Rev. Michelle Slater of the Oak Bay United Church. (News files)

Rev. Michelle Slater of the Oak Bay United Church. (News files)

Victoria pastor goes public in support of SOGI

Leader of Oak Bay United Church says Christianity shouldn’t be dominant culture

An Oak Bay pastor is one of hundreds of Christian leaders coming out in favour of SOGI, signing a petition and delivering it to education minister Rob Fleming.

Rev. Michelle Slater, a pastor and parent of a 9-year-old son, felt compelled to speak publicly on the issue, because the church has “so much to repent for” particularly in the ways it has contributed to the “discrimination and marginalization of LGBTQ people.”

RELATED: SOGI protesters clash at B.C. legislature

“It’s time to raise our voices and say that this is not the only Christian interpretation and we refuse to let this, or any group claim the name Christian,” she said referring to the West Coast Christian Accord, a group of Christian leaders who have banded together in protest of SOGI.

All 60 school districts in B.C. have adopted SOGI – sexual orientation, gender identity – a free online resource tool available to teachers province-wide who can choose to use it to inform every day learning in classrooms.

It is not a mandatory curriculum, and it is not sexual education.

Those opposed to SOGI, Slater said, believe implementing these tools will be of harm: “But they’re profoundly mistaken and not paying attention to actual evidence.”

RELATED: Nearly 200 B.C. pastors launch anti-SOGI campaign

Some 200 anti-SOGI religious leaders also sent a petition to Minister Fleming asking the province to pull SOGI from schools, saying it “contradicts the Christian truths, disrespects Charter values, and is harmful to school children, their parents, school teachers, and society as a whole.”

For Slater, the frustrating part is watching as the term Christianity is co-opted, designing different values and principles based on different interpretations of the same bible.

Part of this is a pushback against the loss of Christianity as the dominant culture, she said.

“When we’ve been dominant, we’ve done tremendously harmful things,” she said, pointing to the residential school system and persecution of LGBTQ people.

Members of the Oak Bay United Church congregation are transgender, or are the parents of transgender kids, Slater said, and many participated in a SOGI rally at the B.C. legislature Sept. 29.

In her son’s Montessori school, Slater said nothing much has changed now that SOGI has been adopted, except that students learn in an open and inclusive environment that respects them, and their families.

“I can’t understand an argument against treating people with basic respect,” she said, adding that includes honouring someone’s gender identity and pronouns.

“Our schools should not only be places of safety, but places where we learn together how to honour the differences and gifts of each person,” she said.

Black Press Media reached out to multiple members of the West Coast Christian Accord and did not receive a response before deadline.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read