A pastor in Chicago is taking heat after he called out a man dressed in “drag” from the pulpit before asking him to leave the sanctuary.
In a video of the altercation, Antonio Rocquemore, pastor of Powerhouse International Ministries, is shown openly rebuking an unidentified congregant for dressing “like a woman.” The clip was first shared on Facebook by Christian James Lhuillier, who defended the attendee.
Rocquemore proceeded to lecture the congregant, telling him to “leave my church and go put on man clothes.” The pastor told the man to stay away from the church as long as he planned to dress how he was dressed.
“I hold a standard in here,” Rocquemore explained. “Whatever you do on the outside is your business, but I will not let drag queens come in here. And if you’re gonna come in here, you’re gonna come in here dressed like a man. … If you’re a man, dress like a man. If you’re a woman, dress like a woman.”
The pastor claimed he was calling out the individual because his “salvation is more important and God is holding me accountable” for what happens in the church building. He told the man he won’t allow him to “be wearing weaves and heels and fooling people up in here.”
In a lengthy video addressing the backlash, Rocquemore said the man had been a member of the church for several months and had agreed to follow the congregation’s rules. The pastor made clear it was not the attendee’s sexual orientation that led to his dismissal.
“First of all, I don’t bash nothing,” the minister said. “I don’t separate sin. Sin is sin. There is no need to bash one or the other if you’re preaching the Word.”
Rocquemore explained that, as is customary for his church, incoming members are informed of the rules and — if they are violated — congregants can expect to be rebuked privately and given the opportunity to correct their behavior. He said the unidentified man had broken the rules and been corrected privately on numerous occasions.
The pastor went on to say the reason he called the man out from the pulpit is because “he challenged me publicly.”
As for Lhuillier, he blasted the pastor for his rhetoric, writing in an expletive-laced Facebook post, “In a place that is supposed to be a place of change, a place of deliverance, whatever you want to call it why would you destroy someone in front of a room full of people?”
“This is the kind of bulls*** that causes people to go home and commit suicide,” he continued. “S*** like this is the reason that the church has no power in 2018 because they are so worried about the wrong things.”