Christians Calling for Queers to ’Convert’ Chased Out of Castro

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Nov 17, 2008

Across the nation, GLBT Americans appalled at the loss of family rights for California's gay and lesbian families have come out in force to protest, mounting a number of mostly peaceful demonstrations. But in the heart of San Francisco's gay Castro neighborhood, a group of anti-gay Christians encountered an impromptu counter-demonstration that led to police intervention.

As reported by California news station KTVU in a Nov. 14 story, anti-gay Christian demonstrators have made Friday nights their habitual time to appear in the Castro, attempting to sell so-called "conversion" to heterosexuality to the neighborhood's gay denizens.

In the wake of a bruising campaign and a devastating loss of family rights with the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that rewrites the California constitution and revokes the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, the state's GLBT community has been roiled with anger, shock, and hurt.

The presence of anti-gay Christians in the heart of a traditionally gay neighborhood was too much for some; the KTUV story said that the religious demonstrators were practically chased out.

However, neighborhood gays said that the religious protesters were not subjected to any violence.

The article quoted Joe Schmitz, who said, "Their rights were respected."

Added Schmitz, "They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood."

Many of the protests against the passage of the anti-gay ballot initiative that have taken place across the country have been organized in advance, but the San Francisco event was not, according to those who were there.

Said Adam Quintero, "It was not an organized thing. We're tired of it. It's not religious."

Continued Quintero, "It's not a racial thing.

"....We're trying to send a message across the world that we're standing up and we don't want this to go on anymore."

San Francisco GLBT leaders did, however, organize a protest scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15, the article said.

The city's police arrived at the scene, clad in riot gear, and ensured that the demonstrators left peacefully.

Religion and religious groups played a huge part in the saga of Proposition 8, with religiously based coalitions trucking hundreds of thousands of "Yes on 8" yard signs into the state, and members of the Mormon faith funneling a reported $22 million into California to fund TV and radio advertisements claiming that young children would be told about same-sex marriage in school and the freedom to worship would be stripped from people of faith who opposed marriage equality.

Nothing in state law or the state Supreme Court decision that, last May, struck down state laws barring marriage equality as unconstitutional supported those claims, said marriage rights supporters.

In the aftermath of the amendment's passage, 18,000 California families remain uncertain what the ballot initiative's success at the ballot box means for their marriages; countless thousands of others now have been legally locked out of marriage rights.

Mormon and Catholic officials sought to distance themselves from the damage. Said a PR rep for Bay Area Mormons, Don Eaton, "The church only encourages people to vote their conscience."

The Mormon leadership had instructed its followers to support the anti-marriage measure; Eaton characterized this as a matter of "doctine," saying, "The church also reminded us what our doctrine is with regards to marriage between a man and a woman." Eaton said that the church did not force any of its membership to contribute financially to the amendment's supporters.

GLBT Americans and civil rights groups have reacted to the revocation of family rights in California through legal means as well as social ones, with several lawsuits having been filed to overturn the amendment.

The argument used in the latest suit, brought by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Equal Justice Society, Mexican American Legal Defense, and the NAACP, seeks reversal of the amendment on the grounds that it goes beyond roadblocking potential rights, and rescinds existing rights.

The Equal Justice Society's Eva Paterson was quoted in the report as saying, "People of color need to stand up for the LGBT community."

Added Paterson, "We think civil rights groups that represent people of color say it's very dangerous for the California electorate to take away constitutionally guaranteed rights."

Within a few days of the state's gay and lesbian families seeing their rights revoked at the ballot box, angry posts appeared at online GLBT sites such as Christian Web sites instantly began to disseminate stories that gays and lesbians were widely promulgating violence against Christians, relying on carefully culled sections taken from a handful of posts.

JoeMyGod and other GLBT sites scrubbed hate language from their reader forum areas, and called for calm and respectful discourse, but received coarse and threatening messages from correspondents reacting to the stories.

In a Nov. 7 article, JoeMyGod reported having received this letter:

"you making threats Joe? Why did you faggots not target a mosque??? You fucking cowards. You fucking faggot fruitcake cum guzzler ass Aids Bitch."

Added the correspondent, "You sick Freak. Violence will not work. The people of the USA don;t [sic] like fags like you bullying people."


