Politicians at every level should denounce taxpayer-subsidized organizations fighting human rights.
September 12th, Westwood Community Church in Coquitlam permitted Culture Guard, a group that seeks to remove LGBTQ2+ rights, to host an event on their premises. While folks may or may not agree with providing churches tax exemption status, surely we can agree that this taxpayer-subsidized benefit should not be used to promote groups that seek to strip rights from Canadians.
Unfortunately, the church’s senior pastor, Giulio Gabeli, has done just that, by allowing a platform for Culture Guard to promote ideas that inclusive education, hate speech laws and bodily autonomy are bad. Looking further into Pastor Gabeli’s past, it becomes evident that he isn’t just providing a platform for others to promote these views, he holds these views himself. Earlier this year, he spoke out against SOGI 123, alongside the infamous Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, and last year he was one of nearly 200 pastors in BC who signed the West Coast Christian Accord, which denounces homosexuality and transgender identity. He is also involved in various other anti-LGBTQ2+ initiatives. As a queer person living in Coquitlam, I find it incredibly concerning that Pastor Gabeli is using his position of influence in the community to target marginalized people.
We’re in the middle of a federal election campaign, and Westwood Community Church is organizing an all-candidates meeting. I hope all candidates that have been invited will denounce the views of Pastor Gabeli, I hope they’ll condemn the Culture Guard event, and I hope they will decline the invitation to participate in this all-candidates meeting. There is no place for bigotry and discrimination in Coquitlam.