A Texas Baptist church got into hot water after a pastor said gay people should be "lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head" during a Sunday sermon.
Pastor Dillon Awes of Stedfast Baptist Church made the controversial remarks as Pride Month is celebrated around the globe. The church was evicted from its building in February for trying to incite violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
"You know a lot of pastors have this stupid idea where it's just like, 'oh you know God loves everyone, and God loves the sin but loves the sinner.' But people have taken this to such an extreme where they're saying celebrate the sin, not just tolerate it, celebrate it," Awes said about Pride Month in a sermon titled Why We Won't Shut Up. "Let me show you what the Bible says about these people."
The pastor continued to read several passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality. His remarks got more aggressive as he claimed that gay people are "dangerous to society."
"What does God say is the answer, is the solution for the homosexual in 2022, here in the New Testament, here in the book of Romans? That they are worthy of death. These people should be put to death," Awes said.
"Every single homosexual in our country should be charged with a crime...they should be convicted in a lawful trial, they should be sentenced to death, they should be lined up against a wall and shot in the back of the head."
The pastor also told his church that "all homosexuals are pedophiles" and that they are "not normal."
"I’m not saying that every single homosexual that’s alive right now has committed that act with a child already because it could be they haven’t had the opportunity yet and they will at some point later in their life," Awes continued.
"This is why we need to put these people to death through the proper channels of the government. ... These people are not normal. They’re not your average everyday sinners. ... They have no hope of salvation."
As the pastor continued his sermon, people from the crowd could be heard cheering.
Since the remarks, people on social media have criticized Awes, saying these comments cause the LGBTQ+ community harm.
I think the Stedfast Baptist Church of Watauga, Texas — an anti-LGBTQ hate group whose pastor said all gay people should be "lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head” — should LOSE their tax-exempt status.— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) June 9, 2022
Who agrees? ✋
While I Oppose LGBTQ lifestyles, I also oppose what the pastor said. His statements were beyond opposition based on universal truth. The church itself should not be hurt b/c of what he said, so tax expect status should remain— Powered By James Tankersley (@PartesanJournal) June 10, 2022
People in the LGBTQA2S+ community are harmed daily because of rhetoric exactly like this. It needs to stop and there needs to be consequences. This is not okay. You literally hear people in the congregation agreeing with the paster. It’s hateful and it’s dangerous.— Mandy (@Mandyy15) June 10, 2022
Why would anyone think that Jesus would approve of this position? Even if you believed that Jesus would think homosexuality is a sin, this isn't the response to someone who is sinning. What is wrong with these people?https://t.co/TiQxCCvrAR— Chris Surprenant (@CWSurprenant) June 10, 2022
Jesuit priest James Martin, SJ suggested churches reach out to the LGBTQ+ community more lovingly.
Another reason for churches to reach out in a special way to LGBTQ people. And show them that they are beloved children of God.— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 9, 2022
"Texas pastor says gay people should be 'shot in the back of the head' in shocking sermon" https://t.co/WFSnXmH6Xu via @nbcnews
The church has since been reported to the Watuga Police Department, prompting them to release a statement on the issue.
"First, the Watauga Police Department would like to affirm our commitment to making Watauga a Great Place to Live for all people. The Watauga Police Department values diversity and will continue to protect people’s right to express their identities," it said.
"Any message that promotes hatred toward any class or group of people is absolutely counter to the culture of the Watauga Police Department. The language used by the Pastor of the Stedfast Baptist Church is likely to be offensive to many people. However, at this time, the reported language of the sermon appears to be Constitutionally protected free speech. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation."