To receive daily emails from Breaking Christian News to your inbox CLICK HERE

SHARE THIS ARTICLE Printer friendly version of this page

Victory! Christian Festival Wins Fight to Sing Name of 'Jesus' in Toronto Square

Lianne Laurence : Feb 5, 2016

"I believe it's a victory for all Christians."

(Toronto)—Voices of the Nations has won the right to hold its annual music festival in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square, after a dispute blew up last October when the square's management refused the Christian organization a permit on the grounds it had previously proselytized in contravention of a city bylaw. (Photo via LifeSiteNews)

"I believe it's a victory for all Christians," Voices of the Nations' director Peter Ruparelia told LifeSiteNews, likening the fight to a "David and Goliath" struggle.

"We can now say the name of 'Jesus 'in the public square," added his wife Beena.

Credit for the victory goes to lawyer Marty Moore of the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, Ruparelia said.

That the Yonge-Dundas Square management board reversed its decision "is good news for freedom of expression for all groups," Moore told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

It's a particular triumph for the members of VOTN, who have defended their "freedom to express their religious beliefs."

JCCF took up the case in late October, issuing a "letter of intent" to sue the City of Toronto and the Yonge-Dundas Square management board for violating VOTN's charter rights of freedom of religion and expression.

But in December the YDS board agreed to negotiate with VOTN. Since then, Moore and City of Toronto lawyer Ian Duke have hammered out a "document of understanding," specific to VOTN and its Christian music event.

VOTN agreed to the final document on January 29, Ruparelia told LifeSiteNews, adding: "Marty did a great job."

According to the lengthy and detailed agreement of understanding, performers at the one-day Christian music and dance festival can "sing any song" they want, and "even pray from the stage" said VOTN's event coordinator Leye Oyelami. (Photo via

Scripture reading and testimony is likewise permitted—as long as these acts of public praise and worship occur "in the context of the performance," he added.

VOTN can also have a prayer tent, and distribute promotional materials—but these need to first be vetted by the YDS management, Oyelami told LifeSiteNews.

The YDS management board ratified the agreement on Thursday, and voted in favour of issuing VOTN a permit by the end of February, for the August 6 event.

It was admittedly a rather anti-climactic end to a widely publicized dispute that stirred outrage well beyond Toronto.

The YDS events manager denied VOTN a permit in October, stating that its festival performers in previous years had praised Jesus and Jehovah, and that amounted to proselytizing,

"If you're praising Jesus, 'praise the Lord,' and 'there's no God like Jehovah,' that type of thing, that's proselytizing," Natalie Belman told Oyelami at the time. "That is a big problem... That [kind of thing], from the stage, is not acceptable."

News of that decision and perceived discrimination against Christians galvanized the Christian community to protest.

Over 30,000 people signed a LifeSiteNews petition, and 10,000 petition asking the city to reverse the ruling, petitions which a VOTN delegation delivered to...

Continue reading here.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE Printer friendly version of this page

To receive daily emails from Breaking Christian News to your inbox CLICK HERE

Other Recent Articles from Breaking Christian News

'The End of Girls' and Women's Sports as We Know Them': Divisive Biden Executive Order Pushes Trans Agenda

Biden Hires Man Who Identifies As Woman to Manage America's Health

Republican Files Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden on His Second Day in Office

National Guard Troops, Who Were Ordered to Take Their Down Time In the Capitol-area Parking Garage, Now Restored to Capitol Following Outrage by Lawmakers

Child Sex-Trafficking Victim SUES Twitter in Federal Court, Says the Site Facilitated His Abuse

First-in-human Implantation of a New Synthetic Cornea a Success, Restoring the Vision of a 78-year-old Grandfather: 'It's My Treasure to Be Able to See'

Christian Astronaut Says Sunrise, Sunset from Outer Space Remind Him of Psalm 30

Israeli Archaeologists Find 'Christ, Born of Mary' Inscribed in Ancient Valley

Biden Admin Eases Israeli Concerns over Its Mideast Policies

Biden's Cabinet Picks: A Helpful List So We Can Intercede for Our Country

Biden Ends Trump's Terror-Travel Ban, Kills Keystone XL Pipeline, and Issues Federal Mask Mandate

[WATCH] Trump Gets Warm Florida Greeting from Supporters after Arriving from DC: 'We Just Wanted to Show Him How Much We Appreciate Him'

PRAY: Antifa in Seattle and Portland Smash Property, Oppose Biden, Police: 'We Are Ungovernable'

Fed Court Strikes Down Obama's 'Transgender Mandate' that Forced Some Doctors to Violate Their Faith

On the 48th Anniversary of Roe, the Supreme Court Will Decide Whether to Hear a Case to Overturn It

Franklin Graham: Why Praying over Politics Makes a Difference

President Trump Calls for Prayer for Incoming Administration, Wishing Them Well: WATCH His Departure Ceremony before Leaving for Florida

President Donald Trump's Farewell Address to the Nation: 'I Want You to Know That the Movement We Started is Only Just Beginning'

Biden and Harris Officially Sworn-in as New President and Vice President

'Where Do We Go from Here?': Dr. James Dobson's Open Letter to Friends, Supporters and Despondent Christians

Search the Articles Archives

Words Posted On:  
Day Month Year

BCN Plus

An BCN Paid Advertisement
An BCN Paid Advertisement
Follow BCN on Twitter
Are You Praying for Our Government Leaders?
BCN Staff

Steve Shultz
Steve Shultz, Managing Editor
Founder and Owner

Aimee Herd
Aimee Herd, Editor

BCN Plus
Are You Praying for President Trump?
BCN Contact Info

All articles on this site and emails from BCN are copyrighted property of Breaking Christian News. Permission is given to link to, or share a BCN story if proper attribution is given to both the original writer and summarizer of the story. Breaking Christian News 2005-2019. All Rights Reserved.

Breaking Christian News is a division of Elijah List Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: Articles and links, as well as the source articles linked to; do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breaking Christian News.