Toronto Says No To Christian Music in Yonge-Dundas Square
TORONTO, ON – Freedom of religion? Sure, so long as that religion isn’t being preached at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.
LifeSiteNews is reporting that the City of Toronto is refusing to grant Christian group Voice of the Nations (VON) a permit to use the space for its annual musical festival in 2016.
Toronto has decided that such an event, which features songs belting out the name of Jesus repeatedly, breaches the city policy against “proselytizing”.
The city had no issue with the group’s event since they began hosting it starting in 2006. The event features music and dancing. Yonge-Dundas Square has hosted this event since 2010 without issue.
The square’s Manger of Events Natalie Belman told VON that “If you’re praising Jesus, ‘praise the Lord,’ and ‘there’s no God like Jehovah,’ that type of thing, that’s proselytizing. That [kind of thing], from the stage, is not acceptable.”
“That seems to be a large part of your programming, it seems to be an integral part of what your mandate is, and given that, I think that you guys should be looking for a different venue, because that is not in-line with our policies,” Belman added.
VON points out that the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on “creed”.
Yonge-Dundas Square is run by a volunteer board of management, and $400,000 from the taxpayers forms a large part of the board’s $2.3 million annual budget.