Free Presbyterians held protests outside the Royal Hotel in Cookstown while the Mid Ulster Pride committee officially launched its Pride festival.
News Letter reports that approximately 80 protestors with placards quoting the Bible stood outside the hotel.
One of the events announced for Mid-Ulster Pride is a panel discussion entitled ‘Blessed are the Queer’ which will feature two high-profile speakers from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Prof Laurence Kirkpatrick and Rev Cheryl Meban from Ulster University.
Our @LGBTHumanistsUK lead Kathryn Kerr attended the launch of Mid-Ulster Pride last night. Wonderful to see support! There were protesters outside the venue but all they achieved was to further highlight why more support and representation is needed.
Change is coming. pic.twitter.com/o1eyHbQ6X0
— Northern Ireland Humanists (@NIhumanists) January 17, 2020
The Mid-Ulster Pride Festival is being organised by Coalisland Church of Ireland rector Rev Andrew Rawding, the Church of Ireland minister joined the 2019 UK & Ireland Pride parade with placards apologising for “how the church mistreated LGBT+ people”.
Free Presbyterian minister Rev Marcus Lecky had stated in a letter to News Letter earlier this week that “Christians should oppose” the Mid-Ulster Pride festival “first by prayer, and then by all other lawful and peaceful methods”.
“Our placards are carrying scriptures about homosexuality, the true meaning of love, and the gospel message and the love of God towards sinners,” he said.
The letter, which was signed by six reverends from across Mid-Ulster, said that “a sad, stark and significant choice has been forced upon the people of Mid-Ulster – will they accept and perhaps even support the reported forthcoming ‘Rural Pride’ event, or will they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ?”
“For almost two millennia”, they said, “the entirety of Christendom accepted that Jesus Christ – and all the Scriptures – taught that homosexuality was sinful” and despite “much misinformation… the truth of God’s Word remains unchanged”.
They went on to say that the “very last thing” the area needs is more Pride, saying Christ commands “true humility” and repentance from sins including homosexuality.
Prompted by “concern and love for our Saviour, our society and the souls of others” they say the parade will “be burned into the memories of the young and impressionable” but that future generation “deserve the same traditional family upbringing that most of us have enjoyed”.
They closed urging Christians to oppose the parade “first by prayer, and then by all other lawful and peaceful methods”.
Rev Andrew Rawding responded to the letter saying “We all want to be loving, but with humility, we need to accept that even with our best intentions, LGBT+ people have felt hated by the language of sin, and some are filled with such self-hatred and rejection that they have taken their lives.”
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