Hate would not be too strong a word to describe the attitude of the people toward our evangelism team as we covertly attended the 39th Annual West Hollywood Pride Parade. They hated our values, they hated our God… though they did like Jesus: Jesus Smith. Yes, they loved another Jesus—not our Jesus—a Jesus who was tolerant, a Jesus who was non-judgmental, not concerned about sin, a Jesus who was accepting of homosexuality—in other words, a Jesus who never existed. (Read part 1 by clicking here.)
In the gay community tolerance is the religion, widely preached, not practiced. No one in West Hollywood who subscribed to the gay agenda was tolerant of born again believers. We were the ones, of course, who, along with the Mormons and Catholics, voted that marriage should be between one man and one woman. When Proposition 8 was voted in, thrown out, then re-instated, we were the people, the H8ers, the religious right—the Nazis—who were wrong. We were the bigots, those Fundamentalist Fanatics who should be labeled as terrorists and nuts—in their eyes.
No one tolerated us.
Aware that we were not welcome in this venue we devised a strategy of non-confrontation, sort of. We did not go into this community with the intention of preaching in the open air; no, that could prove fatal. We planned on preaching the Gospel through one-to-one conversations and handing out Gospel tracts, lots of Gospel tracts. We made 5,000 specially designed “Got Equality?” tracts on pink card stock. There was no mention of homosexuality, marriage, gay or lesbian in the entire message, just the law and Gospel.
We planned on combating ignorance and intolerance in three ways:
1) We were not going to discuss what the bible says about homosexuality unless asked. Even then we would be careful about how we answered, knowing that this type of discussion would only elicit an argument—and get us off track of what we really came to do: preach the Law and Gospel. Besides, this community already knows what the bible says. We would seek to understand in a gracious way.
Here’s a sample of what we might say if confronted with that question:
Gay person: So what does the bible say about homosexuality?
Evangelist: What do you think it says?
At that point, the gay person would explain his perspective, why we were wrong, and why he was right. The evangelist, in turn, would transition the conversation into a question of whether he thought he was good enough to get to Heaven. End of debate.
2) We were going to gently steer around the Proposition 8 question.
Gay person: How did you vote on Prop 8?
Evangelist: How did you vote?
Gay Person: I voted against it. I believe all people have the right to marry.
Evangelist: I’m glad that you felt free to vote your conscience. Isn’t it great that in America we have the right to vote according to our consciences. I believe you voted in the right way, according to your conscience; I, too, voted according to mine. It’s wonderful that we can disagree and still be respectful of one another, isn’t it?
3) We would employ a cheerful attitude and gracious demeanor; we would be warm and friendly. This would be so unlike the Christian haters who shake their fingers and bibles and signs, while condemning everyone to Hell.
The sad fact is that these poor people are condemned already according to Jesus Christ (see John 3:18; John 3:36). We were there to explain this fact, warn them, and not let bad our attitudes get in the way.
Did it work? The Sheriffs who patrolled the area noticed that we were different than the usual “Christians” who haunt these parades. One Sheriff said, “I like the way that you share the Gospel with these people.”
If only the tolerant gay community had responded to us in the same way; unfortunately, they didn’t.