JoeMyGod also reported that right-wing Christian leader Matt Barber, one of the main Christian commentators who had claimed that gays were calling for violence to be done to people of faith, appeared in Chicago at a counter-rally where an anti-Prop 8 demonstration was scheduled to take place.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2008-11-17 19:55:22

    God, Melloy, how many times in one article can you twist the truth by calling it the "loss of family rights?" No matter how many times you push the party line that Prop 8 "rewrote the Constitution to revoke the rights of homosexuals to marry," serious and fair minded people also recognize that Prop 8 answered a question posed to the electorate by four of the seven sitting justices of the state Supreme Court, and as such is a response to unwarranted judicial activism. Your constant demagoguing of this issue daily betrays you as nothing but a partisan propagandist who abuses language pimp the radical line.

  • , 2008-11-18 07:27:26

    November 14, 2008I went to the Castro (the homosexual district of San Francisco) like we usually do on Friday nights.Normally, we sit on 18th and Castro, and someone plays the guitar, and we all worship God.Sometimes a person will yell at us, or maybe a few. Sometimes people will ignore us. Sometimes people will let us pray with them.This time was not a normal night. It was the first time we’d been back in the Castro to do our normal outreach since California Proposition 8, which defined marriage as "one man with one woman" was passed. We played the guitar and sang together and worshiped the Lord. After just singing and worshiping God for a while, Roger decided that we should all hold hands in a circle and continue singing. So we did.Someone (Actually a person who came up and hugged and kissed some of us who he knew from the past) convinced some people that we were there to protest against the no on 8 campaign.Then some guy who was dressed up like one of the sisters (The sisters of perpetual indulgence is a group of men who dress up like nuns and call themselves the spiritual authority of the Castro.) took a curtain-type thing (Which I think they use to curse people) and wrapped it around us.Then a crowd started gathering. We began to sing "Amazing Grace", and basically sang that song the whole night. (At some points we also sang "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" and "Oh the Blood of Jesus".) At first, they just shouted at us, using crude, rude, and foul language and calling us names like "haters" and "bigots". Since it was a long night, I can’t even begin to remember all of the things that were shouted and/or chanted at us. Then, they started throwing hot coffee, soda and alcohol on us and spitting (and maybe even peeing) on us. Then, a group of guys surrounded us with whistles, and blasted them inches away from our ears continually. Then, they started getting violent and started shoving us. At one point a man tried to steal one of our Bibles. Chrisdene noticed, so she walked up to him and said "Hey, that’s not yours, can you please give it back?". He responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her. I called the cops, and when they got there, they pulled her out of the circle and asked her if she wanted to press charges. She said "No, tell him I forgive him." Afterwards, she didn’t rejoin us in the circle, but she made friends with one of the people in the crowd, and really connected heart to heart. Roger got death threats. As the leader of our group, people looked him in the eyes and said "I am going to kill you.", and they were serious. A cop heard one of them, and confronted him. (This part is kinda graphic, so you should skip the paragraph if you don’t want to be offended.) It wasn’t long before the violence turned to perversion. They were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants - basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them. Soon after, the cops came and stood between us and the mob. When it was getting more heated, the cops were like "You guys should leave." and Roger said "We want to stay." Someone tried to steal my backpack, but I tapped a cop on the shoulder, and said "Hey, that’s my bag." and he got it from him and gave it to me. Others weren’t so lucky. Probably half our team got their jackets stolen. Eventually, as the crowd was getting more and more uncontrollable, the cops were afraid for our lives, so they escorted us to our van. (The cops were very nice to us from start to finish.) Our van was parked pretty far because it was hard to find parking that day. As the cops escorted us, the mob followed us, until the cops formed a line, and held off the people so we could drive away. We took the long way home, just in case anyone tried to follow us. When we got home, we prayed and sang more, and then prayed over each-other. Please know my heart. All of what we do is for the Love of Jesus Christ, and the love for those in the Castro. The Bible says to love God, and then love people. We can only love because He loved us first. We can’t hate the people because they are just broken and blinded by the spirit of this age. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers. It’s not a political thing, we just love the people. This is the raw footage of the walk from 18th and Castro Street to our car. It was only the very tail end of the night and says that we were all about prop8... when in reality we had nothing to do with prop 8 this night.:

