Dear Mr. Mayor – do the right thing

Eyes asks Mayor John Tory why it’s okay for events like Carnival to use Yonge-Dundas Square but not a youth religious organization.
Eyes asks Mayor John Tory why it’s okay for events like Carnival to use Yonge-Dundas Square but not a youth religious organization.

Dearly Beloved Mayor John Tory:
You may recall I told you “I respect you,” after you ran and lost that election. You replied you respected me, too. One Love inna Toronto yard.
And you may recall my coverage of your subsequent campaign (aside: one of my stories was so full of ‘kissy-kissy’ that the then editor killed it). The rascality! My sin? I was playing nice with you and sang from your hymn book – all is bright and beautiful.
And I had your back when it came to carding / racial profiling. Indeed, The Eyes Guy took issue with my own community and the Toronto Star’s iconic columnist Royson James whose column was headlined Mayor foolish to ignore leaders on carding … Tory’s baffling doublespeak. I told my community to go look after Black-on-Black violence.
So pray tell, Mr. Mayor, yuh think your newly minted youth adviser from our community Gwyn Chapman can enter our churches and address our beloved young people when you have prevented them from doing a public song and dance with Christian youth doing business like selling T-shirts with scripture on them?
Contrast that with Carnival with women in little more than underwear at Yonge-Dundas Square and on the parade route. Lord, have mercy. Say wah, Mr. Mayor?
Christian group Voices of the Nations (VON) says they’ve been banned from Yonge-Dundas Square. Mr. Mayor, I bring before you a pressing matter in our community and I seek your gracious understanding and wisdom in a win-win (given your business acumen while at Rogers).
Sir, is it possible to find it in your heart to graciously avail Yonge-Dundas Square to those with a relationship, like myself, followers of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to worship and have fellowship just for one day in the whole year?
Please consider: What matters is the disposition of our hearts as we approach the public square, Greg Ayers, senior editor with the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, posited on Do Christians Need a Theology of Public Life?
Ayers quoted associate professor of theology Dr. Vincent Bacote’s seminal work, The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life, about how Christian public engagement should look different from worldly public engagement, especially when it comes to our motives for getting involved in public life.
Bacote wrote, “The great temptation many of us face today is to leave the mess of the public square and find another way to be faithful, a way that may be less costly through maybe less spiritually valuable. To yield to such temptation is to develop amnesia about our first commandment and commission.
“God gave humans a Great Commission and never rescinded it.”
This brings us to the reason for public discipleship. Bacote said, “Common grace is a doctrine that gives us a vision for seeing one vital part of Christian faithfulness. While it is vitally important to proclaim the gospel, it is also tremendously important for Christians to see that it has always been our responsibility to care for the world, cultivating the flourishing of life through our activity in culture, politics, education, medicine, business, and every public arena.”
Bacote said that “while there are many reasons to grieve the ills we see all around the world, and days when the refrain ‘Come, quickly, Lord Jesus’ seems to be the only appropriate response, our responsibility for the life of the creation does ultimately allow us to say ‘This world is not my home; I’m just passing through’.”
He added that while understanding that many people make such statements to express their allegiance to God and their detachment from the materialistic cultural and political idolatries that surround us, “I fear that such thoughts become a spiritual escape clause that gives permission to abdicate our role in creation.”
Thanks and One Love,
The Eyes Guy (Trusting you will do the right thing.)