After receiving a five-year restraining order that threatened him with jail time if he spoke out against a local LGBTQ advocacy group, an outspoken street preacher is appealing to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
A pastor who runs the online organization Warriors for Christ and has protested drag performances for children around the country says he feels the restraining order is unlawful and might set a judicial precedent that chills Christians’ and others’ free expression.
“I’ve been preaching against this kind of stuff for years when it first started in libraries,” he said of drag queen story time for children. “We’ve been telling people it’s going to get worse if we don’t do anything, and that’s where we are.”
When other nearby churches declined to speak out against the local Pride celebration last autumn, Penkoski claimed he was requested to preach outside by a church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
The pastor also cited Matthew 18:6, which quotes Jesus saying that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
According to the Rutherford Institute, the couple requested a five-year protection order against Penkoski in February and Washington County District Court Judge Linda Thomas accepted their request. They stated they felt endangered in Bartlesville because of the pastor.
Penkoski, who has a large social media following, claimed to have shared a video of the leader’s remarks cut with images of a drag queen near children during the Pride festival. According to him, the video showing “a drag queen grabbing and gyrating his crotch in front of kids” was removed from both Facebook and YouTube for being vulgar.
In opposing drag events involving children, Penkoski, who has children ranging from 2 to 20, felt “moved by God.” During his legal battle with the LGBTQ group, he said he has received multiple death threats and that his property has been vandalized.
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