It's not often that a post on a Christian blog makes me tear up.
A group of Christians got together last weekend and went to the pride parade in Chicago. They were there to wave signs and make their presence known and expose the homos to message of Jesus Christ. But unlike most self-identified Christians who show up at pride parades, these guys didn't come to condemn. They came to apologize.
I spent the day at Chicago’s Pride Parade. Some friends and I, with The Marin Foundation, wore shirts with “I’m Sorry” written on it. We had signs that said, “I’m sorry that Christians judge you,” “I’m sorry the way churches have treated you,” “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.” We wanted to be an alternative Christian voice from the protestors that were there speaking hate into megaphones.
What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”
Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.
My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them. Then it clicked.
Then he got it.
He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”
Here's the whole post. I'm almost afraid to dig into this story—the Marin foundation's website is here—because I don't want start clicking around only to discover that these guys came to pride to deliver the same old love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin message, only with a smiley face this time instead of a "God Hates Fags" sign. More info and "I'm sorry" t-shirts available at the "Love Is An Orientation" website.
If this catches on—if repentant Christian bigots start showing up at pride parades across the country and they don't believe that being gay is a sin—these guys are gonna be the new PFLAG moms.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!