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Ozarks Pridefest 061612
Street Witnessing

Greater Ozarks Pridefest 2012
Downtown Springfield, MO
Park Central Square

June 16, 2012

Today was the Greater Ozarks Pridefest (Gay Pride Event) in Dowtown Springfield, Missouri.  The entire Park Central Square area was reserved for this event from noon until 9:00pm.  The roads around the Square were blocked off, there were sponsors with tents all around the Square.  They were saying they would have 5,000 attendees at this event.  They ended up saying approx. 2,000 attended.  However, I doubt that many were there.  I'd be surprised if there were more than 400 people who attended at any given time throughout the day. 

I went out and took my six foot wooden cross.  Nick, a fellow Christian who contacted me recently, arrived to be a witness for Christ, as well as Keith, who drove in to attend.  We met up with Mark and some of his team.  There were approx. 10 Christians being a witness for Christ and sharing the gospel at this event.   

During this event, local TV news channel, KSPR (abc) was there doing interviews on various Pridefest supporters.  The reporter then came to me and asked if I minded if she interviewed me on camera.  She asked me various questions and video taped it.  She was very nice. 

Here is the video news clip.  This is just a recording of the video, so the picture and sound quality isn't the greatest. 

If you want to see the actual interview on KSPR, go to  I'm not sure how long it will stay on their site.  If you would like to read the entire article, see the end of this newsletter. 

The homosexual community is big on saying everyone should be tolerant of each other.  However, when they say, "be tolerant", they certainly don't take their own advice when it comes to how they interact with Christians.  I've had many interactions with people at this event, with a lot of mean and vulgar comments. Many hate-filled and curse God - literally.  I wish some of this would be caught on video.

There was a guy who walked up and said, "You guys aren't as intimidating without your white sheets".  I tried to get him to come back and talk, but he wouldn't.  Many would just do a "drive-by" - yell something and keep going, without wanting to talk.  But, we also had many good witnessing conversations with folks as well. 

Here is a picture of Nick, who came out to be a witness for Christ. 

I have a 6 foot cross, but Mark has a much larger cross.  Very cool. 

In between some of our witnessing conversations, a homosexual man came up and encouraged us in our boldness to take a stand for Christ, and told us "Thank you" for having good conversations with people and being respectful to them.  He said he was a Christian.  Although I appreciate his comments, being a Christian and homosexual is not compatible according to the bible. 

We met quite a few people during the event that claimed to be "Christian".  They say, "God loves me and He doesn't care that I just happen to love the same sex.  God is love, so it's okay to love anyone we want".  This belief goes against what the bible teaches.  Satan has deceived these people.  They need to know the truth of the bible, so that they might repent and believe. That's why we are here. 

One of the first people we really talked to and started the day off with "bang", was a man who brought his wife and children to the event.  He said he is an atheist, is Jewish, and from the tribe of Benjamin.  He was very knowledgeable of the bible.  He was very vulgar and hated God.  During our conversation, he flipped off God, told God, "F--- You", used God's name in vain, as well as mocking God in many ways. 

At one point, while I was holding the cross and trying to put my water bottle in my backpack, I asked him if he would hold my cross for a moment.  He took hold of it and immediately shoved it over on the ground.  It landed hard on the brick ground, but at least it didn't break.  A little later in the conversation, he grabbed the cross and began "humping" it for a good 5 seconds or more. 

One minute, this man would ask us to prove God without using the bible.  Then, the next minute, he was using the bible to contradict something I said. 

I will have to say during our conversation with this man, something very interesting happened.  Two women walked up and was listening as we were trying to prove the existence of God to him.  She politely entered the conversation and said she was a Christian and began to tell him that there is a God and was trying to convince him.  The atheist then asked this woman if she was a homosexual.  She said she was. 

Once she said she was a Christian and a homosexual, this really got his attention.  He turned his attack from us to her, and proceeded to tell her how being a homosexual goes against the bible, and how she couldn't say she is a Christian.

During the event, one of the bands came out and before their song, told the audience that this song was dedicated to those in the center of the square (that would be the Christians).  The song by Stevie Wonder, "Superstition".  The crowd liked this and applauded.  Some of the lyrics are, "Very superstitious, writing's on the wall...When you believe in things that you don't understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no".

As we were standing with the cross, a young man came up, who had been drinking, and was upset with us being there with a cross.  He said, "Jesus is love", and that "if I repent, Jesus will forgive me".  Kevin asked him what does repent mean.  He said it means asking for forgiveness.  Kevin told him that repent means to "turn from your sin and to sin no more".  Just asking for forgiveness and going back into it is not being repentant. 

Multiple times during the event, someone would come up and accuse us of bringing something as offensive as the cross to the Pridefest event and telling them they are going to hell.  Well, there are two things to say about this. 

One, we weren't telling anyone they were going to hell.  If someone came up to us and began a conversation, we would witness to them.  If the subject came up, we would tell them what the bible says about the sin of homosexuality, as well as other sins the bible mentions. 

Two, I would tell them that the cross represents Christ and Christianity.  If it's offensive to them, then possibly what John 3:19-20 applies to them, " And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."  

One time, when some of the others were talking with folks who walked up, a young lady walked up to me and began talking with me.  I'd say she probably wasn't older than 18.  She said that she was a bisexual.  She began like many others, by asking why we would bring an offensive cross to their event. She said that we (Christians) were "Bringing our spirits down" by being there.  I told them what I stated above about how men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil, and they shun the light because they know they are in sin. 

