Texas church blesses drag queens during Sunday worship

Cathedral of Hope

A church in Dallas has led prayers in support of drag queens and the LGBTQ+ community in response to Texas’ anti-drag bill, which seeks to ban public drag performances.

The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas held a Sunday service on 17 September where blessings were given to members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag and charity organisation.

The church’s auditorium, which seats around 850 people, was nearly full, the Dallas Morning News reported. A protest against the service, of around 40 people, was held outside.

Responding to protesters who called the service an “abomination” and “anti-Catholic”, senior pastor Rev. Neil Thomas told the local news outlet: “A large percentage of our congregation are people who felt excluded by Catholicism”, before adding, “we are not anti-Catholic.” 

During the service, pastors led the congregation in an inclusive prayer and encouraged listeners to embrace “radical inclusivity”.

One church leader also explained that drag queens are often subjects of “hate and violence” for showing others how to be truly “authentic” and “expressive”.

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The service’s inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly focus was in response to anti-drag Texas’ Senate Bill 12, which passed in April but was blocked by a federal judge just before it was set to take effect on 1 September. 

According to Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the bill would outlaw lewd or sexualised performances in public spaces or in the presence of minors that involved the use of “accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics”.

Senior pastor Thomas told the Dallas Morning News that the bill is a part of growing “persecution” of drag queens and trans people in the US.

In prayer together, congregants said: “We honour their strength and we pledge to be allies to the drag community.

“We embrace radical inclusivity and work to dismantle systems of oppression. We will fight against all forms of hate, prejudice, and intolerance.

It continued with the congregation committing themselves to “stand for justice and “defend the rights of all people”.

Charlie Kirk – founder of the American far-right group Turning Point USA, which is closely aligned with former US president Donald Trump – posted a clip of the service on X (formerly Twitter), calling it “blasphemy”.

Kirk is known for his anti-LGBTQ+ stance and in June 2023, in a bizarre tribute, Kirk appeared to link ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski’s historical accounts of gender dysphoria to his crimes.

According to the church’s website, it welcomes all minorities in its mission of proclaiming Christ through “faith, hope and love”.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has tracked the introduction of more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US in 2023 alone, has described a slew of anti-drag measures as “a malicious attempt to remove LGBTQ people from public life,” according to People.

PinkNews has contacted The Cathedral of Hope for comment.