When Nanaimo city council voted 8 to 1 to cancel a Christian conference booked in a city facility, they had no idea of the uproar their anti Christian stance would cause.
Nanaimo, population 80,000, is located on Canada’s west coast in the province of British Columbia.
On May 5, 2014, the city council voted to cancel a contract for an organization scheduled to hold a leadership conference in the city-owned Vancouver Island Convention Center on May 9. The conference, Leadercast, was billed as a Christian conference. It was being held in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast from there to hundreds of locations around the world.
One of the reasons for the cancellation is a sponsor of the event, Chick-Fil-A, has not endorsed gay marriage. The company does not discriminate against homosexuals in its employ, it dares to support traditional marriage.
The facility was cancelled four days before the event. The organizers were given no advance notice of the decision, nor were they even given any opportunity to speak to the decision in their defense. The conference which featured such speakers as Desmond Tutu and Laura Bush was not even addressing same-sex issues.
Someone who was opposed to the conference and particularly one of its sponsors contacted a Nanaimo councilor about the event. Without even contacting the event hosts to get their side of the story, city councilors voted to cancel their contract.
A number of local businesses who were supporting the Nanaimo event are now out-of-pocket because of the cancellation. This includes the Nanaimo Daily News and a credit union. Even the local Chamber of Commerce was affected and sent a letter opposing the decision to cancel.
Many media took exception to the council’s decision. Ezra Levant with Sun News said:
“Councillors took turns defaming the convention, Chick-Fil-A, one of its speakers, its organizers and those in it — all without the burden of facts. They falsely accused one conference speaker of being anti-gay — even though city staff reminded councilors that the conference wasn’t about homosexuality at all.”
In a column in the Calgary Sun on the issue, Ezra wrote:
“And the council voted to have a permanent injunction against ‘any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or expressions of hate.’
Just in case, there are any doubts about who they were talking about, Councillor Jim Kipp made it crystal clear: He compared this “strong Christian belief” against same-sex marriage to “organized crime” and then referred to terrorists.”
In response, a website TheRealBigots.com has been set up where people can sign a petition to oppose the city’s ban. Money is also being raised for a possible lawsuit against the city.
Nanaimo has since apologized, but some suggest it was in fact a further insult as they blame people for perceiving the council’s anti christian bigotry as being anti Christian bigotry. Watch the video and see the councilor’s comments and decide for yourself.
Here is their apology:
“Nanaimo’s City Council regrets that its action in passing the May 5 resolution has been perceived as being directed at or discriminating against Christians or any other religious groups. This was not the intent of the resolution and in no way reflects the beliefs and values of the City or its Council.”
One of the councilors even explained the cancellation because the council itself is so “open-minded.” That is code word for tolerant.
Here is Bing Dictionary’s definition of tolerance:
- acceptance of different views: the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views.
- Citing Chick-Fil-A’s ‘Homophobic’ beliefs, Town Cancels Leadership Event: Charisma News
- Nanaimo blasted for pulling plug on U.S. leadership telecast after sponsor linked to anit-gay marriage activism: National Post
- Nanaimo’s self inflicted disaster: Calgary Sun