Yesterday a group of four of us from TLC Ministries went to the annual gay pride parade in Dallas to pass out tracts and witness. We didn't do any open-air preaching (there was a small group there doing it), but we went to scope out this event and get a feel for what this kind of event is like for evangelizing.
It turns out that gay pride parades are excellent venues for evangelism. We passed out hundreds of tracts from One Million Tracts. We also had several very good conversations with parade goers, most of whom were homosexuals. The Gospel message can be proclaimed in an uncompromising fashion when it's done in a gracious manner. The listener may take offense at the message, but if they find reason to take offense at our demeanor I think we have failed to rightly communicate the Gospel.
And we got some email feedback. Here is an email from Annie who got one of the tracts at the parade, followed by my response...
"Why do you feel the need to infiltrate a pride parade, an event where people are supposed to be able to come together and not feel condemned? What did you do, infiltrate some gay group in Dallas under false pretenses. LEAVE US ALONE!!! We do not need you in our parade or in our neighborhood if all you can do is tell us we're sinners. WE HEAR THAT TO THE POINT IT MAKES US NUMB TO IT, SO GIVE IT UP ALREADY!!!! OUR SALVATION IS NOT YOUR BURDEN SO PLEASE, JUST GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK NEXT YEAR!!!! You have been reported to the Dallas Tavern Guild. "
And here's my response...
Thank you for contacting us via the "You Got Our Tract" website. We value your feedback on our tracts and outreach methods.
We came to the parade for the same reason we go to any large event; to share the Christian message of salvation. We did not "target" the parade because the gay community is any more in need of salvation than any other. We pass out tracts at all kinds of parades, concerts, festivals, events and college campuses. We also pass out tracts and witness in bar districts like Lower Greenville in Dallas, Sundance Square and the Stockyards in Fort Worth. The only reason we go to any event is because there are people there and our commission is to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone (Mark 16:15).
We did not "infiltrate some gay group under false pretenses" (I'm not sure how standing on a public sidewalk passing out tracts to those we pass by is "infiltrating" a public event). We simply did what we do week in and week out; come to a public place where First Ammendment rights are guaranteed and pass out Gospel tracts.
The gay community generally understands and expects freedom of speech. We have no desire to infringe on the right of the gay community to spread their message. In return, all we ask is the same freedom to spread ours. If that is "wrong" in your eyes, then I'd have to ask you, "Based on what? What moral standard makes it 'wrong' to come to a public place and exercise our freedom of speech?"
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.