Philadelphia 11

No, that is not another Ocean’s 11 sequel and it has nothing to do with the Eagles playoff hopes. That is the name given to a group of Christians who were arrested after protesting at a gay pride event. The Philadelphia 11 were “preaching God’s word” to those attending the outdoor Philadelphia OutFest. The group also had banners with “Biblical messages.” They were confronted by a group of gay activists. This is where things get tricky. The report by World Net Daily (a conservative Christian news service) said flatly “the eleven Christians were arrested and spent a night in jail.” So I have no idea if anything happened in between the confrontation or how heated the event became. WND then reports that the Christians were initially charged with “three felonies and five misdemeanors. The charges were: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct, and obstructing highways.”

Christians have a history of being arrested at abortion clinics and gay pride events, which begs the question: is that being salt and light? I have more sympathy for those who go to abortion clinics and get arrested for simply praying (less for those screaming at the women). Now I clearly think the First Amendment rights of the Christians were violated, but that is not the issue to me. The issue to me is how to best be salt and light to a world without Christ.

One way Christians can have a better impact on the world is by taking care of themselves first. By that I mean, it is hard to tell the world (gays and straights) that they are going to destroy marriage, when the divorce rate among professing Christians is just as high (around 50%) than the population at large. When you have Brittney Spears, a professing Southern Baptist, getting married twice this year, we have a problem of credibility when it comes to the marriage (and morals) issue. As Christians, our marriages should be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Once we live out that type of marriage, then we have more influence and credibility when it pertains to marriage.

Another way is to stop screaming at people and start loving people. Nobody likes “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Not the “sinner” because they don’t think they are sinning and not the Christian because that requires him to love somebody he might not want to love. How many people do you think have come to know Christ because they have seen Him at work in the life of Fred Phelps? I would wager not many, if any at all.

I think it goes back to my post on holiness. We must face each situation each person with the love Christ has for them. Jesus did not allow people to live in sin. He told them they were sinners, but He gave them hope, not hate. He brought the women in the well out of her past lifestyle, lovingly, but without compromise. That is where the Christian community is lacking. We swing to one side or the other. The conservatives are strong about not compromising, but too often weak on the love aspect. The liberals are strong on “God is love,” but weak on “God is holy.” The balance is there and for Christ to be glorified it has to be reached.

13 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I have attended many gay pride events. They are a great experience for gay people because, for the short time of the event, we are surrounded by people like us and can relax from the constant vigilance required to live under the heterosexual dictatorship. It is a safe place, full of joy, celebration and happiness. However, inevitably, we are confronted by several christers carrying signs with “biblical” messages threatening hellfire and damnation, quoting Leviticus, Romans, Corinthians, ad nauseum, whose only intent is to disrupt the event, stir up trouble, and spread their hateful message. I vividly remember a couple of these assholes giving me a tract which accused gays of causing earthquakes!

    I wasn’t at the event you describe, but I can readily imagine what went on. This isn’t a free-speech issue, rather, it is an issue of freedom from hate-speech, persecution and harassment. Maybe if the pink angels dealt with the protesters with bats (as they so richly deserved) there would be less of this kind of thing. As it is, I hope they get a lot of time in prison where they can sample the joys of Sodom!

    Louis

  2. Louis, is that really a healthy and constructive way to deal with an issue like this? “Hey, I know lets beat up Christians and take away their rights, since we have been persecuted before.” Again, you do not further your cause by calling for the beating of people who disagree with you. These people do not deserve to spend the night in jail, anymore than gay people who protest Christian events deserve to spend the night in jail. Basically as long as no violence is started, groups should be allowed to peacefully protest.

  3. My call for bats was ironic and rhetorical excess (do unto them as they do unto us). However, I see no right to do what they do at gay events. They are bigots and hate-mongers, pure and simple (did you visit their website?). I’m not sure just what they did to merit arrest, but I’m glad they spent the night in jail. Besides, now they can feel all persecuted for the Lord – warm and snuggly in their self-righteousness. Isn’t that neat?

  4. btw, Aaron, check out the following for more Christian charity:
    http://www.advocate.com/new_news.asp?ID=14525&sd=12/06/04

    Money quote:
    ” An urban ministry in San Bernardino, Calif., that aids the poor and homeless has had its official recognition removed by Lutheran church officials in a dispute over an associate pastor who is in a lesbian relationship. The decision by the Pacifica Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which oversees congregations in parts of Southern California, marks the most severe punishment of a Lutheran congregation over the issue of gay clergy in more than a decade.”

