A northern California church is under fire after displaying an anti-LGBTQ message on the sign outside of the parish that reads, “Bruce Jenner is still a man, homosexuality is still a sin.” Now, members of the community are protesting Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in an effort to align with those who may feel threatened.
Amelia Mallory is one of three local Lake Shastina moms who have come together to orchestrate the Shastina Love Rally to protest the sign after seeing a photo of it on Facebook. And although Mallory is aware that she lives in a predominantly conservative area, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that it’s still shocking to see that kind of message in your own backyard.
“The sign itself is walking that fine line between truth and fiction,” Mallory says. “If religion is a belief someone holds and uses as a tool to be a better human, I’m totally in favor of it. But as a mom, I would hate for anyone to tell my kids they were in any way less because of something they really don’t have control over.”
According to the sign, the church believes that “the culture may change” but maintains that “the bible does not.”
“We believe that Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine. We also believe that salvation is only for sinners,” Pastor Justin Hoke tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Jesus said he came to call sinners, not the righteous. If we give in to cultural demands to stop calling sin ‘sin,’ then we are robbing people of opportunity to hear the truth.”
For Mallory, her efforts aren’t aimed at changing the mind of Hoke others who believe the same things. Instead, she wants to make sure that any people who feel attacked by the message know they have allies.
“Nobody has any illusions of changing the minds of the pastor or the church,” Mallory says. “We’re not going to lay out logical arguments to their side and have them go, ‘Aha, I see the light!’ And nobody is expecting that. What’s important to us is that we raise our voices, use our bodies, signs, art and expression to balance out the message on the sign and try to promote inclusion and tolerance.”
Following the group’s first rally, which took place on Jan. 6, the Shastina Love Rally Facebook page is now gearing up for another rally on Sunday at which their main focus will be “volume.”
“Balancing out the sign with our own voices” is the goal, says Mallory. “Rallying together in support of each other and of the queer community as a whole. Ideally he would remove the sign, but I’m not optimistic about that.”
Hoke confirms that he has no plans to remove the sign. Since it was vandalized on Wednesday, he says, the message will remain until the sign is fixed.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Church surprises man with donations so he can get his 2 front teeth for Christmas
• Grieving parents say priest called their son ‘a sinner’ at his funeral
• Church reimagines Nativity scene featuring caged baby Jesus