June 19, 2007

"Evangelical Christians" Make Noise at Sacramento Pride Parade

From the Sacramento Bee:

Conversation about religion dominated much of Saturday's gay pride celebration. But the big question of the day seemed to be: Whose point of view was the right one?

And whose God?

That of the 150 or so evangelical Christians who marched along the Pride Parade route to protest what they claim is a sinful lifestyle?

That of the participants in the 20th annual Pride Parade?

Or that of the various religious groups that showed up in counter-protest of the evangelicals' outcry, proposing tolerance instead?

In a repeat of last year's event, the evangelicals were raucous. They blew noisemakers and carried signs that left no doubt as to what they believe is the nature of sin.

An equally vocal but more liberal and diverse group of the region's religious communities came to challenge the evangelicals' message with words of love and acceptance.

Members of A Church for All talked to passers-by about their congregation's inclusiveness -- acceptance of all regardless of race, class or sexual orientation -- and worship services.

"We believe God is a diverse God. He can meet all of us," said congregation member Christine Campbell of North Highlands. "When Jesus said, 'Whosoever believes in me shall have eternal life,' he wasn't making any distinctions."

Daniel Velici, 35, wore a T-shirt that quoted Scripture. It implied that those celebrating their day in the park would not inherit the kingdom of God.

"The movement ... of the community is now destroying this country, the family, moral values -- everything," Velici said.

That last statement is one of the stupidest I've read in the two years I've been writing this blog, and I've seen a LOT of people saying some very stupid things.

What's destroying the country? How about a war in Iraq that is draining billions upon billions of dollars from our economy, a war the military won't even let open gays fight in.

What's destroying the family? How about a divorce rate still hovering around 50% and parents who don't take time to even know their kids much less raise them, yet loving same-sex couples are often denied the chance to adopt and love children who need a home.

What's destroying moral values? How about hatred and bigotry spewed in God's name that drives seekers away from the church and is a boon to athiesm and other alternatives to religion, a hatred that focuses on the GLBT community and is more obsessed with gay people than gay people are themselves.

What's the answer? A relationship with God, not filtered through some right-wing bigot, but one that is born from reading the Bible and seeking Him for yourself, then finding a place where that love and understanding can be nurtured.

With our ministry initiative (still in its early days) the Affirming Christian Network, we're working to present an alternative to the hate and condemnation heaped on GLBT people from pulpits across the country. We're building a community with resources to help people understand that God loves GLBT people, why he does, and how that love can be experienced at a personal level. Check us out if you're seeking, or just need to be fed spiritually.

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