A Mandarin, Florida, church is reaping the consequences of its open bigotry as a complete and utter shitstorm has descended upon its pastor and members over a hateful sign out front that tells LGBT people that we must “repent or go to hell.” Of course, like any good bigot, the preacher of the First Conservative Baptist Church, Gene Youngblood, is standing by his hate, and also hiding behind the First Amendment to spew it.
Youngblood told local station WKMG in a statement:
Because we love people (yet, as directed in scripture to hate the sin), we therefore want to warn them of the coming judgment of God on the sin of homosexuality (and any other sin that is NOT repented of). It is my sincere prayer that perhaps ‘ONE’ practicing homosexual will have read our sign and will REPENT before it is too late and they are cast into HELL.
This doesn’t sound like “love” to me, Pastor Youngblood. It is the teaching and promotion of these sorts of beliefs that causes many LGBT children and adults to commit suicide each year, and it also causes hateful, fearful bigots with a penchant for violence to harm LGBT people. While we do not censor hate speech in this country, and you are certainly well within your rights to put up your hateful sign, what you are doing, is frankly, dangerous.
Of course, people who live in the community near the church are outraged at Youngblood’s sign, and rightfully so. Cate Dobbins, a neighbor of the church says she was so upset by the sign that she is circulating a petition to have it removed. Dobbins said to local channel WJAX:
I lived here almost 10 years and I never been offended by anything they ever had on that sign until this week. I called the church and left my name and number and no one called me back.
I wouldn’t hold my breath on a callback, Ms. Dobbins. Cowards rarely turn up to face the music when they are called out.
Another resident said:
I think it’s very sad that people that claim to be Christians are hate-mongers. And why can’t people mind their own business and let people live their life the way they want to live it? They’re not hurting anyone.
So right. However, I doubt the minds of folks like Pastor Youngblood will be changed. One good thing will come of it, though: More and more people are realizing that Christianity, and most religion in general, is, by and large, a harmful, hateful system of beliefs. So, thanks, Pastor Youngblood and others, for making the case for atheism.
As for the sign? It was taken down as of Sunday night. No one is sure if it is because of the controversy, or because, as Youngblood says, the sign is changed quite often. Either way, Pastor Youngblood has a parting message for all who take issue with his sign:
HELL is a real place and anyone not believing in the reality of HELL will not change the temperature of the FLAMES a single degree.
Watch a news report on the controversy below, courtesy of WKMG:
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