A Texas evangelist was arrested and taken to jail for preaching outside of a local holiday production of “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour.”
Those in attendance who were not a fan of the Gospel message Ryan Denton was spreading near the Plaza Theatre called the police to complain and responded with cheers when he was arrested and made to stop preaching.
Denton, a member of Christ in the Wild Ministries, decided to preach the near the Texas production of “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour”, which is touted as a “must-see holiday spectacular with your favorite contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The event was further advertised to be “For one night only, your favorite queens #werk the stage with singing, dancing, comedy and more! The holidays were never this naughty!” This is exactly the type of event Denton typically chose to spread his message, and his plan was to reach as many people as he possibly could on this particular evening.
Denton found the production of the event to be a great opportunity to share the Gospel he spreads, which includes messages about repentance and having faith in Jesus Christ.
“The drag event, like any other event, was a place where the lost would be congregating, and hence the need for a gospel witness,” said Denton. “Christ came to seek and save those who are lost. He came for the unrighteous, not the righteous. The great physician of souls came for the sick and spiritually dead. This is why the gospel must go beyond the church walls.”
During his speeches near the Plaza Theatre, Denton admitted that he did speak of drag queens on a few occasions, but said it was not his focus or the main intent of his message at all. Despite his intention, however, many people at the event did not receive Denton’s message well.
Officer Jared Lamb arrived on the scene near the Plaza Theatre and informed Denton that he must stop preaching due to the many complaints they had received that evening. When that didn’t deter Denton, in an effort to convince him to stop his speeches, Officer Lamb then told him that the sidewalk he was standing on was on private property. However, Denton knew better than that. He knew his rights and he knew he was allowed to preach there. In fact, he had been told previously by police officers that he should stand in that exact location when he came to preach because it was a safe and respectful distance from the Plaza Theatre. Denton indicates he has preached there over a dozen times, and has had no problems at all until this night.
Denton and the officer had words over his right to preach his gospel, “I’m going to keep preaching right here because this is not private property,” Denton told Officer Lamb. The officer then grabbed Denton’s stool he was using to stand on and ordered the evangelist to follow him to a nearby building where he proceeded to tell Denton that he would not debate him outside in front of others. Once it was obvious that Denton was going to continue his refusal to stop preaching, he was arrested by Officer Lamb for trespassing and taken to the El Paso Jail.
After seven hours behind bars, Denton was released on a $300 bond. Denton indicates that he was grateful for the experience because he was able to share the Gospel with others that were incarcerated with him, and he was even given the experience of meeting someone who was receptive to his message and thanked God for “disciplining” him and said that he regretted his crime.
“The gospel is good news for anyone who has ears to hear, whether it’s a drag queen or a self-righteous good citizen,” Denton said. “God saves sinners, among whom every Christian was once chief. There’s hope for the people at the drag event because God is mighty to save and ‘salvation is of the Lord.’”
~ 1776 Christian