She said she has known she was bisexual since she was eight.  I told her that just because she feels something, it doesn't mean that she has to act on it.  I explained, only for example purposes, that if someone felt like doing something since they were very young, like beating people up they didn't agree with, or feeling like they wanted to murder people, or felt like they were attracted sexually to children, or sexually attracted to the opposite sex or even the same sex, it is up to us to act on it or not. I explained to her that homosexuality is one sin in the bible, but that it goes against God.  Unless she is saved - repent and believe in Jesus, the bible says they will not go to heaven, but would go to hell.  I explained to her the gospel and how to be saved.  I could tell she was thinking about it.  I pray the Holy Spirit convicts her heart. 

As I was talking to this young lady, there was a male in a very tall pink head-dress of some sort standing with his back to my wooden cross.  He was acting as if he were hanging on the cross, mocking Jesus.  After a while of standing there, Kevin came up to him and asked him why he was mocking Jesus.  He looked guilty and walked away. 

It would have been nice to see churches at this event, who were being a light for Christ and standing for God.  However, there were at least two churches that I saw there who were not trying to reach the homosexual, they were there to condone their sinful lifestyle.  I don't know how much clearer the bible can be that the homosexual lifestyle is not compatible with Christianity. 

I want to make it clear why we attend gay pride events.  We want to be a witness for Christ, a light in this dark world. We want to share the gospel.  We want to the gay person to repent, believe and be born-again and come out of their sinful lifestyle.  We want to stand for God in a world where it seems most everyone is fearful to take a stand and say that it is wrong and a sin.

The bible says in James 1:22-23, "And on some have compassion, making a distinction;but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."  This is the type of event where we "save with fear, pulling them out of the fire". 

Before someone starts complaining about our attendance at gay pride events, I want to say we attend many more events than this.  We attend Christian concerts and other types of music concerts, we attend parades, festivals, we go street witnessing and more.  Gay pride events are only a very small percentage of all the witnessing we do. 

Please keep those we witnessed to in your prayers. 

In Christ,

Brad St. Clair

KSPR News Article about the Greater Ozarks Pridefest:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community gathered Saturday in downtown Springfield to celebrate Pride Fest.

"Pride is itself is a positive stance against the violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals," explained Charles Abernathy, board member of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks.

Roughly 2,000 people filled Park Central Square to listen to musical groups, poetry, and motivational speakers. Colorful flags waved in the wind while patrons visited merchandise tents.

Randy Gamel, a member of First Unitarian Universalist Church in Springfield, sat in the shade with literature aimed towards the GLBT community.

"We think everybody's loved and everybody's special so we're happy to be here," Gamel said. "We're not what you consider an old fashioned church; we've changed with the times. Everybody's welcome, come as you are no pretense. You don't have to pretend to be anything you're not. We love you just the same."

Steps away, volunteers advocating AIDS testing and awareness, passed out stickers and free water.

"I've been in Springfield three years and this is my first Pride!" exclaimed Tony Hines. "I would say this event is all about unity. Unity in the community. There we go. Because you have everyone here."

The festival comes at a heated time. Across Missouri, members of the gay community have little protections. In Springfield, someone could be kicked off a city bus, fired from their job, or denied a place to live because of their sexual orientation.

George Davis, chairman of the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations, hopes to change Springfield's status.

"People of gay, lesbian and transgendered lifestyles should have the right to do whatever they want to do. Just like me and you," Davis said.

He was the champion of an ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's discrimination ban. Currently, age, race, creed, color, disability, religion, sex, and nation origin are protected categories.

"It's an embarrassment and it's a disappointment. It's truly a sign of poor leadership. This is something that's been dealt with in the 70s. The fact that Springfield hasn't dealt with it today is inexcusable," Davis said firmly.

"We're just like everyday people. The only difference is we're loving the same sex. It's the only difference," agreed LaShaun, a transgender blonde in a flowing dress. "You know, sometimes I go shopping and stuff like that and being me, you know, you get the 'Oh that's a man, in a dress.' Whatever. Be who you are and go out and do what you do. It makes no sense to hide yourself for who you are."

The mantra for many was a phrase from a Lady Gaga hit song: Born this way. Flags with the words were held by same sex couples, buttons were passed out, and even baked treats had it written in frosting.

"To say they are 'Born that way,' it's just not true. It's just something just like anything else; they need to make the decision to act on it or not to act on it," said Brad St. Clair, evangelist with Repent and Turn. "The bible says that homosexuality is a sin. As well as adultery and fornication and lying and hatred and murder. So it's just that, that's just one sin that the bible says that those who do so will go to hell."

St. Clair held a wooded cross for most of the festival and would get all sorts of reactions for his viewpoints.

"People have come out and told us, 'Thank you, it takes a lot of boldness to stand up and be a witness to Christ.' And other people, of course they're angry," St. Clair said smiling. "Sometimes people just want to live how they want to live and they don't want to have to answer to God. I just want everyone to know that God loves them and he sent Jesus to die on the cross for their sins, so they can go to heaven."

Festival organizers were prepared for unwelcome interruptions or protesters. Springfield Police lined the square, some in uniform and others in plain clothes.

"You are going to have protesters anyways, but you know, this is a public event and we also want to welcome that too," detailed Abernathy. "We want to kind of put a face on discrimination and really make that visible. But this is a day about love, not hate."