-related to the issue of persons being gay or not. They were simply preaching what they believe. Which is that everyone is born a sinner (including themselves – they do not pretend to be better then anyone else) and that a remedy is needed for sin.
    If citizens of Leslieville don’t want to listen/believe that, then that is their choice. If they want to file a noise complaint with police/by-law dept. , then that is an option.
    All I am saying is, don’t make this a huge “poor gays” story when it has absolutely NOTHING to do with that issue.

  • http://bit.ly/accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Okay, judge. Since you were there and were the objective arbiter of transpiring events, I’ll pretend to ingratiate myself and defer to you.

    This group was simply sharing what they believe in a public place ( Yes, Toronto streets are public. They did not walk into the couples house, yard, etc.) and someone took offense to it.

    You must be American. Also, that’s sounds just like the words of hooligans tearing up shit during G20 weekend: they were only doing it on public spaces (of streets, easements, and sidewalks). Don’t insult our intelligence. As humans, we can somehow make out an unwelcome act of hostility from one of harmless, good-natured expression. It must be in our hard-wired brains.

    This group was simply sharing what they believe in a public place ( Yes, Toronto streets are public.

    It you want to go there, let’s dance. Toronto streets are public, yes, but public rights-of-way. These require a city permit to demonstrate on that right-of-way in exchange for the use of that street for unobstructed transportation. If they want to apply for a permit, then they can. If they get the permit and then single out residences with their grievances, then they can anticipate there could be counter-demonstrators. That’s the spirit of sharing.

    You say that the Christians’ behaviour was an “act of violence upon their conscience”.

    No, you said that. I never brought up their specific faith. I did liken it to a lite version of a historic ritual involving harassment, yes. But you lovingly drew a picture I didn’t help with.

    They were simply preaching what they believe. Which is that everyone is born a sinner (including themselves – they do not pretend to be better then anyone else) and that a remedy is needed for sin.

    To them, yes, and possibly to you, too. To many others that night — and to many other people reading this discussion — it was aggressive, boorish, and uncivil. The first act of a good citizen is to practice civility. Preaching outside a house of prayer in public rights-of-way or other public spacing is not an act of civility — certainly not at dusk with no forewarning. It is an act of spiritual superiority. Seeking consensus from neighbours before engaging in a peaceful demonstration — which is what this wasn’t — is an act of civility.
    Preaching and calling people “born sinners” is not peaceful. In your world, it might be, and that’s awesome. So keep it to yourself, or wait until you’re invited to preach before so doing.
    I’m cutting off your troll meal ticket. Have a better one.

  • http://www.quink.ca chazm

    I wish those Dundas and Greenwood residents were my neighbours, especially after Harper enacts his next step in the Christian Nationalist agenda, door-to-door evangelism in every Canadian neighbourhood. There’s nothing like opening the door to a warning of “the end is nigh!” (For the secular, the less loony equivalent is “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!“)
    Sigh!

  • http://www.quink.ca chazm

    Thanks, gh, for the link to the Gospel Hall dot Org. They (you, gh?) follow the King James Version of the Bible, just another variation on a value and belief system based on oft-repeated fairy tales. It’s a profoundly anti-science worldview which barely disguises the approval of slavery found in older versions of the Bible, which contains the passages (Leviticus, Deuteronomy) to label homosexuals as sinners, and which considers women marginally more worthy than livestock. Sorry, gh. Smug goobledygook is still smug goobledygook, no matter how bound it is with one’s history or culture and no matter how mighty you are in number.

  • Trisha

    So Geoffrey Skelding, are you a sinner?

  • Stephanie

    This happened to myself and my wife of over 17 years together…. “at least” 2-3 times. On Woodfield rd. and on coxwell ave. I was shocked when it happened again ,after we moved to a different loction. It was hillarious almost,…… as we had been telling our neighbors of the religious stocking, condeming christians that had sang and preached to us…..in what seemed like everywhere we go…………………..But then!……………..when it actually happened again… for them to witness, (on woodfield) they were shocked too, as for them it was just a hillarious and unbelievable story. They indeed were mad for us. Me I was irritated. My assumption is there is some crazy christian scoping…I mean stalking peoples houses to see what lifestyles are present and then….off with thier mission they go…..Those people are NOT “christ like.”