In the days after the Orlando massacre, the evangelical leader of a Tennessee church decided a message needed to be sent to his God-fearing community in Johnson City, just an hour north of Asheville, N.C. His message was targeted specifically at the LGBTQ community and its allies.
Pastor Jesse Price arranged the letters on the sign outside his Beech Cliff Pentecostal Holiness Church, in the form of a declaration, for all to see. But that message was deemed so hateful and Price received so much flack, it’s since been taken down.
Here’s what it said, as seen in the photograph above, according to a report by WCYB-TV: “GOD’S WRATH MAY BE GETTING STARTED TO FALL ON THE GAYS.”
“Homosexuals got shot down in Florida,” Price explained to the station. “It looks like God’s wrath is about to start pouring down on the gays.”
“We are not trying to kill them. I’ve had a lot of signs up here that homosexuals need to be saved but they didn’t say anything about that one the only thing I said here in this one that god’s wrath looks like it’s going to start being poured down on the gays.”
Local LGBTQ advocates refuted Price’s claim that he meant no offense. “I have close friends who identify as gay or bisexual or transgender and I am imagining the pain that they feel every time they see a message that is condemning of them,” said Kim Bushore-Maki. “His intention may have been very good and just because you have a good intention doesn’t mean your words and your actions don’t have major impact.”
Price insisted there are members of the LGBTQ community who are close to him, and that he does not condemn them. He told the station he hopes “they get saved.” Bushore-Maki said what the pastor needs is to spend more time getting to know members of the community before he puts up another sign.
Watch the story on WCYB’s website here.