In a display of solidarity against Texas’ anti-drag legislation, a church in Dallas has taken a step forward, offering prayers of support and blessings to drag queens and the LGBTQ+ community. Here’s the full story.
The Sunday Service
The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, renowned for its commitment to inclusivity, held a Sunday service on September 17th, 2023, for its diverse congregation.
A Full House
The service, hosted within the church’s auditorium capable of seating around 850 people, drew nearly a full house.
However, outside the cathedral, around 40 protesters voiced their opposition, branding the service as an “abomination” and “anti-Catholic.”
Excluded by Catholicism
Despite the criticisms, the church’s senior pastor, Rev. Neil Thomas, responded with grace, saying, “A large percentage of our congregation are people who felt excluded by Catholicism,” and he emphasized that they are not anti-Catholic.
Environment of Acceptance
The heart of the service lay in its inclusive prayers and its call for “radical inclusivity.” Pastors led the congregation in prayers that sought to create an environment of understanding and acceptance.
Drag Queens Are Victims
During the service, church leaders highlighted the challenges that drag queens often face, such as “hate and violence,” as they bravely express their true selves.
The New Bill
This inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly focus was a direct response to Texas Senate Bill 12, which aimed to ban public drag performances but was blocked by a federal judge just before its scheduled implementation on September 1st, 2023.
Banning Drag Queens
The bill sought to outlaw lewd or sexualized performances involving “accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics” in public spaces or in the presence of minors, as proposed by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Embrace Radical Inclusivity
For Rev. Neil Thomas, the passage of this bill was part of a growing trend of “persecution” targeting drag queens and trans people across the United States.
He said, “We embrace radical inclusivity and work to dismantle systems of oppression. We will fight against all forms of hate, prejudice, and intolerance.” During the service, congregants united in prayer pledging to be allies.
Despite the church’s message of inclusivity, not everyone responded with acceptance. Charlie Kirk, the founder of the group Turning Point USA, known for its close alignment with former U.S. President Donald Trump, criticized the service as “blasphemy.”
Kirk, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ views, posted a clip of the service on social media gaining widespread criticism. The Cathedral of Hope, as stated on its website, welcomes all minorities in its mission to proclaim Christ through “faith, hope, and love.”
“This Is Not a Church of God”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident. One Twitter user wrote, “That’s on that church leadership and body. Jesus would have nothing to do with them. This is not a church of god.”
Promote Their Perversion
Another user added, “It’s never been about acceptance in society, they want you to promote their perversion and normalize it in the minds of children.”
This Is Disturbing
A third user commented, “I’ve always thought that churches that do this call and response thing sound like cultists. It’s disturbing to me.”
The Book of Revelations Is Coming True
A fourth user wrote, “The book of Revelations is playing out right in front of our eyes in many ways. Sad part is, some people will fall prey to the false teachings. “Be in the world, not of the world” is a tough concept for many who are blinded or want to be seen as “acceptable” by their peers.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / PeopleImages.com – Yuri A. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.