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The overwhelmed bigot presence on Halsted Street at the close of the Gay Games has been followed-up by silence and signs of withdrawal by Peter LaBarbera and his new Southern Baptist African American hate brother, Michael Allen.

Having originally stated their intention to harass gays in front of Steamworks bath house until midnight on July 22, the bigots packed up their inferior sound system and departed after about 1 1/2 hours. In addition to being out numbered about 4 to 1 by organized protesters from GLN and the Coalition of Welcoming Churches, many passersby stopped to chant along and some threw antigay literature into the faces of downcast religious hate merchants. A little rain may have helped to further dampen the spirits of Peter LaBarbera and company.

The Illinois "Family" Institute newswire has carried no report of the LaBarbera organized "peaceful vigil" at Steamworks, and no reports on other apparently hastily organized antigay events staged during the week-long Gay Games in Chicago. LaBarbera was quick to call the Games a "flop," but it appears as if the real flop of the week was the antigay bigotry crusade.

Michael Allen's Uptown Baptist Church website hasn't been updated since he announced his "golden opportunity" to harass gays at the Games. In fact, the church's email address and Allen's personal email address have both been erased from the website! I guess they don't want a gay "witness" to intrude into their world of straight male patriarchy, where even women clergy have no place.

The IFI Gay Games fiasco comes directly on the heals of the looming likely big time defeat of the IFI campaign to get its advisory referendum on the ballot seeking to enshrine antigay hate in the Illinois Constitution.

The IFI stakes out territory on the far right in its open attacks on the rights of not only gays, but women, immigrants, workers, and African Americans; as well as backing US imperial war and threats against popular leaders like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Protesting the bigotry if the IFI and its allies is an important component in the drive to isolate and hopefully eliminate this small but currently well financed and dangerous group.

Pastor Michael Allen of Chicago's Uptown Baptist Church

Pastor Michael Allen of Chicago's Uptown Baptist Church: "Because our Lord is in charge of the fire and brimstone, however, I think we're called now to rain-down something else on this global gay parade: the love of Jesus."


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