  5. Anonymous

    Who gets a right to free speech in your view Louis? Is it only those who agree with you? Just because someone is a “bigot and hate-monger” does not mean they give up their rights to speak.

    As to your story. One the story is from the Advocate, hardly a neutral sorce. But, do religions not have the right to establish their beliefs? Can the Lutheran church not decide what they view acceptable and not? Those beliefs may or may not agree with you or me, but they should have the right to establish their own morality.

    Citizen magazine, an equally biased magazine, from the other side as Advocate, did a profile on a ministry in downtown Chicago called Emmaus Ministries. It was where those in the ministry were going to the roughest part of the neighborhoods and working with male prostitutes. They were showing them love, getting them a place to stay and something to eat. Groups and ministries like that are what I see as examples of Christian ministries striking the balance of God’s love and holiness.

  6. So, then, you think that it’s right to force an urban church – a church which ministers to the poor, homeless, hopeless – out into the cold merely because it employs a lesbian minister? I guess it’s because they are unclean. Sex matters more to the modern Christian than mercy. So much for Christ’s message of hope and charity to the poor, the outcast and the downtrodden.

    And those fundie Christians who choose to “protest” at gay pride events got what they deserved in my opinion. Freedom of speech is not absolute in this country. They are the representatives of oppressors and persecutors. Screw ’em.

  7. Don’t put words in my mouth Louis. I said church’s have to be able to establish their doctrine. It is not that sex matters more than mercy. It is that their doctrine matters more than anything else. We can practice love all we want to, but if we lose what we believe then we are not winning people to Christianity. We are winning them to our version of Christianity. All I was saying is that churches, religions, groups have the right to establish and enforce their belief system.

    If you’d like I could flip that statement and say apparently sex is more important to that minister than mercy. If you take things as you are taking them. Since she decided she wanted to be in a lesbian relationship despite the core doctrines of her church, knowing that her church and her ministry to the poor could be affected by her relationship. I don’t believe that to be true, I wouldn’t know if it was or not. All I am saying is that your broad generalizations of “sex over mercy” can be turned back around to the minister.

    As to the protestors, do gays have a right to protest Christian events? Do blacks have a right to protest KKK events? Do pro-military have a right to protest anti-war protesters? No freedom of speech is not absolute, but do you establish the line at those who disagree with you? I like living in a country where basically everyone can protest within reason. I think most of the anti-war protesters are morons, but they should have the right to waste their time. I understand your opinion of the protesters in this instance, but what I am getting at is should your opinion be a matter of law? Should they be sent to jail because you don’t agree with them?

  8. Thanks for once again proving to me that Christianity is a heterosexual religion.

  9. Again, Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man trying to do enough to get to God. Christianity is a relationship with God because He did the work in getting us to Him. It has nothing to do with heterosexual or homosexual.

    You read into everything from a preset bias Louis. I could say exactly what you want me to say, but you would still find something to disagree with because you are predisposed to disagree with evangelical Christianity.

    I don’t mind your disagreement, in fact I enjoy here and at Josh’s, but just know it is virtually impossible to discuss things with you in a progressive, productive nature. Most of the time someone says something you disagree with you, you might challenge it and present some points, but eventually you always fall back on “whatever,” “heterosexual dictatorship,” “Christianity is anti-gay,” or “I don’t have to prove anything to the oppresors.” No, Louis you don’t have to prove anything to me or anyone else, but you also can’t except the relationship between evangelical Christians and the gay community to get any better if you insist on shutting down during every discussion.

    Having said all that, I look forward to hearing from you again here and at Josh’s.

  10. And you are predisposed to disagree with everything that is NOT evangelical Christianity. Thus, impass and futility.

  11. Impass, yes. Futility, I don’t think so in this case. As I said I enjoy reading your comments and your thoughts. It helps me to widen my perspective. And of course I am going to basically disagree with everything that is not evangelical Christianity because I am an evangelical Christian. That doesn’t mean a discussion can not be had and progress can not be made toward a healthier relationship between the two communities we represent. Disagreement does not have to equal hate or war. It is like the race discussion in America. Until we are willing to discuss hard things, we can not expect to move anywhere. As long as anytime anyone discusses things and they get called “racist” or “homophobe,” the debate will continue to be at an impass and will evetually be futile.

  12. jon

    Surfing some of the lesbian blogs today I stumbled onto your blog. I liked it! Thanks for the posts…

  13. Anonymous

    GROW IT YOURSELF!

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.