An estimated 10,000 people turned out to celebrate Charlotte Pride yesterday, while an anti-gay protest organized by local evangelist Michael Brown and TheCall’s Lou Engle attracted about 500 participants. While the Charlotte Observer reports that the number of protesters this year was a significant over previous years, it appears to have fallen short of the thousand that the organizers had hoped for. Michael Brown insisted that his “lamb-like” protesters would remain across the street from the festival grounds, but several of his red-shirted sheep apparently were lost and were seen across the street mingling with Pride-goers spreading their anti-gay message. Charlotte police report no problems and no arrests.
The protest organizers, who dubbed their effort as “God Has A Better Way,” released a statement last night with a long list of well-worn grievances, and declaring that the push for equality “stops here in Charlotte.” At least one longtime Pride participant decided to turn that message around:
“Each year, we have groups come to our pride celebrations trying to demonstrate their message of love, saying there’s a better way or we need to change who we are, and so this year I thought, what if we go to them? I think it’s time to flip the script, so to speak,” Monica Simpson said.
In the midst of the sea of red shirts stood Simpson, a yearly pride participant.
“It allowed me to see how much work still needs to be done on this earth as we really talk about the dream that God has for us to live as one and realize we are all connected as one,” she said.