Clerics oppose NI’s first rural LGBT+ parade

Rev Andrew Rawding taking party in Newry Pride in 2019.
Rev Andrew Rawding taking party in Newry Pride in 2019.

Free Presbyterian ministers from across Mid-Ulster have written a forthright letter opposing the launch of a Mid-Ulster Pride parade.

Last week the News Letter reported that NI’s first ‘Rural Pride’ parade is to be hosted in the Mid Ulster area this summer, led in part by Coalisland Church of Ireland rector Rev Andrew Rawding.

In response, the clerics have written to the News Letter, saying that “a sad, stark and significant choice has been forced upon the people of Mid-Ulster – will they accept and perhaps even support the reported forthcoming ‘Rural Pride’ event, or will they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ?”

The letter is signed by Rev Marcus Lecky from Cookstown, Rev John Armstrong from Dungannon, Rev Peter McIntyre from Clogher Valley, Rev Colin Mercer from Omagh, Rev Timothy Omerod from Sixmilecross and Rev Ryan McKee from Magherafelt.

“For almost two millennia”, they said, “the entirety of Christendom accepted that Jesus Christ – and all the Scriptures – taught that homosexuality was sinful” and despite “much misinformation... the truth of God’s Word remains unchanged”.

The “very last thing” the area needs is more Pride, they countered, saying Christ commands “true humility” and repentance from homosexuality, stealing, adultery, envy, vengeance and all other sins.

Motivated by “concern and love for our Saviour, our society and the souls of others” they say the parade will “be burned into the memories of the young and impressionable” but that future generation “deserve the same traditional family upbringing that most of us have enjoyed”.

In closing, they urged every Christian to oppose the parade “first by prayer, and then by all other lawful and peaceful methods”.

Rev Rawding said: “We all want to be loving, but with humility we need to accept that even with our best intentions, LGBT+ people have felt hated by the language of sin, and some are filled with such self hatred and rejection that they have taken their lives.”