Press Statement by Jenn Smith.
It has come to my attention that the “love an inclusion” crowd that supports SOGI 123 is once again planning on being disrespectful and excluding Christians from the right to gather and speak without disturbance. Shortly after I announced that my peaceful, respectful religious gathering was scheduled to be held in front of our legislature on Saturday September 29th at 11:05am, it was announced that the pro-SOGI 123 forces were once again planning on interfering with our gathering as they did last time, apparently involving some of the same people and tactics that promoted chaos at our last event (see below).
I designed this gathering as a mass meeting of religious people to express moral and spiritual concerns regarding the government’s new resource package in schools called “SOGI 123.” This is the second such event I have been involved in, not to mention countless church talks across the province over the last six months. It is with some great sadness that I have learned that LGBTQ activists once again plan on disturbing our peaceful, respectful religious gathering and excluding our right to free speech in front of our legislature. It would seem that an anti-free speech element, thus a dangerous element, in the pro-SOGI 123 camp do not want us to speak, but instead plan to disturb and disrupt us as they did at the last such gathering in Victoria.
The April 23 gathering was rudely interrupted when a swarm of LGBTQ activists rushed into our group just as I planned to talk and began blasting loud music and then dancing and gyrating half-naked on the fountain. Some of these activists were there being paid by the BCTF, which has a vested interested in SOGI 123. The general chaos that ensued prevented us from speaking and expressing our moral concerns.
Expensive signs I had made in anticipation of this silencing tactic were stolen by the pro-SOGI 123 crowd while employees of BCTF stood by watching the crime and laughing.
Some of the LGBTQ activists at the last gathering screamed at me angrily and issued vicious demeaning personal insults regarding my identity and appearance, which of course is not very loving or inclusive. While our side remained calm and respectful it was clear some of the Christians in attendance were greatly upset by the vicious comments. This escalation was worrying and resulted in Laura-Lynn and I being escorted off the property and back to our hotel by body guards.
I have decided it is time to draw some respectful boundaries in the interest of preserving safety, order, and free speech for everybody concerned. As a transgender male that has a powerful faith in God and believes that Jesus is a manifestation of God in this world, I have decided to declare this meeting a religious gathering to discuss and express our moral concerns regarding the SOGI 123 resource package.
In the interest of public safety, I further hereby state that I will discourage any attempt to interfere with or disturb any similar protest or rally that the pro-SOGI 123 crowd may want to have in Victoria at the legislature, and I will instead advise people to stay away completely and allow the pro-SOGI 123 advocates to speak loud and without interference. I do this because I am in favor of free speech. I want them to be able to express their concerns before the seat of government. I am asking for the same basic respect from the pro-SOGI 123 activists. Anybody interested in free speech and order in our society should find this request both fair and simple.
Furthermore, in the interest of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as the organizer of this Christian-based meeting, I would also like to invoke Section 176 of the Canadian Criminal Code which states it is illegal to disturb an assemblage of persons met for “a moral, social or benevolent purpose”:
This meeting is designed for Christians. I am touring Christian churches to gather people to attend this meeting. The meeting will be initiated with a solemn prayer to God. I expect the solemnity of this meeting to be respected as is required under Canadian law. I cannot, of course, prohibit pro-SOGI 123 activists from being on government property, but I can ask that they do not disturb this solemn meeting which has been officially permitted by the Legislature grounds administration.
I am also asking Rob Fleming, the Minister of Education, and Premier John Horgan to request those in charge of security at the legislature insure order and respect for our gathering. I am also sending this notice to the Victoria Police Department in the expectation that they will uphold the law in the interest of promoting order. The law is pretty clear that religious meetings cannot be disturbed. There is no indication of where such a meeting is to be held, and indeed there cannot be such a stipulation because Christians meet in all kinds of different locations and yet still deserve protection of the law.
The pro-SOGI 123 activists have flaunted the law previously, notably at a meeting I spoke at in New Westminster this summer, where a small crowd of LGBTQ activists gathered in front of the steps yelling and screaming like banshees and encouraging passing cars to honk their horns as the priest inside was trying to say a prayer. New Westminster Police officers stood outside watching this violation of the law smiling and doing nothing. Disturbed by the noise I left the church and marched through the crowd of protestors to the police and asked them why they were not enforcing the law. They seemed more stunned that a transgender person was the keynote speaker in a church meeting than whether or not they should be doing their job. Four separate attempts by activists to enter the meeting were prevented by security at the door. This kind of flagrant disrespect for religion would not be tolerated if it was outside a mosque or Jewish synagogue, so why is it allowed outside a Christian Church?
Again, I am requesting the government, the police, and legislature security enforce the law in order to protect free speech and the right of religious people to gather together for moral purposes. I will consider a failure of the government to protect this right to be a deliberate assault on Christianity and an act of discrimination by failing to protect all religions equally.
Furthermore, the right of LGBTQ activists to protest is not the right to intimidate or break criminal laws such as Section 176.
You will note it is the Pro-SOGI 123 crowd — the so-called “love, respect, and inclusion” crowd — who disturb, disrespect, and exclude voices such as mine by trying to silence our events. We NEVER do that to them. It is THEY that want to silence us. It is THEY that want to force their ideas into the minds of other people’s children, not us.
I have a deep faith in God and I believe that Jesus is Divine. Every speaker at this event in addition to myself is a Christian. I am asking our police and government to protect our right to meet for the purpose of discussing and expressing our moral concerns. We are asking that our right to speak without willful disturbance be protected and that authorities do not once again fail to give Christians the same legal protections other religions in this country receive.
September 23, 2018
[Please note: The Canadian Christian Lobby is sponsoring Jenn Smith giving free talks all across Vancouver Island this week and he invites Christians to attend, and further implores all Christians that do not want their kids being taught that boys can be girls or that boys should be allowed into girls’ change-rooms, should gather together and attend the Free BC From SOGI 123 gathering on Saturday the 29th of September. The church talks too, it should be noted, are also designed specifically for Christians and fall under the protection of Section 176 of Canadian Criminal Code.]