Christian youths gather for rally in San Francisco, decry gay lifestyle

first_imgIndeed, protesters were nowhere in sight Saturday as Christian rock bands and religious speakers roused the audience at AT&T Park, bringing them to their feet in song and prayer. Not surprisingly, however, passing motorists gave no signs of support – or car honks – as rally participants held up a large banner decrying “Homosexuality is sin” on the busy street outside the stadium. “People are welcome to come to the city to celebrate whatever, but I think they’re dead wrong,” said Thom Lynch, executive director of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center. “And I feel sorry for some of the youth there that they’re being inculcated with a religious belief that doesn’t allow for any variances … at all.” The rally could have almost passed as any modern-day lollapalooza for teens – complete with entrepreneurs hawking “BattleCry” baseball caps and activists seeking signatures for a petition to support the First Amendment, namely the “freedom of religion.” But the impromptu prayer circles and arms raised in praise from church groups entering the stadium stood in contrast to the glamorized sex-and-drug culture that event organizers say are harming today’s youth. One rallygoer, Edward Sanares, the leader of a church youth group from Sunnyvale, found the spiritual rally uplifting. “It’s showing choices teens have to make in this society and that they should choose God,” he said. More than 20,000 people were registered to attend the two-day rally. It was BattleCry’s second appearance in two years. Last year’s inaugural event in the city known for its ultraliberal politics and gay marriages did spark some protests. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors had even passed a resolution condemning the “act of provocation” by an “anti-gay,” “anti-choice” organization that aimed to “negatively influence the politics of America’s most tolerant and progressive city.” This year, Lynch said, “it’s live and let be. After all, that’s what San Francisco is all about.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN FRANCISCO – Cheerful roars could be heard a block away from the downtown ballpark Saturday, and it had nothing to do with a Barry Bonds homer. The enthusiasm poured from thousands of Christian youths who had gathered – in one of the most permissive corners of the nation – for a rally to call for moral change and to decry homosexuality. Despite the strategic location for the two-day BattleCry event, the evangelical fanfare continued its final day Saturday without any fierce clashes. “I think we’ll just be able to do our thing today,” said Jeanine Rhoden, a spokeswoman for Teen Mania, the Texas-based ministry behind the extravaganza. last_img

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