Religious groups picketing the LGBT pride parade has been the norm everywhere every year. They hold their signs and Bibles and stand on the sidelines shouting “Repent!” or “Sinners will go to hell!” as proud members of the LGBT community sashay down the street, leaving nothing but rainbows and glitter behind.
But this year at the Metro Manila Pride March, it was a bit different.
Pastor Val Palmiñano and a members from the Freedom in Christ Ministry, “an inclusive and LGBT affirming church where Jesus is Lord,” attended the 23rd Pride March in Marikina City on June 24 and instead of spreading hate, they shared the message of love.
Pastor Val held his sign that said, “I used to be a Bible-banging homophobe, sorry!”, while his churchmates held signs that said “God adores you” and “I’m sorry Christians have shunned you.”
Jessica Bartolome of GMA News snapped a photo of Palmiñano and his crew:
The Freedom in Christ Ministries apologizes to members of the LGBT community in behalf of churches who condemn them pic.twitter.com/PCb65VLDMb
— Jessica Bartolome (@jacbartolome) June 24, 2017
“We’re here to tell the LGBT community that we love them. Not all churches condemn them, there are churches like ours who accept them as they are,” Palmiñano told GMA News Online. “In behalf of those churches, we are so sorry.”
Some participants of the Pride March paused to thank — and even hug — Palmiñano’s group.
According to the pastor’s profile from the Freedom in Christ Ministry website, Palmiñano grew up in a religious environment and struggled with his sexuality for years. After realizing that he only needs to please God and not people, he now continues to share love and hope to bring more members of the LGBTQ community closer to God.
Palmiñano’s profile reads, “As a gay pastor, he is also passionate of bringing gays and lesbians to the kingdom of God and introduce them to Christ and be a member of God’s family.”
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