AgapePress reports that Jerusalem WorldPride 2006 is scheduled for August 6-12, 2006. The event was planned for last year. However, the pull-out of settlers from Palestinian territory occurred during the scheduled time and the organizers recognized that coinciding events would be a strain on security and so rescheduled.
James Hartline, a “former homosexual” anti-gay activist in San Diego, has this to say about the planned event:
He cannot understand “why anyone would want to engage in sodomy and pornography at the holy sites of our religious heritage.” Hartline says that people in his church are heartbroken about the news of this event.
“Christians are crying at the sight of our Jewish brothers and sisters being beaten and removed by force from their homes in the pullout from their settlements,” Hartline says. “Then to see, in the midst of this tragedy, nearly naked homosexuals and pornographers march through the city is a cruel display.”
He continues by saying that “gay activists who regularly demand respect and special rights because of their claims of abuse and discrimination are clearly not willing to extend that same demanded courtesy to the hurting and wounded citizens of Israel.”
He provides nothing to indicate why he thinks that anyone would engage in sodomy at holy sites or why hurting and wounded heterosexual Israelis require more courtesy than hurting and wounded homosexual Israelis. And as someone claiming to be a former homosexual, he knows full well that the gay community has never asked for any special rights but rather that the special rights reserved to hetersexuals be granted equally to all. Apparently, Hartine feels no compulsion toward honesty.
Jerry Falwell also commented on the event:
Rev. Jerry Falwell believes the homosexual community is making a mistake in staging the upcoming event in the historic city of Jerusalem. “While the people involved [in WorldPride] are sincere, they must know that that the Judeo-Christian beliefs still see homosexuality as sin,” he says. “After 2,000 years there has been no shift of opinion on the part of Christians and Jews who believe in the Bible.”
While Falwell’s position may be shared by many Christians and Jews, it certainly isn’t the only position of Jews and Christians worldwide. Currently the majority of Jews in America are supportive of gay rights to some extent. And a sizeable percentage (if not the majority) of self-identified Christians worldwide are supportive of gay rights. In fact, it is in the “Christian nations” of the world in which the greatest levels of freedom and equality are found. It would be fair to say that there has been a significant shift in the opinion of Christians and Jews on the issue of homosexuality.
Falwell uses the term “who believe in the Bible” as a modifier, suggesting that pro-gay Jews and Christians do not believe in the Bible. I would suggest, rather, that they do not believe in Falwell’s interpretation of the meaning of certain scriptures and their application to modern life.
Falwell contends that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle and that it is important for Christians to love homosexuals despite the disagreement over that lifestyle.
Still, the founder of Liberty University and the senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, thinks that El-Ad and other homosexual activists are making the mistake of staging their event in Jerusalem as a way of making an “in-your-face statement to Christians and Jews.”
Staging the event in the Holy City, says Falwell, “will hurt their cause internationally.”
It may be a testament to the spiritual growth and evolving understanding of Falwell that he comes across as the reasonable one in this report. Last year Falwell made statements that suggested that he was in support of laws protecting gay people from employment and housing discrimination. While Falwell does not support WorldPride, his criticism does not make bizarre claims or demonize the participants.
Conversely, it may instead be that the anti-gay rhetoric of the ex-gay activists has reached such levels of vitriol that Falwall appears moderate by comparison.