LGBTQ supporters rally outside Regina church over sermon

·2 min read

Preaching love and inclusion, supporters of the LGBTQ community rallied outside a Regina church Sunday morning, hoping to counter what they say is a message of hate preached by the church’s pastor in a recently published sermon.

Amid electronic dance music, drag performances and a chilly wind, approximately 130 people gathered across the street of Regina Victory Church to be part of the rally. They heard speeches from Regina-based NDP MLA Meara Conway, Ward 8 councillor Shanon Zachidniak and a former Baptist Church member, Andie Bourque.

The speakers all condemned pastor Terry Murphy’s March 7 sermon, live-streamed and posted to YouTube that day.

In the sermon portion of the hour-long service, Murphy contends being gay or lesbian or transgender is a choice. He says transgender youth choose to be male or female because such choices are, in his opinion, too normalized and acceptable.

He says those normalized choices are the result of relaxed sexual standards and practices, starting in the 1960s. He references "tramps" and pedophilia in his sermon.

On Saturday evening, Murphy posted a video-recorded apology to Facebook about the sermon.

“I’m very sorry for all the stress this has caused to the LGBTQ community. This was never my intention. The message was never intended to condemn the LGTBQ community, nor was there any intention to conflate your community with pedophilia,” he said.

Murphy says his sermon “was intended for the audience of the church. The Internet is the main method we have to reach our congregation during this time.”

He hopes parents at the church raise their kids via “standard, time-honoured biblical teaching.” He doesn’t specify what that means in the video, or which books of the Bible he’s referencing.

Bourque, one of the rally’s speakers and a former Baptist Church member who grew up in the United States, recalled often hearing church leaders say homosexual acts "are sinful and evil."

Now a Queer person who uses they/them pronouns, Bourque is married to a transgender woman. In their speech, Bourque said it took them almost 30 years to openly live as Queer.

As a teen, “I spent a lot of years thinking I wasn’t praying hard enough or redoubling my efforts … I was hyper-involved in the church, just trying to overcome that sense of shame of who I was,” Bourque said. “In the end it doesn’t do it.”

Now a treasurer with Queen City Pride, Bourque hopes Christian LGBTQ youth know they “don’t have to feel shame, they don’t have to feel upset about how they feel. God loves them just the way they are.

“I’ve kept my faith, I’m still a Christian.”

Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post