By Mark Ellis
Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender activist once known as Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner, prayed with Pastor Ed Young Sr. following a Christmas pageant at Houston’s Second Baptist Church.
The pastor’s son, Ed Young Jr., posted their photos and tweeted about it. He is also a pastor, at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas,
Jenner attended the church for a segment of her reality series television program, “I Am Cait,” according to a story in The Christian Post.
Young Sr. was known for his opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO. In May, 2014, the Houston City Council voted to enact the ordinance that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, family, marital, and military status.
The ordinance — repealed in November — was considered controversial because it allowed individuals to use public bathrooms of the gender with whom they most identify, which means that men could potentially use women bathrooms.
The ordinance has been the object of fierce political battles and litigation. The ultimate legal status is under consideration by the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, with further litigation still possible.
“Dad has always taught me to love everyone. Here he is praying with @Caitlyn_Jenner at tonight’s service,” Pastor Young Jr. tweeted December 17th, followed by another tweet the following day, “Dad and @Caitlyn_Jenner had a great conversation and prayer after last night’s service! #grace”
Jenner also attended a family Christmas service at Grace Church Houston, whose founding pastor, Steve
Riggle, was also against the ordinance, originally championed by lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
The Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of U.S. Pastor Council, told Breitbart Texas he considered the visits by Jenner to be “transparent” photo ops.
“The photo ops conducted by Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner in at least two Houston megachurches who were very active in defeating Mayor Parker’s Bathroom Ordinance, were transparent and prove that the battle for decency, freedom and faith is far from over,” he said. “The tragic stories of Mr. Jenner and those like him who have become confused about how God designed them as male or female, call for our compassion to help heal them, and our determination to never let their plight be our new normal.”
The LGBT online newspaper PinkNews criticized Jenner for visiting the churches of the pastors involved in defeating HERO.
Jenner, who made her debut as a trans woman in June, said on the “Ellen DeGeneres” show in September that while she once opposed same-sex marriage, her views have slowly “changed” although she still appeared uncertain about the issue, according to The Christian Post.
“I have to admit that I remember 15 years ago, 20 years ago, whenever it was the whole gay marriage issue came up at first, I was not for it,” Jenner, 65, said. “I thought, I’m a traditionalist. I’m older than most people in the audience. I like tradition; and it’s always been between a man and a woman, and I’m thinking, I don’t quite get it.”
In February 2013, Pastor Young Jr. of Fellowship Church discussed the life of DeGeneres, who is also a member
of the LGBT community, suggesting that Jesus would compliment her on her humor and great spirit, but would not condone her homosexuality.
Young Jr. said that if Christ had a conversation with her, he would say: “Ellen I love you where you are, but I love you too much to allow you to stay the same.”
Glamour magazine recently honored Jenner with its annual Woman of the Year awards.