A number of Christian fundamentalists may have claimed that gay revelers in town for Southern Decadence somehow prompted Hurricane Isaac's dangerous weather in New Orleans last week. As it turns out, New Orleans has little tolerance for anti-gay rhetoric, too, as nine preachers were arrested for "suspicion of aggressive solicitation" on Saturday after yelling homophobic epithets during a Southern Decadence demonstration.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune identifies the preachers as Patrick O'Connell, 45, Rolando Igleasias, 31, Cesar Chavez, 22, Daniel Hoogerhuis, 26, Danny Guevera, 20, Larry Craft, 52, Montes Diego, 32 and Gary Brown, 33.
The men were found to be in violation of an ordinance that prohibits "any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise," according to the publication. A police spokesman said the men were previously warned not to use bullhorns, but did not comply.
Justin Craft, 31, was arrested on suspicion of battery, resisting an officer and interfering with a law enforcement investigation. The Wisconsin Gazette reports that Craft allegedly punched a police officer who tried to confiscate his bullhorn.
"The church, city and nation have not repented and the homosexual agenda is far worse than it was in 2005," Defend & Proclaim The Faith's Pastor John McTernan wrote in a blog. "New Orleans is still hosting Southern Decadence with open homosexuality manifesting in the streets of the city. It could be that God is putting an end to this city and its wickedness."
Rev. Grant Storms, known as one of the festival's most vocal opponents, was reportedly convicted of obscenity last month after being caught masturbating at a public park near a children's playground in 2011.
These nine men who were arrested are the types of "Christians" who have missed what God's message is all about. In fact, i don't consider them Christians at all. Truthfully, I wish I had been there, not just for Southern Decadence, which I've always wanted to attend, but because street preachers are one particular group of people who get under my skin the most. I am well versed in the Bible and in the doctrine of the Church of Christ. Several years ago, a street preacher on Beale Street (a mecca for blues and booze) in Memphis, Tennessee, started preaching to me about the wickedness of the world and how I should be saved. I admit it, I was a little drunk, but I stood there and debated him. In fact, I took his Bible from him and showed him verse by verse the error of his teachings. When he tried to dispute what the Bible said, I eventually retorted, "You should go now, repent of your sins, be baptized, and join the folds of the churches of Christ." I further added, that if he did not then, "I was not responsible for his mortal soul.". My friend who was with me at the time and I then walked into the Hard Rock Cafe and had a shot of tequila. When we walked back out ten minutes later, the preacher was no where to be seen. Now I will say, again, that I was intoxicated and I probably laid it on a little thick (I got on a roll, what can I say), but the preacher had met his match. I would never hesitate to do so again, and I believe that knowledge is the best defense against ignorance.
Information for this post came from the Huffington Post, and the images are from VJBrendan.com.