By now you've heard of North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley who said that gay and lesbian Americans should be rounded up and imprisoned behind electrified fences until all the "sinners" die out. His Hitler-esque declarations prompted a wave of "amens" from the congregation at Providence Road Baptist Church. Some parishioners even appeared on television to defend Worley's deadly message. (CNN's Anderson Cooper made mincemeat of born-again bigot Stacey Pritchard.)
In a previous sermon, Worley recalled the "good old days" when "homosexuals" were "hung from a white oak tree."
The Charlotte Observer is reporting that 1200 people protested in Catawba County on Sunday, while the Winston-Salem Journal put the number at "more than 2000." The demonstrations took place in front of the Justice Center in Newton, seven miles from Worley's odious "house of God." (Across the street, several dozen counter-demonstrators clutched their Bibles and screamed scripture-based intolerance and malice.) Laura Graff writes on the Journal:
Sunday's protest was organized by Appalachian State University student Laura Tipton and backed by a group calling itself Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate. Most of the protesters supported same-sex marriage and equal rights... Tipton, who said she had never attended a protest before Sunday, organized it after seeing a YouTube video of Worley's sermon. That sermon, she said, "was a message of hate, a message of intolerance, a message of genocide, and not something we in this community could support." ... The protest was mainly peaceful, though at times the two sides clashed. One preacher, Billy Ball — who is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Primrose, Ga. — spoke into a bullhorn, calling out Bible verses and calling on supporters of same-sex marriage to repent... Law-enforcement officers from across western North Carolina came to monitor the protest; one asked Ball to turn off the bullhorn. When he refused, the officer wrote him a warning citation for violating the town's noise ordinance. (So a "man of the cloth" refuses to comply with the police and receives... a warning citation? Can you imagine what would have happened if the other side had defied Tar Heel state lawmen?)
John Peragine reports for Reuters via Huffington Post: At the church seven miles away, Catawba County Sheriff officers were on hand to prevent the media from entering the church grounds. "The church has requested that all media be restricted, so you will need to leave the property immediately," a deputy told a reporter. Calls to Providence Road Baptist Church for a statement from Worley or another church representative were not returned. (No surprise there.) ...Members of Ball's congregation held signs with messages such as "God is why Sodom got fried." (Wow, and I aways thought evangelicals believed that homosexuality is 'why Sodom got fried.')
Having attended many different Southern Baptist churches during my younger years, I can confirm that sermons like those delivered by Pastor Charles Worley are the rule, not the exception. From pulpits throughout the Deep South, children constantly hear fearmongering and threats of eternal suffering. Jesus' exhortation to 'love one another' is buried in a cacophony of dire warnings, sanctimonious judgements, and prejudice. African-Americans were once targeted by these Southern white pastors; now it's gay, lesbian, and transgender persons.
Equality advocates should make an effort to infiltrate ALL fundamentalist churches, quietly record the preachers' hateful homilies, expose the congregants' ugly rhetoric, and show fair-minded U.S. citizens what Evil really looks like.
It's pumpkin time, Sugar.
(Pictured Top: Providence Road Baptist Church, Minister of Hate Charles Worley, anti-gay churchgoers Geneva Sims and Stacey Pritchard)
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