TORONTO — A Canadian man who was among a half dozen professing Christians who dressed in skin-tight green spandex with rainbow accents to disguise themselves as the “Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association” in order to infiltrate the 2016 Toronto Pride Parade is facing a hate crime charge for distributing “zombie safe sex” pamphlets that turned out to be warnings about the homosexual lifestyle. The group’s bizarre strategy for reaching the lost is also raising concerns about using such “pragmatic” methods, instead of adhering to biblical standards in evangelism no matter the rejection or hostility.
According to reports, Bill Whatcott organized a group to go undercover in the pride parade as the “Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association,” paying event organizers $100 to participate in the parade under the fake name.
Whatcott later told reporters that the plan was to infiltrate the event so as to distribute as many pamphlets as possible, which he also disguised as “zombie safe sex” packets. He explained that at previous pride parades, very few people took literature, so this was his “creative” way to get the information into the hands of more attendees.
“I asked them if they wanted ‘zombie safe sex.’ Everyone loved it,” Whatcott told LifeSiteNews. “But, if you try to give out a gospel pamphlet, they swear at you and throw slushies on your forehead. But, give them some wackadoodle thing that looks like a condom, and they really can’t grab it fast enough. I had three thousand out in 20 minutes.”
The pamphlets reportedly contained graphic images regarding the physical ramifications of homosexual behaviors, such as anal warts and AIDS, and also urged the reader to turn to Christ for salvation.
“Natural law is clear, homosexuality is incompatible with human nature,” they read. “Disease, death and confusion are the sad and sordid realities of the homosexual lifestyle. The ‘gay zombies’ are concerned about the spiritual, psychological and physical welfare of all potential homosexual pride attendees, so we want to give you this accurate information and encourage you to abstain from the homosexuality.”
Whatcott posted photographs of the parade on his website, which showed the group in disguise marching along a number of event attendees who were completely naked, exposing their privates, or who wore little clothing.
“Here is my Elite Top Secret Special Forces Crack Christian Commando Anti-Sodomite Counter Intelligence Unit leaving the Sherbourne Subway Station disguised as the ‘Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association’ to infiltrate and strike the dark forces of the Toronto Homosexual Shame parade and bring about a glorious victory for the gospel of Jesus Christ, by delivering 3,000 ‘zombie safe sex’ packages to the parade goers,” he wrote.
After learning that attendees had been tricked into receiving the information, which they found to be offensive, Provincial Parliament Member George Smitherman and homosexual activist Christopher Hudspeth filed a $104 million dollar class-action lawsuit.
“The offensive literature exposed people to hatred and vilification based on their sexual orientation,” the complaint read.
Earlier this year, following an investigation, a warrant was also issued for Whatcott’s arrest for “wilful promotion of hatred.” After learning about the warrant in June, Whatcott turned himself in to the Calgary Police Department. He was questioned, jailed and later released on bail.
Whatcott faces a hearing on Sept. 20. He has also lost his job as a result of the criminal charge.
While some have found the hate crimes charge to be of concern, others have similarly raised questions over the manner in which Whatcott sought to do evangelism.
“[T]here seems to be a lively debate … on whether or not God approves of this tactic of using deception to infiltrate the ungodly and hateful homosexual pride parade to bring the truth to it,” he wrote in reference to one published report. “Of course I do believe God not only approved of this tactic. I believe the operation only succeeded because of His help to enable us to accomplish this goal.”
However, Ryan Denton of the Texas-based Christ in the Wild Ministries, which conducts evangelistic outreach across the country and around the world, told Christian News Network that trying to get a foot in the door as a “gay zombie” didn’t make a difference in the long run, because even though more attendees received a pamphlet, once they realized the content, they were still outraged and unrepentant. And Whatcott was still sued and arrested and charged with a hate crime.
“[Whatcott’s effort] seems led by the flesh rather than the Spirit. … Theology has taken a back to seat to methodology. The means used to get to an end are important to God; just as important as the end itself,” he explained. “Sneaking into an event in a costume isn’t going to make the gospel any more attractive to people who are ‘dead in sin’ than a bullhorn and a sign would. The fact that you’re dressed up like one of them isn’t going to make anyone hate sin and turn to Christ.”
“The Trojan Horse tactic might keep slushies from being poured on your head, but it’s not going to make the gospel more palatable when you share it. The word of the cross is still foolishness to those perishing (1 Cor. 1:18),” Denton outlined. “I don’t care how much you act or look or smell like a zombie, the god of this world has still blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). The means don’t justify the end when it comes to evangelism or anything else.”
He said that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of rejection and retaliation from the lost, for that is what those in Scripture and the Early Church commonly experienced.
“Where in the Bible do you see anything different? Paul said he is not ashamed of the gospel, and it showed in his life. He was beaten with rods, lashed with whips, stoned at least once. Christ was driven to the edge of a cliff the first time he preached,” Denton explained. “Obviously, there is a fear of rejection that is driving this kind of evangelism. There is a misunderstanding of what it means to do ‘successful’ evangelism.”
The former Albuquerque pastor said that he is concerned about the modern tactic of “pragmatic evangelism,” which he called the “great curse of our day.” He pointed to other examples, such as when Christians dress up like clowns or hand out water bottles as evangelism lead-ins so that the gospel can be tucked in via an unassuming approach.
“North American Christianity has suffered from its non-suffering. [But] for 2,000 years now, people have been suffering because they share the gospel. They were thrown into arenas and mauled by wild beasts. They were covered with pitch and set on fire. They were crushed by giant weights. They had their tongues yanked out of their mouths. They watched as their children were dashed against rocks. They spent decades in rat-infested dungeons. They are still being beheaded,” he outlined.
“I mean, what do we expect is going to happen when we share the gospel with a gospel-hating world?” Denton asked. “A slushie on your forehead is a far cry from being thrown onto a pile of sticks and set on fire. But what’s going to happen when that day comes to North America?”
He said that biblical Christianity has always seen preaching the word of God as enough, no matter the response from hearers.
“No one in the Scriptures ever disguised themselves when it came to the gospel. No one ever tried to soothe [or trick] the hearers with ballet performances or barbecues or house-building before they proclaimed the gospel to them,” Denton outlined. “Why not? Because the gospel was enough!”
“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation, and they believed that! It’s time we count the cost and say, you know what, gone are the days when everyone loves Christians. Gone are the days when Christianity is ‘respectable,'” he proclaimed. “True Christianity has never been respectable. It’s never been comfortable. Enough with the zombie suits and the ballets and the barbecues. Go and preach the gospel! Go and die for the sake of the gospel! Go and lose your job for the sake of the gospel! It’s here, America. It’s here, Canada.”