  • , 2008-11-18 09:42:16

    The Castro does not want to hear or see anything that pertains to Religion! It does not mean the do not believe in God or Christ they are angry and just sick of being called names like in the article above! People you just do not understand! Most of you have no clue what we the Gyas Of America have gone through when Christianity begun! Before then we were as normal as apple pie! The religion came into light and Men wrote the Books Called the Bible and Many others and added things that were not and ARE NOt the words OF GOD or CHRIST!The Mormons Came along and want to convert the whole world into there strange and hard swallow beliefs! Religion has been the Fall of many Empires and Many deadly wars even today! Every human being in America ahs the right to Choose there faith or no Faith ( Athiest)The Children learning about Homosexuality is not wrong! It is not going to make them a Homosexual! Gay Marriage is not going to Corrupt or mislead our Children! It only teaches them about LOVE! Teahces them were all Gods Children and they willgrow up with respect and understanding of those who are differant and most likely not even think about it twice! But Religion is teaching there Children to HATE GAYS! The same with Bloacks and Asians and Jewish People and the list goes on and on of the prejudice here in America and the World!The Mormon Leaders are famous for lying for I grew up as one and live in Salt Lake City Utah! They said thet did not force there Members to donate! Bull! They pressure there members very hard into donating there money as well as the Church forced the there California Students to call there family and friends or face suspension! My Brother works at BYU!Everyone should have left California ALONE! Big deal if Gays want to get Married! It does not Change anything for the Hetrosexual Marriage! People are going overboard and Religion is getting the just punishment for sticking there nose into Politics!In America I bet there is close to or over 500 Miliion or more Homosexuals in America and they are voters, hard working, tax payers, Very Smart, Artists of all types! Desighners, the list goes on and on and they have given us Culture, beauty, Art, fashion, Hair and make up artists, Singers, Dancers, Actors and Much,Much, More! De Vince, Michael Angelo, Beehtoven, Vasachi the list goe on and on from thousands of years ago until today and this Country nor the world would not have the Wnderful things we ALL LOVE it was not for the Gays of the world today and of the days of old!Most Important of all Gays know hoe to LOVE and they are not afraid to express there Love!One day we will be the Majority Just like the Latinos in America and we will have full power right along the rest that were persecuted for being different! Just give them what they want and leave them alone and they will leave you alone! IS Equallity to Much to ask for????

  • , 2008-11-18 09:51:59


  • , 2008-11-18 22:10:43

    Lying? Who’s lying to whom? You say "anti-gay Christian demonstrators?" "Queers"? What Christians called anyone "queers"? That’s not what the video shows and that wasn’t the purpose of those gatherings. It wasn’t even a demonstration! The purpose of that gathering, as always, was to sing & pray and make available a certain religious message for those passing by who might be interested. (If you don’t like it, or want, don’t buy it).It’s called Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Public property is just that -- public property.YOU DO NOT ATTACK ANYONE -- no matter who they are, especially if it’s a bunch of naive, young, teens to twenty-something-year-olds, hanging out on a PUBLIC street corner singing "Amazing Grace." And that’s what happened.This was horrendous. The hypocrisy of screaming about civil rights, while violently denying the civil rights of others is abhorrent. If the cops would not have arrived you would have had a few dead Christians in my opinion, or worse, and I do mean or WORSE.You think that helps you at all? Seriously, think again. This was the worst think that could have been done for the gay cause.R.A

  • , 2008-11-21 15:36:39

    Message to LDS leaders and the followers who poured their money into Prop 8: Keep spouting your hate. I welcome it, because we will win. I may have to wait a few years to obtain basic legal dignity, but at least I have human dignity and the pride of knowing that I treat others with respect. The political backlash against Mormons (and the Marriott chain) is completely justified. They jumped into the political fray and are now saying they should not get burned. Mark my words: this is the beginning of a long public relations disaster for them, even greater than the disgusting practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims. Message to those "praying" in the Castro then claiming victimhood: get a life. Folks were yelling at you because you deserved to be yelled at. You were clearly scared, but thankfully not hurt. Now don’t come back now, y’hear.

