Waving signs and carrying a Pride flag, a small group of protesters showed up outside Praxis Church on Valley Road in Kelowna Sunday.
The protest was organized to show that the LGBTQ+ community won’t stand idly by in the face of discrimination.
“We all just wanted to come together and just show them that we are here and we see them and we are valid and this whole community is valid, and nothing that they say and nothing that they can say about the bible is going to change that,” said protest organizer Leesa Resch.
Several people have pointed to information from the church’s website that says it does not condone same-sex marriage or homosexual lifestyles.
"We do not condone same sex marriage or homosexual lifestyles. Additionally, we believe that God has created men and women as two distinct sexual beings. Any discrepancy between ones biological sex and gender identity is due to the effects of sin in the world," the church states in its statement of beliefs.
Pastor Josh Dool posted a couple of videos on the church’s Facebook page in response to the outrage in the LGBTQ+ community.
He doesn’t deny the allegations but argues people can still have a difference in belief and not "hate" others.
“We want to be able to enter into a friendly, civil dialogue with anyone who’s interested,” said Dool in one of his videos.
He goes on to say, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and you’re welcome to post comments, you are, but Kelowna please, this time can we keep things just a little bit more classy.”
Resch calls it frustrating. “That in this day and age, in 2021, we have to be here because somebody is anti-gay and anti-trans. Like, who are we hurting? Yet, they are hurting us."
On the Praxis website, it notes Kelowna was chosen for its new church for its central location and notes Praxis wants to ‘plant’ churches throughout the Okanagan.