Members of the Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries – ‘an inclusive and LGBT affirming’ evangelical and Pentecostal church in Makati – in the the Philippines, joined a Gay Pride event that attracted more than 20,000 people last weekend to say sorry for anti-LGBT Christian bigotry.
Church members, according to this report, carried placards and banners one of which read:
Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.
I’m sorry I’ve rejected and hurt your family in the name of family values.
The Christians caught the eye of 19-year-old Jamilah Salvador, who snapped a couple photos of the banners and posted them on Twitter. Her tweet quickly went viral and had received over 40,000 retweets and 122,000 likes as of Monday afternoon.
Attending her very first Pride, Salvador told local news outlet Coconuts Manila that she was impressed with the group’s effort to make its presence known to all of the attendees, who numbered an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people.
A video from my friend showed that they were actually roaming around the venue so everyone may see and read their messages,. On my way there, I was already feeling so giddy and nervous at the same time. But when I entered the venue, seeing all those rainbow flags made me feel I’m home.
Other attendees praised the church’s gesture on social media.
Val Paminiano, a pastor for the church, said that members of the congregation have been attending local pride celebrations for about four years now. The “I’m Sorry” campaign, he said, is aimed at inspiring other Christians to:
Act, speak and love the LGBT people like Jesus would. We are apologizing for the way Christians have hurt the LGBT community, especially by using the Bible in condemning and judging them,.
I used to believe that God condemns homosexuals, but when I studied the scriptures, especially the ones that we call ‘clobber scriptures’ that are being cherry-picked from the Bible to condemn LGBT people, I realised that there’s a lot to discover, including the truth that God is not against anyone. God does not discriminate against people based on gender.