Thousands of teenagers from a Christian ministry gathered in San Francisco at the weekend to rally against homosexuality and other moral corruptions they think affect their generation.
More than 20,000 teenagers converged on the city ‘s ATT baseball park to participate in “BattleCry,” a two-day extravaganza featuring Christian rock and religious inspiration and worship.
Organisers argue that the event is a way for young Christians to protest against destructive aspects of culture including homosexuality, sex on television, and violent video games.
Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania, the Texas-based ministry behind BattleCry, said:
“All the stuff that’s being rammed down their throats, it’s pillaging and raping this young generation of any virtue,” according to The Associated Press.
“They’re saying ‘we’re tired, we’re going to shape our culture in a different way,’” he added.
However, many officials in San Francisco, one of the most liberal cities in America, protested against the event because of its explicit condemnation of homosexuality.
Aaron Peskin, the board’s president, called BattleCry “reckless and irresponsible”.
“We need to increase understanding of our human differences, not teach our kids to be suspicious and hateful towards people unlike them,” he said.
San Francisco gay rights groups also expressed concern about the event.
Thom Lynch, the executive director of the Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Centre, accepted that:
“When you’re in a city where there’s every viewpoint under the sun, and you’re working with a group for whom there can be only one viewpoint, and never any compromise, you’re going to have a clash of ideals,” according to The Associated Press.
But Luce remains adamant that the ministry’s message will prevail.
“The Bible teaches us homosexuality’s harmful and is a sin, period,” he said.
“There’s lots of documentation that homosexuals have shorter life spans, and are more prone to suicide and depression, so it’s not very loving of us to let them stay in that situation.”
18-year-old Charlotte Hamilton, who helped organise this year’s BattleCry, told AP that last year’s event transformed her life and steered her away from drugs, alcohol and sex.
“It’s nothing but a message of hope, of love, of joy, of how you can progress out of the rut you’re in,” she said.
“We definitely invite anyone who has any kind of confusion or misconception about the BattleCry message to check it out.”