News (World)

Anti-LGBTQ+ Christians stop traffic & destroy rainbow crosswalk

Anti-LGBTQ+ Christians stop traffic & destroy rainbow crosswalk

A church group in New Zealand made a big show of stopping traffic on a major thoroughfare on Monday and painting over a rainbow crosswalk after the city refused to bow to their threats and cancel a drag event.

Pastor for the evangelical Destiny Church, Brian Tamaki, issued an ultimatum to the mayor of Gisborne warning her to cancel a planned drag storytime at the local library by 5 p.m.

When she refused, church members stopped traffic behind signs and used rollers to paint over the rainbow crosswalk in white.

The affirming street crossing on Gladstone Road was a familiar feature in the shopping district since 2021.

Church members clad in black held signs equating drag with pornography and demanding “drags stop sexualizing our children!”

Tamaki has been “on tour” in New Zealand over several months, moving “town by town and city by city” through the island nation, spreading a message of hate in a campaign to “Make NZ, NZ Again!”

A meme on his X page described the vandalism as “new Easter roadway art.”

Police were called to the scene, and amid a scrum of press, several of the crosswalk vandals were arrested.

Tamaki denounced the arrests and charges of “preparing to commit crime in a public place.”

“What a joke!” he declared on X as he reveled in the coverage.

The self-described “apostle” and “bishop” of his own church called his followers “a rare breed, who continue to stand with me, whenever the call is made.” Tamaki did not stand with his followers as they were arrested, zip-tied, and carted off to jail.

They are “the bravest people I know,” Tamaki added.

The Rainbow Storytime event went on as planned, featuring drag performers Erika and Coco Flash reading books to an audience of young people. The Gisborne event was advertised for ages 16 and up.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz “strongly condemned” the vandalism and assured the public that Tamaki and Destiny Church members would be held accountable.

“We accept that people hold different views. However, there is no place for hate or bigotry in Tairāwhiti,” she said in a statement, using the ancestral name of the Gisborne area.

“We will be reinstating the rainbow crossing as quickly as we can,” she said following the vandalism. On Tuesday, the rainbow crosswalk was restored.

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