Letter regarding Pride in the Park in Jasper, IN
Dear community and community leaders,
We write as Christians out of a spirit of goodwill who want the best for our neighbors. The Lord Jesus has commanded us to love our neighbors and work for the good of our communities. One of the ways we are taught to do this is by appealing to our neighbors to embrace truth and reject what will ultimately harm them.
In late June this year, Jasper will host the third annual Gay Pride event at a public park. For any town to allow such an event speaks to the moral degradation of the age. Homosexuality is not a matter of pride because no one should take pride in his or her sin, regardless of what that sin is. Any public support for hosting it at any publicly funded facility is to our shame.
Appeals like this are often met with cries of “homophobia,” but we all know this is an illegitimate argument. Disagreement is not hatred, and actual love is neither unconditional agreement nor unconditional approval. Actual love for our neighbor wants what is best for one another.
The dangers of homosexuality are many. It produces heartache at many levels. It correlates to massive spikes in many STDs, depression, and suicide. A community that celebrates homosexuality puts its citizens at increased risk of misery and death. We do not promote drunkenness or drug addiction because we all know the effect it has on individuals and communities. We should not promote homosexuality on similar terms.
Adding to the darkness of this event is the insistence by the promoters that it is "family friendly" and that there are specific events meant to appeal to "youth." It is well known and documented that grooming of children is a large part of the development of homosexual sin - that it is often helped along by older men and women who urge children and teens to embrace these sins. We ought to protect our youth from these practices and ideas so that they will not suffer the very real consequences outlined above. Jesus says, in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is both grace and truth. The truth that humans are lawbreakers of the law of God must be admitted and confessed, and the grace of God to forgive sins and grant eternal life is available to any who will come to God through turning from sin and trusting in the Lord Jesus by faith. God’s grace must never be used as an excuse for indulging in wickedness, for Scripture says, “God is not mocked.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” God has spoken from heaven and He is clear, rebellion against Him will never bring us near to Him. But there is the free offer of grace and forgiveness for any who will come to Him. We desire for all to have this forgiveness and appeal to you to receive it.
Christians should call for the City Parks Department to deny the event use of its facilities. God calls for the community leaders and companies who have supported it to publicly denounce it. And God calls for all churches in the area to call men to repentance.
In Christ’s love,
Joe Helt, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Jasper
Josh Lagrange, Pastor of True Vine Baptist Church of Ferdinand