Repent Amarillo Targeted Northside Church – Watch How They Respond #NSFW

A week before Pittsburgh Pridefest, members of Repent Amarillo were spotted protesting outside of Community Presbyterian Church in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I just found the 50 minute “street preach” video and it is both sad and amusing. It is also something people are going to underestimate.  This is #NSFW because of the language.

Repent Amarillo
A member of the community offers Eric Moure hospitality which he declines, citing fears of being poisoned.

(content note – this video is filled with anti-LGBTQ hate rhetoric couched in religious terms. it is intense.)

The slightly older mostly white congregation responded with humor and maturity in the face of a very long spiel filled with hate and vitriol. Eric Moure is the preacher in this video and he recently purchased a home in White Oak with his wife. I’m not sure why they seem to be targeting Pittsburgh, but I expect we’ll be seeing more of Repent Amarillo. You can follow his YouTube channel link to see more of what he posted from Pittsburgh over the past few years.

Various members of the congregation and the neighborhood confront these men, sometimes with anger and sometimes with humor. Several pose for photos. Many introduce themselves. Moure is willing to give his first name, but refuses to shake hands with anyone who might be LGBTQ. One woman offers him a glass of juice and he declines, citing concern it might be laced with cyanide. He questions people’s gender identity and is quite fixated on someone wearing Mardi Gras beads as well as the fact that one person smokes a cigarette on the church steps. He repeatedly tells the slightly older congregants that their time on earth is near and they probably missed their chance to repent.

At the 44 minute mark, a passerby in a very sad twist of irony calls him a “fucking asshole” and then “faggot” apparently not picking up on the larger point at play here.

So why give these haters attention? Because an amateur doesn’t preach for 50 minutes, deftly handling every single verbal thrust and parry with ease. This is someone who is practiced and professional. And probably well-funded. By whom? That’s the big question isn’t it? Ignoring well-funded hate tied to a larger agenda is unwise. There’s a grey area between ignoring and engaging – finding that happy middle is our challenge, friends. And I worked in gospel radio for a spell so I know the distinction between an amateur earnest bumbling fool and someone who is practiced, on-message and prepared. If you compare the “old” Repent Amarillo social media with the “new”, you see the differences – they are wearing “preach gear” and have a higher quality printed signage. Did you those there’s an entire industry around preach gear? I wonder what future generations will think when they find these items in our remains?

The other question is why this church? There are much larger LGBTQ welcoming and friendly congregations in the City. Is it because this church hosts Judah Fellowship – an actual LGBTQ congregation? Is it because it is located in a predominantly African-American and working class neighborhood? That’s worth pondering.

What we learn from this video is that offering Moure kindness seems to get under his skin. Offering to shake his hand throws him a little or at least redirects him briefly. He studies municipal ordinances well enough to push back when the police approach him, but he’s a little misguided on the concept of assault. When casually touched, he threatens lawsuits which is not how the law works.  That’s a weak link in his otherwise well-prepared armor. Perhaps that’s why they send him out on these solo missions – to brush up his skills.

There is one other important lesson. These folks are tenacious. It takes tenacity to preach at this level of intensity for nearly an hour. He continues long after everyone heads into the worship service. That’s when the real pathos sets in – screaming at empty streets.

I showed this video to several local leaders. As I suspected, they brushed it off as just another thing that happens “too often.” That’s not much of a response. While not knowing how to respond or what to do about it is fair enough, dismissing it as just one of those things is how we end up with people being hurt or in jail. Or worse.

Pridefest should have taught us that we can’t turn a blind eye to this hatred. We have to educate ourselves about our enemies and take appropriate action to ensure that people understand how the range of responses they can consider – not just say “let it go, sis” without any guidance.  And that’s why I decided to publish the video. We must stop pretending that because this is hard to watch that we can just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Again, I ask “Why did they pick this church?”

Again, I ask “Who is funding this group and why did they pick Pittsburgh for their focus?”

Those are key questions.

Watching 50 minutes of hate preaching is not easy. Skip to the 20 minute mark for a glimpse into how leaders like Reverent Janet Edwards respond – in faith – to this invasion of their worship community. At the 14 minute mark, you’ll see two local police officers responding to calls from neighbors. That’s instructive as well.

Repent Amarillo defenders often try to post comments on this blog when I mention them. Comments are moderated so don’t waste your time – I won’t approve them. I’m well versed in First Amendment law, too 🙂