The Illawarra Mercury reports…
“Illawarra-based evangelists have shattered the peace at a gay pride event in a small Victorian town after they arrived with bibles in hand and preached – fire-and-brimstone style – against homosexuality.
The community gathering was intended as a peaceful show of support for same-sex couple Gary Hayward and Andy Stevens who were targeted by one of the preachers in an earlier exchange at the men’s Yackandandah store, Buddha Shop.
But the event turned heated with the arrival of three preachers, Matthew Bagnall, David Sester and Isaac Daniel, whose social media profiles list their addresses as Kiama, Gerringong and Sydney, respectively.
Video captured by Fairfax shows residents yelling in unison and honking their car horns to drown out the men’s readings.
Ross Jackson, deputy mayor of nearby Albury, confronted Mr Bagnall, whom he said was “very loud, very obnoxious and was being a pest”.
“What he was preaching was basically hate towards homosexuals,” Mr Jackson said.
“I don’t care who you are, and what you do; to do that in a public forum is unacceptable.”
It is unknown why the men travelled to the little tourist town, population 1854, though it hosts an annual pride event and its Anglican minister, Father Peter MacLeod-Miller, is an open supporter of same-sex marriage.
Videos posted online show Mr Sester, formerly of Honolulu, Hawaii, has favoured school bus stops in America and crowds of nighttime city-goers for his past alfresco preaching sessions. In one video, tension mounts as Mr Sester is repeatedly abused outside a busy sidewalk cafe where diners sit smoking hookah pipes.
The camera loses him briefly, then finds him looking flustered, confirming he has just been punched in the face.
The Mercury’s efforts to reach Mr Sester and Mr Bagnall via social media were unsuccessful.
Mr Sester told the Albury Border Mail the men belonged to a “non-denominational group of born-again Christians”.
In a post to his Facebook page, Mr Sester praises his wife and offers insight into how he thinks a marriage should work.
“Katherine always happily submitted to my headship, always follows my leadership, cooks delicious healthy foods every day, keeps our home looking beautiful, prudently keeps care of all things I entrust her with, and diligently studies Gods [sic] word to know how God created her to be a wife and mother,” he writes.
“Never once has she raised her voice at me, or fought with me. She never complains or murmurs and I am always thrilled coming home to her joyful, loving face.”
Fr MacLeod-Miller attended the community gathering in Yackandandah and was among those who condemned the visiting evangelists.
“They were using the Bible in a very primitive way,” Fr Macleod-Miller said.
“They were saying that people with a variety of lifestyles were not to be tolerated.
“It was blind hatred really.”
Fr Macleod-Miller said he once opposed same-sex marriage, but changed his stance “as a result of meeting people and thinking more deeply upon it”.
“I’ve known many people whose lives have been ruined through prejudice.”