A group of activists has begun town hall meetings across Ontario to inform Christians how they can oppose hate speech Bill C-250 and same-sex marriage.

On June 10, almost 500 Christians from various denominations gathered in Jordan, Ontario for the first meeting organized by Rev.Tristan Emmanuel, Pastor of Living Hope Presbyterian Church. The meeting was called to warn Christians about the dangers of “hate speech” Bill C-250 which is due to be voted on in parliament on or around Sept. 18. Rev. Emmanuel invited local politician, John Maloney to address the crowd on Bill C-250. Maloney declined the invitation offering instead a written statement.

One of the speakers, Rev. Royal Hamel of Guelph, told the crowd that the bill threatens religious liberties and the basic free speech rights of all Canadians since it will give special protection to so called “sexual orientation” in the criminal code of Canada. It will be dangerous for pastors to preach on the biblical truth about homosexuality and in time certain portions of the Bible may well be declared as “hate speech.” Hamel went on to say, “I no longer trust Canada’s judges to protect our rights. They have demonstrated time and again that when it comes to ‘rights’ that homosexual ‘rights’ trump the rights of Christians every time.”

Coincidentally, June 10 was the day the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that to not allow gay-marriage was discriminatory and such marriages must be allowed immediately. Lynn Scmie, a long standing pro-family activist from Hamilton, speaking on same-sex marriage said, ” … same sex marriage is coming down on our culture like a freight train and there is very little impetus in the House of Commons to stop it.”

Rev. Emmanuel gave a rousing challenge for Christians to wake up and get involved in our darkening culture. The appreciative crowd demonstrated their gratitude to Rev. Emmanuel by responding with a sustained standing ovation.

Since that first town hall meeting the group has held meetings in five other Ontario ridings including: Virgil, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, and Ingersoll. Local MPs and MPPs have been invited to speak and respond to questions on every occasion, but rarely choose to come. Average attendance per meeting has been 240 people. The three panelists appear encouraged by the intense interest shown by the Christian community. Rev. Hamel comments, “The meetings are very easy to organize since we advertise among the church community, and usually the venue is given free of charge. In upcoming weeks Town Hall meetings are planned for, Brampton, Orangeville, Hamilton West, Brantford, St. Catharines, and Waterloo.

Are these meetings having any impact? Political influence is hard to gauge, but since the two meetings in the Niagara region it would appear that all four of the MPs there are now supporters of traditional marriage. And in one other riding it was reported that the local Liberal MP received so many phone calls immediately after the town hall meeting that the office staff became annoyed.

The organizers are convinced that the issue of same sex marriage and the attack on free speech represented by Bill C-250 are very much “hot button” issues among Christians. Lynn Scmie is convinced, “We need to use whatever issues we can to wake up the pro-life, pro-family crowd.”