LGBTQ supporters rally against controversial church sign
A sign posted in front of the Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church about homosexuality is sparking a big controversy in the community of Weed. The sign reads: "Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not."
At the Shastina Love Rally, a group of community members gathered not only to protest the sign, but to also spread a message of acceptance for the LGBTQ community. They said the sign has been up since the beginning of the year.
"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," protestor Robyn Vandiver said.
Protestors said they want to use their voice for others who are unable to use their own.
"You never know who might not be out and public about it and be willing to share because of things like this," protestor Sophia Bullington said. "They might be scared."
Vandiver said she is now moving from her initial feelings of anger to now compassion.
"I thought it was a poor use of religion," Vandiver said. "But after thinking about it, i'm just trying to come to a level of acceptance and forgiveness."
Pastor Justin Hoke from the church has responded to criticism of the sign online.
On his Facebook account, Hoke writes "It is not possible to preach the gospel in short pithy statements. 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."
Many protestors recognize the church's first amendment rights, said they agree to disagree.
"Everybody has their own right to their beliefs whether it be political, religious, anything but to blatantly be hateful towards a community that is constantly growing, constantly becoming bigger," Bullington said.
LGBTQ supporters said this issue goes well beyond the community of Weed.
"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," Vandiver said.