The theme for this photo essay is love. God's love, gay love, and perhaps something in between.
There was no greater example of how diverse and just damn crazy New York City can be than yesterday, June 26, 2005. Within hours of each other, I saw the Gay Pride Parade
and Billy Graham's
last crusade. Here are some photos of both.
The first thing one needs to know about gay pride is that it's colorful. These guys and gals know how to decorate a minivan.
The most important thing to know about gay pride events is that your eyes can lie to you. That hot girl you're seeing might not be a girl at all. Chances are, if she is, she's not interested in what you can offer anyway. This can be a frustrating experience.
Even the all-American apple pie white picket fence institution of cheerleading is available to you at the gay pride parade.
Even the manly macho institution of biking has it's gay contingent
. Nothing is safe from you trying to run away from homosexuals. Beware!
There are even gay cows! Or at least guys (I think) dressed up as one.
But it's not all fun and games. While most of America has moved past the issue, the gay pride movement is bringing the cause of AIDS
front and center.
Mama Jean, who apparently was involved in the Stonewall incident
years ago, was the grand marshal of the parade. When I took this picture, she said "what do you want?" Nice lady.
Nothing says New York like a guy in a wheelchair with a "I Love Oral Sex" t-shirt. He's talking to a very well built guy with a wig on. See those arms? You go tell him he's a faggot and shouldn't have rights. I dare you.
Politics was a part of things. Mike Bloomberg had supporters there...
...as did Freddy Ferrer. After one person dropped one of the Ferrer signs, one of these guys in this group said "you should have dropped the American flag". Nice.
I learned a lot from this parade. Gay people are nice. They are like friendly Grizzly Bears.
It was a fun time. I even got hit on. The guy had a good, unassuming opening line (he asked about my camera phone) but ultimately had no game. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
One thing's for sure, I wasn't going to get hit on by a guy at my afternoon event...the final Billy Graham crusade. Evangelical Christians from around the tri-state area filled up northwestern Queens.
It took place near Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows Park
Immediately, I noticed a different style to this event. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was different...oh I know, if someone looked like a woman here, they probably were one.
There were tons and tons of friendly people to talk to.
Just like the gay pride parade, people got dressed up (although with a little less flair..yeah that's handwriting on an undershirt).
They even had protestors (something I didn't see at the pride event). I have to be honest with you, I can't tell if this group is for Israel or against it. I wasn't in the mood to find out. This lady said "god bless you" to me, so she's OK in my book.
The crusade took place near the 1964 World's Fair
site, known most recently as the spaceship from Men In Black.
The place was packed. Thousands and thousands of people.
This is about as close as I got to Billy Graham. I was stuck in the overflow section.
One of the highlights of the crusade was a Christian rock band called MercyMe
. They brought the house down...or maybe I should say up...with some of their songs. Michael W. Smith also performed.
It was really hot...90 degrees...making some people retreat off into the shade.
No matter how far away we were, people were pumped to see Billy Graham. He was the main event.
Graham gave a sermon on the end of the world. It was a fitting topic for what may be his last crusade. He said "you never know when your last day will be...you may never know how much more time there is to turn to God." He then invited people up to dedicate their faith.
It was a nice sermon. It reminded me of when I saw Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. I knew he was past his prime...but I also knew there wouldn't be another like him anytime soon.
Not everyone was happy to see Billy Graham though. There were some people bashing him. But it wasn't a bunch of liberals doing it. It was some sort of strange sect of Christians from California
calling themselves "a true church".
There's nothing wrong with your screen. This sign says "God Caused Tsunami". To the credit of the Billy Graham crusaders, they started arguing with these guys. I'm glad they did. Otherwise, I would have a hard time convincing my friends that not all Christians are annoying.
There's a nice photo of the World Trade Center in flames on their splashpage right now. Yeah, that makes me want to go to church. Nice job. If you don't mind, I'll stick my with my nice feel-good church
This guy, using Bible passages and a loving heart, said something along the lines of "you are an f'ing idiot". He did it using slightly different language though.
The Californian Christian was being grilled by a cute blonde from Arkansas (tried to get photos of her, but they didn't come out). Anyway, they were arguing the passage that suggested it would be better to pluck out one's eye than to sin.
He responded by saying he considered getting a vasectomy at one time to prevent him from sexual temptation. Way to go guy. You're not going to pick up ladies with that line.
Although chances are there's at least one guy at the gay pride event who might have been into that.
Finally, the cops got sick of these guys trying to start a Jesus freak riot in the park and kicked them out.
Well, after a long day, it was time to go home. I saw the extremes of New York today. After experiencing it all, I think I'll go back and hang out with some moderates for a while.
I wonder how many other people went to both events?
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