Mr. Dicken worked at the church in Newburgh from 2004 to 2011 and came out of retirement to lead the congregation again.
“The tribalism and polarization that’s going on in our culture, particularly in our political culture, has filtered down into the church,” he said.
In the HBO show, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2020, three drag stars, Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara, confront these divisions while mentoring people for the show-ending drag performance. All three posted messages of support for Mr. Duke after the news about him leaving his position became public.
O’Hara, who was the pastor’s drag mother or mentor, said on Twitter: “Craig is an amazing person and deserves the same love that he shares with everyone around him.”
The pastor, who used Joan of Arc O’Hara as his drag name, was nominated to be featured in the show by the Evansville Pride group. He said he had never heard of the show but decided to participate to share a message of God’s unconditional love and to support his daughter, who identifies as pansexual.
He said the negative response from some members of the congregation was especially painful because of the way it hurt his daughter. But the family, which includes his wife, is “sticking together,” he said, and has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
He said he was grateful for his experience in drag.
“It was real, it wasn’t vaudeville, it was powerful, as the words they taught me, it was fierce, it was authentic,” Mr. Duke said.
Apsny News English