Militant and Marxist protesters from LGBT and Antifa groups gathered to shut down a Christian megachurch in Austin, Texas, last Sunday – reportedly demanding that its members renounce their biblical views on sexuality while condemning the church’s support of biblical marriage between one man and one woman.
“Members of the Stonewall Militant Front (SMF) were joined by a dozen or so other gay rights activists who chanted, waved pride flags and held signs [last] weekend to protest Celebration Church because of its opposition to gay marriage,” PJ Media reported. “The gay rights activists also protested the church's Sunday morning services at the Austin school district performing arts center in order to criticize the district for renting the facility to Christian ‘homophobes.’"
Attacking the church for its biblical stance
An ultra-left news site heralded the protest as a new civil rights movement as it took to social media to show masked Antifa and LGBT activist demonstrators waving rainbow flags while yelling out virulent chants at worshipers walking into the church’s auditorium.
"Happening right now outside of homophobic Celebration Church in #Austin,” Incendiary News tweeted last Sunday. “Masked protesters chanting, ‘Defend our youth from these attacks!’ ‘Pride means fight back!’"
Intolerant protesters were quick to denounce the church’s stance on homosexuality rooted in the Bible.
“These kids that are gay, lesbian or trans – they end up hating themselves because of the beliefs y’all are spreading!” a masked protester exclaimed, according to Incendiary News.
Another protester commented about several members of the civic nationalist group, Texas Nomads SAR, who filmed the lively demonstration disrupting the church service – insisting that Christians not supporting the LGBT lifestyle and illegal immigration should be excommunicated from the capital of the Lone Star State.
“These are the kind of people your beliefs attract!” the angry anti-Christian protester shouted, according to Incendiary News. “They are anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT! They should be run out of this city!”
Demonstrators threatened that a repeat protest could take place in the upcoming weeks.
“Although the numbers of the demonstration were not strong enough to shut down the church service entirely, people in attendance said that they were ready to come protest again,” Incendiary News’ Mike Talavera noted.
In fact, the anti-Church movement threatened that it will not stop until it drives the congregation out of the state’s capital.
“We are not going to give up!” a masked protester screamed through a megaphone, according to Incendiary News. “We won’t stop until this bigoted church leaves Austin!”
Social justice ... or injustice movement?
Activists promoting homosexuality and open borders often claim to be promoting so-called “social justice,” which is said to be rooted in “tolerance,” but it has been found that LGBT and pro-immigration activists are the ones who have demonstrated intolerance.
Antifa and LGBT protesters insist that Celebration Church’s stance on homosexuality provides evidence that it discriminates, but a church leader argued that it is merely backing the Word of God, which is always just.
Celebration Church Executive Pastor Jim Kuykendall defended his church’s views regarding sexual purity, emphasizing that it is Scripture – not his church – that has declared the official stance in the issue.
“That’s in the Bible, which is several thousand years old,” Kuykendall told Incendiary News before noting that he did not see either group budging from their beliefs on sexuality. “They believe what they believe, and we believe what we believe.”
Embracing the sinner, rejecting the sin
The far-left news site made false claims that Celebration Church harbored animosity toward the LGBT community.
"[T]he church likened homosexuality and bisexuality to incest and bestiality on their website," Incendiary News stated.
However, the claim of hatred harbored by congregants against the LGBT community contradicts the church’s declaration about its beliefs.
“But a visit to the non-denominational Celebration Church's website shows no hostility toward gays,” PJ Media’s Debra Heine noted. “In fact, tolerance and inclusivity appear to be key components of their mission statement.”
In its statement, the church makes it clear that it welcomes all people to enter its doors, indicating that even though sinful behavior is not encouraged or embraced in the church, sinners are.
“Celebration Church is about reaching all people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ,” the Celebration Church mission statement reads. “We welcome all people – regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs. We also believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with the doctrines of the church. Anyone seeking God and wanting to learn more of the teachings of Christ is welcome and will not be excluded from attending Celebration Church. We welcome all people.”
Kuykendall extrapolated on the policy, stressing that his church does teach the Word of God and cites numerous Bible verses designating homosexual and bisexual behavior going against an individual’s biological sex as sin.
"[T]he church believes in being welcoming and kind to all people – regardless of sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs," Kuykendall told the Statesman. “I think maybe the frustration may be that they feel like it’s our position when we say that the Bible says that certain things are the way they are, and that it’s our statement. It’s not our statement – it’s what’s in the Bible.”
Problems with venue
One major issue that protesters brought up was that the church was conducting its services in the public school districts’ performing arts auditorium – arguing that only renters who embrace the LGBT community and its beliefs should be allowed there.
“This … was the first time the church has rented the performing arts center in order to host a regular service at another location – its second in the Austin area,” The Christian Post (CP) explained. “Church officials did not indicate how long they intend to rent the facility, [but] the church hopes to expand and open additional campuses across the Austin area.”
In an effort to scare off and deter the church from continuing its use of the facility, LGBT and Antifa activists resorted to scare tactics that threatened a family member of the church’s leadership.
“In the lead-up to the protest Sunday, SMF doxed the son of the church's founder and pastor – sharing his name and photo on their Facebook page,” CP’s Brandon Showalter informed. “His photo was subsequently shared with other far-left groups that advocate for violence against people they consider ‘bigots’ or ‘fascists.’"
It was also noted that former President Barack Obama identified Antifa and its members as being domestic terrorists, whose threats must be taken seriously by local law enforcement officers and federal agents.
“Under the Obama administration, Antifa groups were designated as being a security threat and engaged in ‘domestic terrorist violence,’ according to documents obtained by Politico, the National Review report[ed],” Showalter added.