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Not all Christmas festivities this past Christmas were met with enthusiasm. One venue in Bakersfield, California, arranged to have a Christmas drag show in the area. “A Drag Queen Christmas,” hosted by Fox Theater in Bakersfield, touted itself as “the longest-running drag tour in America.” The show is recommended for those 18 and older due to its explicit nature.

One local pastor, however, was not willing to sit by while the event happened in his community. Angelo Frazier, pastor of RiverLakes Community Church, organized a “Prayer and Scripture Reading Vigil” against the event, inviting hundreds of people from other churches to pray with him outside the theater on December 17, the day of the show. Speaking to local station KBAK, Frazier called the event a “perversion.” “It’s naughty all the way through. It’s nasty, it’s perversion. It’s taking Christmas and turned it into a sexual show, that’s what it is, and it’s happening here in Bakersfield, California,” he said. Despite Christmas being more and more secularized throughout the years, Frazier noted that Christmas “is still a traditional holiday.” 

Frazier has opposed the event since June, when tickets were first announced for it. At the time, he led another prayer vigil, telling KBAK, “Christmas is sacred, Christmas is a time for all ages, and when you can just take things and mock them, and you call it entertainment, I think that’s wrong.” A counter-protester who identified herself as a “practicing Catholic,” Nadine Escalante, accused Frazier and his group of hate. “This is disgusting how disrespectful you adults are to our children growing up in this community. It is because of you our children do not feel safe in this community,” she said. 

The December 17 prayer vigil occurred at 6:30, with the show scheduled to start at 8. Speaking at the vigil, Frazier denied any accusations of hate. “The other side just wants to hate, and do all these other things, we don’t want to hate, we want to say there’s a better way. I think it’s wrong for kids, I think it’s wrong for families, as a matter of fact the message of Christmas is goodwill, great joy for all the people. This that’s happening here in Bakersfield, is perversion of Christmas, and as a Christian, I feel an obligation to say something about it,” he said. 

Drag shows have been a point of controversy between conservative and liberal pundits, with conservatives calling out explicit drag shows where young children can be seen in the audience. Liberals state that drag shows are a part of LGBTQ+ culture and allow individuals in that community to express themselves. The Fox Theater has not commented on any of the controversy. 

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