by Eric Folkmire
GROSSE POINTE – Dozens of LGBT and allied people filled the Grosse Pointe War Memorial on March 25 to protest the message of Mission America organizer Linda Harvey. Point of Relevance, an anti-gay Christian group, hosted the event in part to try and persuade Grosse Pointe Public Schools to ban National Day of Silence.
The event’s centerpiece was slated to be a presentation by Harvey titled “Homosexuality: Is the Debate Over?” But that all changed when Harvey saw a crowd wearing pink triangles and rainbow ribbons. Instead of a Power Point, she talked at length about the joys of Jesus Christ and why she believes the gay lifestyle is “just wrong.” After several requests to give her original presentation, the reason many had come to the event, she finally did present a portion of it. Harvey claimed that she had originally scrapped the presentation because she did not believe that it would be received “civilly.”
Among her speaking points, Harvey claimed that heterosexual marriage has become a form of bigotry according to the LGBT community. Harvey made it clear that she does not believe that homosexuality occurs naturally. She specifically targeted the bisexual and transgendered communities, saying that they “scream choice.”
Point of Relevance had hoped to “talk about relevant issues from a biblical perspective,” according to member Allison Lorkowski. Harvey’s presentation was religiously centered, though her religious education is minimal. She admitted at one point during her presentation to having only lasted half a semester at a Lutheran seminary.
The protest brought a large number of LGBT advocates, including Scott Jarboe of Grosse Pointe. “I’m here to open hearts and minds and get an understanding of where people are coming from who feel like the best thing for the world is to create hate and bigotry,” Jarboe said, adding that he wanted to make sure the LGBT community was heard. “The solution to hate speech is more speech.”
Also from Grosse Pointe were allies Jim and Sue Lalis. They were there to support the rights of their daughter, and also to bring an allied biblical perspective. “We know a lot about scripture and are here to enlighten people,” Jim said.
Alicia Skillman, director of the Triangle Foundation, was in attendance to protest as well. She warned against taking Point of Relevance’s preaching to heart. “People didn’t know they were coming from a biblical perspective,” she said after the presentation. “But from a biblical perspective, the Bible is the word of a perfect being filtered through imperfect beings, and we need to be careful of this view being skewed.”
There were times when the attendees voiced their disapproval and frustration with Harvey’s presentation. The tension became so great at one point that she threatened not to proceed with her talk. After the event’s conclusion, Chris Vella said, “I wish that our group would have listened a little more, because you can’t argue a point unless you learn the other point of view.”