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Gay Pride Parade, Pt. 3: “Pride” and “Tolerance”

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How tolerant was the gay community toward the 15 evangelists who attended their Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood? Not very. Even though we were determined to be friendly, kind, loving and winsome in our attitudes toward this group, you’ll see by the comments below that they don’t necessarily practice “tolerance” as much as they preach it. Read some of the nasty comments below, relayed to me by a few members of our evangelism team. (Start at part 1 by clicking here.)

Ed Lee sent me this random sampling of what was said to him as he shared his faith one-to-one and handed out Gospel tracts:

“Is that some kind of Jesus sh*t? Get that Jesus sh*t away from me!”

“Give me a few more of these so I can wipe my a** with them.”

“Do you have a Bible?  Give it to me so I can wipe my a** with it too!”

“Your propaganda is disgusting!”

“More murder has been committed in the name of Christianity than by anyone else!”

“Do you think Jesus would be condemning us the way you are?”

Jesus loves us just the way were are!”

“Jesus created us this way.”

Ed adds, “Although I would not say that these comments were representative of the majority, they were not uncommon.”

Rachael Liebregt remembered these experiences as she ministered alongside her husband Dennis:

One group of about six girls stood away from Dennis and I, staring at us and talking about us. Finally, one girl mustered the strength to walk over and throw the tract that I handed to her back at me. The wind blew it back to her, and then it fell near my feet as she walked off. Shortly afterwards the group dispersed.

I had one lady walked up to me, hold out her hand for a pink equality tract, and once she got it, ripped it up, threw it at me, and walked away.

Two women attacked me as I was minding my own business passing out tracts. I never said a word to them, yet one said that I was being judgmental. I tried to talk to her for a while but it went nowhere; she didn’t like the “Gay Equality” tracts.. She asked me all the questions that you had warned us about: “How did you vote on Prop 8?” I told her that she voted her conscience and I voted my own. She replied, “No I did not vote my conscience; I voted what was RIGHT. Are you a lesbian? Is your husband gay? God is love and you are judgmental!”

Dennis Liebregt, Rachael’s husband, had a few touchy experiences himself:

Well one guy I tried to witness to asked me if I was gay, bi or heterosexual?  When I said hetero he walked off without another word. Another guy came up and grabbed my upper arm and said, “You have beautiful eyes.” I got smacked on my butt by some drunk walking by the crowded bars with those stupid love paddle things. And one guy slapped the tract out of my hand which I tried handing to him.

Dennis adds, “The things we endure for the love of Christ huh? All in all, we had a very blessed time, however, just so sad to see. How much more does God see. God please have mercy on us.”

In part 4, see for yourself the worst offense of all by clicking here!

3 Comments

  1. Hey Steve,

    I admire your heart in wanting to take a healthy tact in approaching a currently tenuous relationship between the gay community and those who earnestly desire to share the gospel. No doubt tolerance was only wielded so far as there was agreement, which is too bad.

    I do, however, challenge publicly airing how rude people in your target group were to you. It reads to me like “we tried to love people but they were so mean!” Proving they are intolerant doesn’t bring anyone closer to the gospel, at least as I see it.

    I’m trying my best to see it from their worldview – if I felt like my human rights had been trampled on, as they feel, and that it was perpetrated by people such as us, I have little doubt I’d hold an animosity toward me. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I would be unlikely to uphold the highest value of tolerance to a group that works against my human rights. I’m legitimately intolerant toward fascism and genocide. I have no doubt that they see the evangelical Christian world as morally equivalent to fascists, perpetrators of genocide, and racists. (Christopher Hitchens has much to say about that sort of thing.)

    Now, of course we could argue whether they’re equivalent, and I believe they’re not, but that’s not my point. It’s also not my point to disparage your healthy attempt to try a new evangelism tact because we need your work and thoughtfulness that you’ve so clearly brought to the table. But I would fear that if you made progress with a gay person that day at the parade, then he/she came and read this blog, your efforts would be undone and back to square one with that soul. Certainly some compassion must be lent to the spiral of violence which these persons genuinely feel has been heaped upon them, unwillingly, and sadly Christians have taken unloving evangelistic methods all too often to a group who already feels hated, furthering the cultural gap and the perceived spiral of violence.

    Lastly, listing amidst grievances of intolerance that a gay man complemented one of your male evangelist’s beautiful eyes undermines your argument. Why not thank that person for recognizing God’s beauty and chalk it up as a positive moment of earned relational capital?

    I genuinely hope your passion for evangelism can help to re-ignite a passion within the church today. I also hope that posts like these don’t work against your goal.

    I mean this with as much sensitivity and love as possible, as I consider you to be a brother in Christ.

    John

  2. In SEattle about a week ago I handed some tracts out at the Space Needle where an event had just finished. A man asked me, “Is this about Jesus Christ?” I said yes. He said, “You are a homophobe.” I did not say anything to him previously. THen he tore the tract up in front of my face and walked away. However, his friends all listened! 🙂

  3. John,

    I appreciate your comments and understand where you are coming from. And I do understand why the gay community was so hostile toward us. I wanted to juxtapose our gracious demeanor with their unwarranted responses. We have never encountered this level of negativism before, and i wanted to point out the reality of the hypocrisy of tolerance.

    I’m not done yet. Hang in there for part 5. There is some redemption!

    Blessings!

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