Teens Rally Against an 'Un-Christian' Culture

"This is a hateful and narrow and bigoted brand of Christian fundamentalism, which does not represent Christianity, and they do not know and understand the agenda that is behind it," said Giovanni Jackson of World Can't Wait, a nonprofit political activist group.

Last year, the San Francisco board of supervisors condemned the event and took some heat for it. This year they issued the following statement: "BattleCry's efforts to spread the intolerance and bigotry promoted by its leadership to our young people are reckless and irresponsible. We need to increase understanding of our human differences, not teach our kids to be suspicious and hateful toward people unlike them."

"There are few people that epitomize things that they can't stand more than the mayor of San Francisco right here, and I'm not particularly offended by their point of view, and I just hope they are respectful and they don't hurt people in the process," said Mayor Gavin Newsom.


Hamilton led the rally and did not engage any of the protestors; in fact, none of the evangelicals responded.

"We're not here as a political agenda. We're just here to gather a group of people who have the common interests to help rescue our generation who's dying and suffering and in pain," Hamilton argued.

However, in addition to the prayer and Christian rock music, BattleCry is also about unbranding -- casting away all those negative influences they find in pop culture. At most events, Luce has the teens write down the names of items that negatively influence their lives and then has them throw the slips of paper away. Into the bin go the names of TV shows, video games, CDs and designer labels.

"I threw out sex, I threw out drugs, I threw out depression, I threw out neediness. The list goes on and on," Hamilton said.

Honey, Not Vinegar

However, for some of the teens, the battle is about more than just throwing away a slip of paper. One teen, 16-year-old Anthony Orsillo, is fighting his own battle against homosexuality.

"I turned away from my lifestyle -- I took Jesus into my heart. I do not believe you can be a homosexual and go to heaven. There is redemption for us," Orsillo said.

Evangelical Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin, but the BattleCry teens objected when an outside group of Christians showed up with a banner that read "homosexuality is a sin."

"It's just so hard to have people who have claimed to be on our side having that 'homosexuality is a sin' sign," said Orsillo. "I believe that you're gonna attract bees with honey and not with vinegar. And I believe that's vinegar."

Hamilton says that BattleCry and Luce's youth ministry helped her understand that she didn't need others to help her feel good about herself.

"I gave my life to God. … I'd never felt joy, a true genuine joy and a sense of knowing how I was worthwhile. I was important to someone. Even if no one on this Earth cares about me, the God of this universe looks down and says, 'That's my Charlotte. I love her,'" Hamilton said.

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