Pastors Peter Simpson, David Carson and John Sherwood were preaching the gospel at the Birmingham Pride parade on Saturday. Stephen Green of Christian Voice and campaigning brethren, David Harper and David Skinner, were also there witnessing, along with other valuable helpers.
What was particularly shocking was the large number of teenage girls caught up in this public celebration of moral wickedness, all utterly blinded by the meaningless mantra of ‘Love is Love’, to which Pastor Sherwood pointed out in a very rapid New Testament Greek lesson, “No, Eros is Eros (that is, we are in the realm here of what the Bible calls “the lusts of the flesh”).
The Police initially tried to move the small Christian gathering away from the location which had been carefully decided on between them and Pastor Simpson over the previous two weeks. The Sergeant with whom the minister had been liaising had been overruled by an Inspector to the effect that the Christians’ presence alongside the parade route could lead to a ‘Section 14 Public Order’ situation. A refusal to move could lead to arrest. Therefore, those witnessing were told to move to a ridiculous location some 80 yards away from the parade, and at which those participating in the parade would either not seen them at all, there being a bus shelter in between blocking the line of vision, or else would be completely unbothered by their presence, it being such a long way off. No one could even be sure that the Christian witness concerned the parade at all at such a distance. As David Skinner rightly commented to the Police, “You might just as well move us to Coventry”.
To begin with it was difficult to know how to respond. As Christians there is a desire to be co-operative with the Police on the grounds of 1 Peter 2:13-14, yet at the same time this was an obvious injustice that they were proposing. They were arguing that the Christian witness should move away in case there was disruptive behaviour from those who did not like the preaching. So this would effectively be a punishment of the Christians in anticipation of parade supporters behaving unlawfully towards them.
After further consideration the Christian group decided to stay at the original location, as no crime would be committed by doing this, and then to wait and see if the Police did try to move them on. The Police proposal was nothing short of an absolute neutralisation of the Christians’ presence and a denial of their right to protest. Thankfully they did not move on the upholders of righteousness, when they realised that in a reasonably manner they were going to stand their ground.
The website of the main Birmingham newspaper after the parade invited readers to watch a video of half-naked men dressed up as women dancing through the streets, and billing it as great entertainment. What have we come to as a nation that a reputable newspaper considers this kind of disgusting display to be an appropriate activity in a very public venue, where many young children will be able to see it? The parade also included men dressed up in leather to look like dogs.
Distressing as always on these occasions were the household name organisations involved in the parade showing for the world their impeccable PC credentials. The following are examples of parade participants : the NHS, the NASUWT (a teachers’ union), HSBC (Bank), the Royal British Legion, the West Midlands Police, the Fire and Ambulance services and the National Trust. This was all a public celebration of the trashing of God’s righteous commandments. And of course there was the predictable contingent of “Christians at Pride”, showing their craven conformity to this world’s philosophies at the expense of Biblical truth.
Those in the parade were psyched up by heavy beat rock music, which is so often no more than a base appeal to the flesh. Preaching was difficult because of the high volume of noise everywhere, but every attempt was made nevertheless to carry on and some words of truth got through, backed up by various Scripture posters including, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26), and “Be sure your sin will find you out’ (Numbers 32:23), which text was held up for some 3 hours by brave octogenarian, our sister Eve. She was standing right against the barrier alongside the parade route, holding up then word of God.
One young woman came up to her Eve and asked, Why do you need to have that poster when God loves all of us? Our sister responded, You will be judged for your sins, and she then explained that God’s love never condones sin. The woman got upset by this and walked off. However, she carried on watching the witness and listening to the preaching, and came back later and asked for a tract.
During the parade Eve was often praying for all the young people in it, and on one occasion, as she was praying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, a young woman, seeing her mouth moving, came up to her and asked her what she was saying. Eve replied, I am praying for you using some of the last words of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. The young woman looked startled, and walked off, but hopefully thinking seriously about what she had just been told.
Pastor Sherwood had a debate with around half a dozen teenage girls, explaining to them how homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle. The girls responded, You do not respect us. The pastor replied, We do not respect what you are doing and supporting. The girls retorted, Everyone here is happy; so why are you trying to take away their happiness? The preacher responded, The worst state that a person can be in is to be happy and on their way to hell. The freedom which you think you have is not freedom at all, but a slavery to sin.
The girls were also told that no one is born homosexual, but it is a choice made by those who have a natural bondage to sin, just as people choose all other types of sin to engage in as well.
Pastor Sherwood also had a conversation with an 89-year-old man, who described how he had been a homosexual as a young man, but had then been converted by the grace of God. He was subsequently married, had six children and has enjoyed some 60 years of married life. This man’s life is the answer to those who argue that people are born with a homosexual orientation which they cannot change. The grace of God can wonderfully transform any sinner.
May the many who heard in Birmingham today come to realise that their attendance at this Pride parade was nothing but the shaking of a fist of rebellion at the holy God, and may they come in repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, before the wrath of God comes down upon them. May they realise that our motive for witnessing to homosexual people is out of love and concern for them.