(Photo: Courtesy of Bible Believers)
Two street preachers carrying signs that read "repent or else" and "Jesus saves from sin" were protesting against homosexuality at a gay pride event in Seattle, Wash., on Sunday, and were physically attacked, punched and kicked by attendees who warned them that they "better leave or else."
A man attending the Pridefest event recorded the altercation on camera, and his video is now "a key piece of evidence against two suspects," KOMO-TV reports.
Jason Queree, 36, who is one of the two suspects, is shown repeatedly hitting a street preacher in the back of the head while he's on the ground. Queree has been arrested 29 times since 1995. Both men are facing misdemeanor assault charges.
The witness who shot the video told KOMO-TV that the crowd was incited when one of the street preachers said to "repent or go to hell."
Ruben Israel, who's been a street preacher for 33 years and is a member of Bible Believers, which has 74 chapters nationwide, told The Christian Post on Friday that he has encountered attacks similar to the one in Seattle.
During a protest in Chicago, Ill., on June 30, Israel described a scene in which counter-protesters rushed past police and slapped members of Bible Believers, and even attempted to light his Bible on fire.
Similarly, at a protest in Albuquerque, N.M., Israel told CP that police had to use their patrol cars to block the street preachers away from a crowd that was throwing items at the men before they were escorted by police into the patrol cars for safety. The protesters then banged on the police vehicles and began making sexually-explicit gestures toward them.
Israel said he "believes that the Supreme Court's decision last month has influenced the gay community to become lot more aggressive." And he added that physical attacks, such as the one in Seattle, "will happen more often."
"We are not haters," Israel said. "This has nothing to do with hate. It's sharing the Gospel."
"[The LGBT community] believes they have the law behind them. If you disagree with them, you're in the wrong. These are people who blanket themselves with the word 'tolerance.' I see it escalating over and over and over. They will attack us in the presence of police and they will attack us in front of a video camera," he added.
According to Israel, street preachers go "where the rubber meets the road," and challenge society's acceptance of immorality and sin.
"We don't just target homosexuals," he said. "Unfortunately, most Christians have never seen these incidents, such as the one in Seattle. "For somebody to get so aggressive – pushing, shoving and hitting – speaks volumes."
Warning: The second video contains vulgar gestures.