  • Kyle, 2008-11-26 12:50:36

    I love the fact that they’re trying to "sell" heterosexuality. Um, what’s it worth if I convert? *grin*

  • , 2008-12-07 12:42:43

    They went looking for a fight and they found one. They (christians) were pushing THEIR lifestyle on others and the rest of us are sick of it already.

  • beltwaymike, 2009-01-01 22:51:13

    The so-called "Christians" in the Castro were not Christians.They were supporters of a group, Joel’s Army, that calls for the execution of homosexuals. The group also calls for the overthrow of the U.S. Constitution and the suppression of U.S. places of worship -- Christian or otherwise -- that are contrary to their own God-given beliefs.

  • , 2009-01-05 05:17:55

    It is sad to read the hater delude himself about what he and his minion were actually doing. I was across the street at the Starbucks as this all unfolded, having passed by just before the unwashed mob purporting to be Christians started "bumping" people off of the sidewalk into traffic at the busiest intersection in the neighborhood on a Friday night. The people with the bibles were filthy, wearing dirty clothes, smelling like they hadn’t bathed in days, perhaps weeks. They were who unfurled a large cloth sheet, blocking the busiest intersection’s corner, putting pedestrians at risk of being hit by a car. The only aggression was by the people singing Amazing Grace, who started shaking one of their bibles at the beloved Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, possibly hitting the sister before the bible was taken away from the aggressor. The group of haters was trying to take away the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s freedom of worship while claiming to be victims religious intolerance. Go figure. The police sent paddy wagons to round these people up after these haters shoved pedestrians into the street while cars were going by. A crowd had amassed and began chanting, "go home, go home, go home, go home!" These haters claiming to be victimized Christian missionaries are like the Catholic bishops and cardinals who pimped out children, or the Mormon church who ignores the rape of 11 and 12 year old girls under the guise of marriage by 50 and 60 year old men in splinter sects of their faith. All twist lies about being the oppressed and persecuted by outsiders while committing atrocious abominations within their fold. The haters cited "Sodom" as to why gays should repent. The story of Sodom and Gomorra is of a man named Lot who preferred to offer his daughters be raped by out of town men rather than these visitors having sex with consenting men of Sodom. After fleeing the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s daughters get their father drunk before each of them having sex with him. So the story of Sodom and Gomorra is that rape and incest is preferable to sodomy? I’ll take consensual sodomy any day before that! The lies in this hater’s reporting is like the Catholic Church’s attempt to say that homosexuality was what caused the Catholic priests to molest children, ignoring the fact that the majority of the children were GIRLS, not boys. It was used as a smoke screen to hide the worst atrocity: Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals were transferring priests they knew were molesting children from parish to parish to parish where the horror was visited upon still more innocent, unknowing children. Why is Cardinal Law in Rome rather than a US prison? There is written evidence he covered up this for years, letting it continue with his help. With the Mormon church, why didn’t the church use millions of its members’ money to stop the rape of young Mormon girls in its splinter sects? With other conservative evangelists, why can’t they see the wooden post in their and their brethren’s eyes fore the splinter in the loving gay and lesbian’s eye? How many more televangelist’s arrest with a prostitute after stealing their congregant’s funds need to happen before it becomes clear that the core of their institutions and their leaders is rotten, despite the members who are tolerant and love their neighbor? The gay community does not want to impose gay sex on heterosexuals, why do "Christians" want to impose their religious view of marriage and relationships, not to mention the practice of their religion upon people who are not their members? Would they welcome overtly gay and lesbian people in their temples with the same lack of violence they enjoyed while coming and telling people that they are abominations in God’s eyes? The same verses promote the acceptance of slavery and the sale of one’s daughters (it’s called child prostitution today) that condemn man lying with man. Is this the God these haters purport to love?

  • , 2009-06-19 10:00:40

    Well I was there, the statement above the Christians made did happen, the grabbing and trying to pull one of the guys pants down was to intimidate and demoralize, not rape, it was a violation but not to rape more to scare, and fight what was considered bigotry right or wrong you decide but it did happen, hot coffee was thrown on some girls faces, accidently maybe but happened, we don’t have to cover up facts, it became mob violence-crazy anyways

  • , 2009-06-19 15:51:29

    There are way too many anonymous posts here for me to take any account of this

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