Christian group apologizes at Chicago Pride Parade

Sun. July 4, 2010 8:01 AM by Brett Anthony

nathan albert hugs a participant in the pride parade

Chicago, IL - A Christian group spent last Sunday at Chicago's 41st annual Pride Parade to offer what they call an "alternative Christian voice" from the protesters stationed at the end of the parade.

Nathan Albert, the Director of Pastoral Care for the Marin Foundation, and a group of friends from the Foundation attended the parade wearing shirts that read, "I'm sorry." They also had signs that said, "I'm sorry that Christians judge you," "I'm sorry the way churches have treated you," "I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry."

Albert writes about his experience on his blog.

"What I loved most about the day is when people ‘got it.' I loved watching people's faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you."

The 29-year-old minister says the experience brought tears to his eyes many times. "It was reconciliation personified."

Later he describes his favorite moment, when he hugged a man in his underwear, which is the title of his blog entry. "I think Jesus would have too," writes Albert.

"…he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, ‘What are you sorry for? It's pride!' I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.

Then it clicked.

Then he got it.

He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, ‘thank you.'"

Albert says the dancer, known as Tristan, has commented on his blog entry and they have been in email contact.

"We're hoping to meet up for coffee sometime soon. Small world!"

Andrew Marin founded the Marin Foundation, a Christian group whose goal is building bridges between the religious and LGBT communities. Marin has come under fire from some LGBT journalists in the past, including a 2006 Advocate article by Michelangelo Signorile.

Read Nathan Albert's whole blog post here.