Sacramento’s Slavic Evangelicals Are a Vocal Foe to Homosexual Activism

Excerpted from For Gays, a Loud New Foe, by Rone Tempest, published Oct 14, 2006, in Los Angeles Times:

Organizers of the annual Rainbow Festival [sponsor list]were prepared for trouble.

The Q Crew, a local “queer/straight alliance,” distributed cards telling people what to do if approached by hostile demonstrators. Sympathetic local church groups formed a protective buffer along the festival ground’s cyclone fence. Mounted police were on patrol.

Jerry Sloan manned a table for Stand Up for Sacramento, a recently formed gay self-defense organization.

“So far, so good,” he said. “No Russians.

The festival, held last month amid the gay bars, restaurants and shops of midtown’s “Lavender Heights” neighborhood, went off without conflict. But the elaborate security preparations reflected growing tensions between Sacramento gays and the city’s large and vociferous community of fundamentalist Christians from the former Soviet Union.

Over the last 18 months, Sacramento Russian-language church members have picketed gay pride events, jammed into legislative committee meetings when gay issues were on the agenda and demonstrated at school board meetings.

Incited by firebrand Russian Pentacostal pastors and polemical Russian-language newspapers, the fundamentalists turn out en masse for state Capitol protest rallies.

Last June, urging readers to attend a massive rally, the Russian newspaper the Speaker told them:

Make a choice. It’s your decision.

Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking:

“Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?”

…The Sacramento community…s overwhelmingly evangelical — Baptist and Pentecostalist. The charismatic Pentacostal church, introduced in the Ukraine in the 1920s by missionary and martyr Ivan Efimovich Vornaev, includes speaking in tongues and washing of feet. The churches’ social views are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.”The main issues in the Russian community here,” said Vitaly Prokopchuk, a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy, “are gay issues, abortion issues and family-definition issues. To these people, these issues are very cut-and-dry in the Bible.“…Leaders of the religious right…celebrate the Russian efforts as a revival.

“My hope and my prayer,” said Mark Matta, a former legislative aide who heads the Christian Public Awareness Ministries, “is that they will become a voice in the wilderness for the rest of the country.”

“It’s not only about homosexuality. It’s also about drinking, about premarital sex and about drugs,” Prokopchuk [Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy]said. “Some of these people even regret coming here because they have a feeling they are losing their kids.”

“Honestly, I’m scared for the kids,” Bugriyev [a mother] said. “We have a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old. I’m scared that when they go to school they will be in a class where they are taught it is OK for a man to sleep with another man. We are thinking that after another five years, we will move back to Moldova.”

“We feel the American church already lost the battle 20 years ago by remaining silent,” said Victor Chernyetsky, 47, a Soviet-trained engineer who serves as administrator for the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church. “We can’t remain silent. There are a lot of sins.”

Continue reading in Los Angeles Times …

This article was posted on Saturday, October 14th, 2006 at 1:27 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, Baptist, C - Heroes for Truth, GLBTQ Targeting Youth and Schools, Pentacostal. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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