A pastor was ecstatic when he opened the doors of his newly established church to the community of a small town. However, just months later, he was forced to shut it down when he received an eviction notice from the landlord over the church’s “hateful” sign.
In the age of political correctness, every church is potentially at risk of facing an attack from individuals who take offense to their biblical messages. Now, even the most common scriptures can be deemed discriminatory, forcing churches to hide their beliefs within the walls of the sanctuary, where sermons are still not entirely safe from the accusations of the offended minority.
Despite the outrage culture we’ve cultivated, some churches are refusing to self-censor just to cater to the handful of individuals intolerant of their freedom of expression. Of course, this defiance comes with a hefty price that has many concerned with the ultimate goal of political correctness.
For Remnant Fellowship Church in Auburn, Indiana, sugar coating biblical truths simply isn’t on the agenda. However, it was the church’s decision to erect a simple yet controversial message on the marquee that led to its closure shortly after it had opened its doors.
According to Metro Weekly, the church was forced to shut down after the landlord saw their sign, which read, “LGBTQ is a hate crime against God. Repent.” The message appeared to be in response to the “Gay Pride” movement, referring to homosexual and transsexual lifestyles as sinful.
The sign immediately sparked outrage among some members of the community, causing them to demand the sign’s removal. However, the landlord took it a step further, presenting the congregation with a notice of eviction.
WANE reached out to pastor Robert Sturges, who headed Remnant Fellowship Church before its closure. He explained that he hoped the sign would garner attention, but not the kind his congregation ultimately received.
“We’re trying to reach a certain group of people,” Sturges said. “They’re being told in our culture that homosexuality, transvestites, lesbianism, and sexual immorality is ok.”
Sturges explained that society has been fooled into believing that disapproving of someone’s actions or lifestyle means you must hate them. However, he expressed that, while the Bible commands us to love people, it also tells us to call out sin and point people toward the truth.
“We do love them but we want to warn them that they are headed toward a cliff and if they keep going that way, they’ll be destroyed. And that is what the sign is about,” Sturges said. “The Bible cleary says that those those who practice those things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, it warns them the wrath of God will abide upon them and, in the judgment, they will be lost and they will be sent to hell forever.”
Regardless of the church’s intentions, some residents simply couldn’t stand idly by while the congregation preached such beliefs. Expectedly, the most offended individuals were also the loudest in voicing their judgment.
Although some locals expressed disapproval of the message, one, in particular, decided to take matters into their own hands. After reading the sign, Kristin Russell tampered with the church’s property, removing some of the letters and changing it to read, “Stay open minded.”
“I did not want that type of thing to be plastered to my community, to my town, and I really needed it to say something that was more open-minded, and more loving, and more accepting,” said Russell.
Russell eventually went to the church and apologized for messing with their sign. Of course, the damage was already done, and the church was soon informed that they must move out of the building.
Understandably, some Christians who agree with the sign’s premise believe that its tone was combative. They argue that the sign portrays Christians in a negative light and might further push away the lost instead of drawing them in.
Remnant Fellowship Church has since been dispersed, but it is unclear whether they moved to a different location. However, the sign’s impact still remains as both Christians and non-Christians stand divided on the sign’s controversial message.