UPDATE: City Hall backs down!
Great news -- because of the legal intervention of the Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms, the anti-Christian censors at the Toronto city bureaucracy that runs Yonge & Dundas have backed down!
The 2016 Voices of the Nations concert will proceed! And it's thanks to you, our generous viewers, who helped fund the public interest lawyers at the JCCF.
It's the second battle against anti-Christian censorship in Yonge & Dundas Square, and the second time we've won. Thank you.
Here's my interview with Marty Moore, one of the lawyers who helped win this important battle for freedom of religion, and for the right of Christians to literally be in the public square:
Thank you to all of our loyal viewers who helped pay the legal bills for this fight. I told Marty that we'd try to raise another $2,500 for the JCCF as a sort of "thank you" and "keep up the fight" encouragement.
That's the problem with fighting for freedom -- it's never over. The forces of censorship, and political correctness, and outright anti-Christian bigotry never stop. As soon as one battle is over, the next one begins.
John Carpay, Marty Moore and the rest of the JCCF team is already fighting the next fight. If you want to help them keep going, please click the red "donate" button on the top right of this page!
UPDATE: Censored Christian group heads to hearing with Toronto bureaucrats
Yonge & Dundas Square is like Canada’s version of Times Square in New York, with concerts, buskers, demonstrations and events — everything from Hare Krishna chants to marijuana rallies to a permanent kiosk where Muslim men hand out Korans.
All manner of artists apply to use the space at Yonge & Dundas Square. Including a group called Voices of the Nations, who have held a concert there for five years.
As a Christian organization, musicians who perform as part of the Voices of the Nations event sing songs about Jesus. But this year, when Voices of the Nations applied for another permit, they were turned down. A Toronto bureaucrat banned them from the public square, because their previous events had featured songs that included the words “praise the Lord” and “there’s no God like Jehovah."
According to the bureaucrats, Voices of the Nations weren't allowed to use the square because they were promoting religion, even though there are Muslim preachers using the same space.
So: having a booth specifically for the purpose of converting people to Islam is fine under the city's "no-converting people" policy. But singing a song in a concert that happens to praise Jesus — that’s illegal.
Anyone can sing in that square. Except Christians. Anyone can proselytize in that square — except Christians. And even just singing the words "praise Jesus" is considering proselytizing — and it’s banned.
This isn't the first time Christians have been censored in this same place.
Just last year, a Christian pastor named Rev. David Lynn was charged by police with illegal “busking," for singing Christian songs at Yonge & Dundas Square — not 50 feet from the Muslim Koran kiosk. The Rebel helped recruit a civil liberties lawyer to fight Rev. Lynn’s case, and we won.
Well, the anti-Christian censors are back. They’re not just going after Rev. Lynn — but an entire Christian organization, even though they've held their events there for five years in a row.
Join our fight for freedom. Please scroll to the bottom of the page and SIGN THE PETITION to end anti-Christian censorship and to permit Voices of the Nations to use Yonge & Dundas Square. We’ve got to tell Toronto bureaucrat Natalie Belman that anti-Christian bigotry is no better than anti-Jewish or anti-Black bigotry.
But that's not enough. Voices of the Nations has hired a great civil liberties lawyer — our friend John Carpay, from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. I spoke with John today about his legal strategy:
(Correction: Voice of the Nations is not a choir, but the name of the non-profit organization that puts on this event each year, one that includes music and fine arts.)
We need your help to cover the legal expenses. Please CLICK BELOW TO DONATE. I have personally pledged $100 to help cover John’s legal expenses. So please join me in chipping in to his legal defence fund.
Here is a copy of the letter that was sent by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
You can click here to listen to the entire phone conversation with Natalie Belman.
If we roll over and let the bureaucracy crush this organization, it will confirm in the minds of Toronto politicians and bureaucrats that they can discriminate against Christians with impunity.
But if we win – if we help John fight the good fight, to make arguments about religion freedom and freedom of speech – then we set a different sort of precedent. A precedent for liberty. Literally, a precedent to allow Christians in the town square.
It will be a win for Voices of the Nations. But also for every other Christian in Toronto. And it will be a lesson to Toronto bureaucrats.
And hopefully, that legal precedent would be seen and heard in other Canadian cities, too. That’s how it works – one court ruling at a time.
What do you think? Will you help me, to help John to help Voice of the Nations?
Please SIGN THE PETITION and DONATE RIGHT NOW! Thank you!
Sign the petition!
We demand that Toronto bureaucrat Natalie Belman end her anti-Christian censorship of Voices of the Nations and permit them to perform in Yonge & Dundas Square.