Pastor Clint Echols told his congregation at First Baptist Church in Zeeland, Mich., that homosexuality is a sin and people should not follow their “internal compass” that tells them they’re gay or transgender.
In the address to church members, Echols speaks about the attack on marriage between a man and a woman, framing homosexuality as a lifestyle choice that can be discovered at any point in a person’s life.
“It’s an internal compass and a person can discover their sexuality at any moment…oh wait a second, I’m gay, I’m bisexual, I want to change my gender, these things, and that’s being true to themselves and being true to their internal compass ” Echols says.
“For instance on another, a completely other playing field, if tomorrow I woke up because I have this internal compass that’s telling me what truth is. Tomorrow, if I wake up and say, well, I think I’m an axe murderer, now I’m an axe murderer, would you be happy with that? Would you agree? Would you want me to follow that internal compass?
Echols’ words have stunned members of the local LGBT community, and other members of the congregation say they are just as outraged.
Article continues below“Don’t bully by making this comparison,” Daniel Vanderley, an openly gay Zeeland man, told MLive. “Coming out is a hard enough time for people.”
Last week, Vanderley and other demonstrators posed as members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church to show fake support for the Zeeland church and “the hate and vitriol that is coming out” of it.
They have launched a Change.org petition urging parishioners to “support the values of equality, tolerance, and love for all people and families.”