A church in Northern California has parted ways with its pastor after its sign was used to declare homosexuality “is still sin” and Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner — now Caitlyn — “is still male.”
The sign, positioned right outside Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Lake Shastina, reads, “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, former pastor Justin Hoke said the sign’s “ultimate purpose” was to “say that while the culture may change, the Bible does not.” He added, “The culture is now demanding that we call ‘good’ what the Bible calls evil.”
But local residents were not at all happy with the display. Several protests were staged last week and over the weekend.
At some point, the plexiglass sign was broken in what Hoke described as an act of vandalism, but demonstrators said they intend to help the church raise money to repair it, according to KDRV-TV.
“While we all objected strongly to the message that they displayed publicly, we condemn the use of violence and destruction of property that this person responsible has chosen,” Amelia Mallory, a rally organizer, said. “To our knowledge, nobody affiliated with our peaceful rally was involved, and if we do become aware of the culprit we will be informing the local authorities.”
Mallory went on to say that during a protest held Sunday, the group of demonstrators would be collecting donations to repair the damaged sign.
“While we are donating with no strings attached, we do hope that pastor Hoke will reflect on the generosity of those he rebukes before posting another similar message,” she said.
As a result of the protests — and the bitter disagreement over the anti-gay sign, even within the church — Hoke announced via Facebook that he was removed from his position as pastor of the Presbyterian church.
“I was informed by our other elder that he felt he could no longer follow my lead as Pastor of TBPC,” he wrote. “I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor of TBPC.”