Becoming the Persecutors

The summer after my senior year in high school was my first summer in Phoenix. That summer, my church held an anti-gay workshop over a weekend led by Exodus International – the anti-gay ministry arm of Focus on the Family. During that workshop, gay rights activists held a protest on the sidewalk in front of my church. At the time, I was still in denial. I honestly believed I was straight. My friends and I all talked about how wrong this group was and how much we hoped they’d come in and listen, but we all agreed that as long as they were on public property they had a right to protest.

Most churches would agree with that. In fact, nearly all would in the same vain hope – that the protesters would hear what they’re teaching and have that come-to-Jesus moment that everyone in the church tries to drag everyone into. Turn the tables, though, and it’s a different story – gay leftists in this country cannot stand it when bible-thumping holy-rollers come into their territory and preach. They do it in significantly lower numbers, too, but none of that matters. In Philadelphia a few years ago, I had contact with one Christian activist group known as “Repent America” – borderline extremist, but at least their leader had a civil conversation with me, proving that he’s not a hatemonger – that was protesting outside the big gay pride festival. They were set upon by a literal mob and were told by police that they, not the real instigators, had to leave.

There was no conversation. All there was was anger, yelling, screaming, open hatred – all from a group that is supposed to be more tolerant than others.

I’ve seen the same thing in gay neighborhoods, including my hometown of Houston (Montrose) and my mother’s hometown, San Diego (Hillcrest). I’ve seen it outside Phoenix gay pride. The two biggest reasons that I stay away from gay pride festivals now are 1) the shock-factor attendees who like to prance around in their underwear or even topless (sorry, but seeing a transgendered woman walking around in a Utilikilt, topless, with electrical tape over “her” nipples just about scarred me for life), and 2) the vehemently anti-Christian attendees who threaten violence against the Christians standing outside to preach and hand out tracts.

I have said before that hypocrisy is an irritation that I do not suffer gladly. I have been a hypocrite before, and I was a complete idiot. I have also said before that I have no patience for gay leftists who claim the mantle of tolerant self-righteousness and yet cannot tolerate others. About one month ago, in Montrose – the gay neighborhood of Houston – two area preachers well-known for holding signs, preaching and blowing on a shofar (a ceremonial Jewish musical instrument made out of a ram’s horn) were accosted by police, manhandled, arrested and had their signs and shofar confiscated. This was after a previous encounter with police that was far less confrontational. I’m usually the first to stand up for the police, and the young officers who spoke with them the first time were very cordial, but the officers who came later were remarkably unprofessional.

This was AFTER a number of residents in the area complained that they shouldn’t be there because they weren’t wanted.

David Stokes and David Allen have been doing this for around two years and all of a sudden it has become an issue. Now, I can understand complaints about the shofar; that thing can be awfully loud and Houston does have noise ordinances as far as I know. First Amendment freedoms, however, cannot be infringed upon unless their words become threats, and they never have. I have relatives that live in Montrose and they don’t care for these two preachers. I heartily disagree with their message AND their method, but agree or disagree, I would still fight to my last breath for their right to stand on the corner of Westheimer and Montrose and speak their message. Defending their rights is no different than defending my own, and if I dared take their rights away, it would be the same as giving mine up.

Today the Harris County Attorney dropped all charges against the two preachers, citing a lack of evidence. The charges were displaying illegal signs and playing an illegal instrument. I’m not going to say that I hope they file a complaint against the police, because I can see arguments both ways, even though I disagree with the police in this case. I’m not going to say I welcome them back, because I do not agree with them. I AM going to say that the gay leftists and their supporters need to be as tolerant as they demand others be, or they become the persecutors they have long claimed Christians to be.


6 thoughts on “Becoming the Persecutors

  1. “hypocrisy is an irritation that I do not suffer gladly”

    I like that statement a lot. It’s how I feel as well. I may not agree with someone on a topic, but as long as they are consistent across the board with that belief I can at least respect them.

    However liberal groups are all about tolerance…until they have to tolerate someone who doesn’t agree with them. ESPECIALLY gay liberals. They wouldn’t know consistency if it came up and bit them on the (pardon the language) ass.

    I’m not always consistent and I’ve been guilty of hypocrisy in my moral and ethical convictions and the way I live my life, but the difference between myself and liberals is that I am strong enough to eventually recognize that hypocrisy and try to correct it. I actually look at how I live my life and attempt to be consistent. If more people did that, the world would be a better place.

  2. Wow, I am impressed by your thoughtfullness.
    I agree that freedom of speech is freedom of speech.
    I will say this, as I am a Bible Thumping, conservative, evangelical. We have gotten it wrong. I critice Atheists becuase it would seem thier lives are often more defined by what they are against (ie Christians) then what they are for. This is also true for many of us Christians, in that we are very clear about what we are against, homosexuality, secularization, immorality, but we are very unclear about what we are for, which is for the Grace of our only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    Thanks for your comments!

    Darn your blog, I had to google it! Don’t have the legs for it though:-( And electrical tape isn’t good anywhere on skin. Maybe gaffers tape?
    It’s not surprising that members of the Left can’t stand to hear anything that isn’t from their gospel. I didn’t care for the protesters when NH elected the first gay bishop (and I don’t agree with him on everything but that isn’t any different than any other one) but they had a right to do it. They didn’t have a right to make death threats or physically threaten people which would have been a crime.
    It’s also odd that police are arresting people when they know they’ll end up releasing them. It’s just a way to bully people. “You can be here but if you don’t leave I’ll still haul you away.” Funny that we are more restricted and more of a police state under the “compassionate liberals.”
    AndyB, NH.

  4. Tobeforgiven: I left the Roman Catholic church as a teen (after being confirmed, the only thing my parents wanted) because it felt too negative. Not preaching what is good and positive but focusing all on the sin. Aside from the Episcopal church (I work for) I never found a religion to go to every week. But seeing how the RC STILL focuses on petty little things (changing the English translation? I guess that trumped all the other things they had to do!) I made a good decision.
    AndyB, NH.

  5. I was one of the protestors at that “Love Won Out” event. I was there for several hours, and I remember it well. I also recall that we were orderly, polite and perfectly rational. There were no ugly incidents, and though I’m sure there must have been lots of hysterical leftist gays there, on that day at least they were very well-behaved

    At the time, I was a lot more left-wing than I am now, and I was actually frustrated at how well everybody on “our side” behaved. The media showed little interest, as I recall, because they thought the whole thing was too boring. Had there been a brawl or something, the public would have heard more about it.

    There were doughnuts from Smart and Final, port-a-potties, and not only were we eating the goodies provided by the church that hosted the event, but some of them were actually quite visibly surprised we didn’t have pitchforks and horns.

    My take-away impression was that if that sort of thing were done more often (the getting together to meet, not the “ex-gay” snake oil being sold inside the church), more gays would still be Christians and more straight Christians would welcme us. It’s all the shouting, glitter-bombing and shofar-blasting that is causing the divide to remain as wide as it is.

    For at least some of the shouters, glitter-bombers, communion host stompers and shofar blasters, I suspect that wide divide is probably exactly what they want to see.

  6. I’ve said it on this board many times. I’ve taken more crap from gay people for being a Christian, Conservative, and Republican than anyone else.

    As for people protesting/speaking, that is the galling weakness of the 1st Amendment. Freedom of is a decent thing. But Freedom From is even better. Oh how better our nation would be if we could self censor the things we don’t want to see or hear.

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