The pastor appears as a modern grandfather, his Sunday best a suit jacket over blue jeans, and his backdrop large projection screens boldly announcing his sermon, “Raising Godly Children.” He paces on his platform, reading notes from a hand-held tablet and warning that some would be uncomfortable with what he is about to say.
The Regina Victory Church appears to have moved into the current century with modern trappings; however, this disguises their blatant condemnation of the LGBTQ community. In his recent Sunday sermon, Pastor Terry Murphy went on a rant against normalizing homosexuality, which he claims is a behaviour that is an attack on the family.
After public outcry, including from other faith communities, Murphy says that his words were taken out of context, claiming you have to listen to the whole sermon to understand. I did listen to the entire sermon, and it made me sick. He linked homosexuality to sin, quoting the Bible “all are born with sin in your heart,” repeatedly referring to homosexuality as a choice or decision to make his point.
The context created in the sermon included “You can choose whether to be a tramp or whether to walk in purity” and continued by linking homosexuality to pedophilia “If you promote a choice, any choice is acceptable, people will begin to make it more. If you promote pedophilia and make it normal, people will start, the inhibitions will come down, and people will, well everybody says it’s okay, well it’s not okay.”
Murphy referenced the group ‘Focus on the Family’ and promoted their book Parents Rising as inspiration for his sermon, a group whose website recommends Christian counselling for homosexuality and says parents should kick their gay son out of the house if he talks about his homosexuality with his siblings.
The pastor referenced high rates of suicide among people who are transgender and called ‘transgenderism’ abhorrent. He stated, “Transgenderism, this isn’t something you were born with or born without, this is a choice,” words that stab at the heart of anyone struggling for acceptance. What is abhorrent is he fails to see the link between teaching people to hate who they are and suicide.
The sermon wraps up with, “We have no animosity towards LGBTQ… anymore than we have towards someone sleeping with someone outside of marriage or committing adultery… we need to share the truth in love.” The perfect way to sandwich hate. Start with a prayer, contort the Bible to fit your agenda while linking LGBTQ to sin, and bookend it with Godly love.
Churches such as this no longer crusade with shields and spears to convert the sinners. They employ a psychological war of guilt and God to condemn and spread their ideology, thoughtless of the pain, suffering, and casualties in their wake.
This isn’t an isolated case. The Christian hate groups such as ‘Focus on the Family’ are among many who are also behind a rash of anti-trans bills in the U.S. and fighting the conversion therapy ban in Canada. My guess is they’re likely behind this sermon and many others. They can see the tides turning, and they’re desperate.
Wilbur Turner, pronouns he/him, is a Kelowna-based writer and long-time advocate of the LGBTQ community. He is a former president of Kelowna Pride and Fierté Canada Pride and was instrumental in founding Etcetera, Kelowna’s peer support group for rainbow youth.