A church in Weed, California put up a sign with homophobic and transphobic sentiments recently. Residents, however, did not take kindly to it.
Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church’s sign reads: ‘Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change, the Bible does not.’
According to local CBS news station KTVL, who first reported the story, residents of Weed said the sign has been up since the start of the new year.
Community members gathered for the Shastina Love Rally over the weekend and protested the sign.
‘Just a community effort to show that we actually care about all members of our community, regardless of orientation gender or other aspects of identity that make them unique,’ said Robyn Vandiver, one of the many protesters.
Vandiver and other people also said they wanted to not only protest, but show the LGBTI community love and support.
Another protester, Sophia Bullington, commented words like these could be harmful to people.
‘You never know who might not be out and public about it and be willing to share because of things like this. They might be scared,’ she said.
Church’s pastor gets defensive
The church’s pastor, Justin Hoke, posted a photo of the sign on his own Facebook and defended it in a subsequent comment.
‘It is not possible to preach the gospel in short pithy statements,’ he wrote.
‘I have used this sign for 7 years now to provoke reflection or make a strong point about a single truth. Such as this one: the culture does not determine truth God does.’
He went on to say that ‘the church has lost its saltiness’. He also expects ‘flack from the visible church’ for this sign as well.
Protesters acknowledged the church’s First Amendment right, but still disagreed.
Vandiver said this will have far-reaching consequences: ‘The way that people treat one another and the respect that they show or the hate that they show will have ramifications on individuals and families, throughout our community, as well as the world.’