Written by Ashton Deroy: Most times if someone brought this topic to my attention, religion versus gay rights. I would shrug it off & say you can have some of the traditions with religion while simultaneously respecting the rights of others. My grandma is a great example of a woman who reads the bible, says grace before meals & loves her openly gay grandsons. However, since moving to Toronto I’ve began noticing that usually where you see religion here, you do not see the same kind of tolerance that I used to see at home. You can see this in publishing with Eugene Peterson a pastor who had his publication on Bible interpretation removed from a book store, Religious activism in Toronto & all of the discreet gay/bisexual men in the city.
First off Eugene Peterson, the pastor who published his interpretations of the bible and said he would perform a same sex marriage is a classic example of religion not upholding the country’s values for human rights. All he had to do was speak publicly about the fact that he would perform a same-sex marriage to a public forum, then the Christian conservative community was refusing to sell his books & questioning whether they should read his words at all. It is a three year education to become a pastor, after which you appear before a congregation that approves you. Should the fact that the man expresses a socially Liberal opinion in Canada, 2017 really remove his value in his community? The second part to this story is that it is kind of hard to believe you can still take heat in Toronto for being an LGBT ally. What does this interfere with? Well choosing your religion as a public LGBT individual is still a challenge & gaining access to a religious sales channel or business institution is also still a challenge.
Despite the time we live in, & the socially Liberal culture we live in here in Toronto. It still isn’t unusual to see something like this going around!
The last thing is with the dating community of Toronto you still see a lot of in the closet discreet Gay & Bisexual men. When you ask 2/3 of them why they are in the closet what do you get? One person says “most of the time you are going to get from most of them that they are from religious families that condemn same sex relationships.” So rather than cut ties with their family they choose to live discreetly and rather unhappy to avoid losing family ties, financial support or even love in some cases! What does this do? Well this becomes a hurdle to me a gay man looking to have an open, honest same sex relationship, which is one of my rights.
Now it isn’t all bad in the religion versus human rights argument. Toronto has a massive presence with pro-LGBT Jewish people who frequently make public statements of acceptance & love. Many of these people even share stories of LGBT relatives & how their faith adapts to LGBT rights. So while Christianity can sometimes seem a bit too conservative you can see Jewish people are much more left socially.
Yes it does look like in 2017 in Toronto Ontario Canada. Religion does still step on my rights as a gay man & forces many men to hide in the closet. However I think the Jewish Canadians can lead the way in practicing religion with acceptance and forming more open institutions.
Corent, Michael. “The wrong message on same sex marriage: Coren.” Toronto Star, 30 July 2017, www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/30/the-wrong-message-on-same-sex-marriage-coren.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.
Bad things happen once again for a religious pastor who went public backing same sex marriage. This article published July 2017 tells Eugene Peterson story of having his book removed from religious bookstores because he said publicly that when he was a pastor he would perform a same sex marriage.The incident has now had his book The Message removed from right wing religious bookstores & has people asking in the religious Christian community, should we be reading Eugene Peterson books?