One Christian church in Alabama was at the center of controversy over a phrase posted on a large sign. Critics claimed it was too offensive to certain members of the community while others agreed with the pastor who said it was a biblical message.
What began on social media sparked uproar in an Alabama community. A Reddit user commented on the welcome sign message presented by Carters Grove Baptist Church in Hazel Green. The sign stated, “Pride month sounds about right.” Underneath that phrase was a verse from Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction.”
The user who made the original Reddit post noted how this could upset members of the LQBTQ+ community, particularly those who are too afraid to come out. One user commented, “Look at it from another perspective. At least you know what to expect from that congregation, and you can make a decision based on the advertising they provide on the marquee. I had a hard time staying in the denomination I grew up in for the same reason, but none of the churches I attended were as blatant about their stance.”
Others, on the other hand, didn’t seem to think anything was wrong with the sign. “It makes me feel like the community is coming together and people are seeing different points of view from everybody else, and I feel like the church is being very supportive towards the pride and LQBTQ+ community,” one person said.
Pastor Jim Weaver of Carters Grove Baptist Church was contacted by Fox 54. He held firm in the decision to post the message on the sign. Weaver stated that he wants to discourage individuals from pursuing “an unhealthy lifestyle” as defined by the Bible. “I believe, scripturally speaking, promoting a lifestyle that the Bible calls sinful will bring a country down. It’s not bigotry, it is actually loving a person to tell them that things are not right in their life,” Pastor Weaver explained.
Pastor Weaver initially put up the sign in the month of June in response to Pride month. Weaver claimed he does not believe there should be a month-long celebration of what the church says is an “unscriptural lifestyle.” David Cleland, who was a member of the board of directors for Rocket City Pride at the time, also weighed in. “I can definitely see both sides,” he said. “So, the way I first read it was honestly, thinking that they were in support of pride.”
This wasn’t the only church sign that caused offense within a community down South. One gay couple in Montgomery, Alabama, was driving by the Wares Ferry Road Baptist Church when they noticed a sign that stated, “GOD DETESTS PRIDE.” The couple was so offended that they pulled over.
“We were very disappointed that during pride month of all months this church had a sign up like this,” Lindsey Dukeminier said. Lindsey and her partner approached the sign and hugged, according to CBS 42. On social media, a photo of their kiss with the church sign by their side has received dozens of likes, shares, and comments. “Detest this,” the caption said.
However, the church’s pastor claims it was all a big misunderstanding. Wesley Whitworth, pastor of Wares Ferry Road Baptist Church, stated that the sign was not intended to target members of the LGBTQ+ community. The man who changes the sign, Whitworth explained, was referencing “personal pride — pride and arrogance, things of that nature.”
“And it just coincided with pride month,” Whitworth said. The pastor stated that when he initially saw the sign after it was put in place, he mistook it for a reference to Pride Month. He inquired of the individual in charge of the sign if this was the case. The preacher believed the man when he said it wasn’t.
“It was not the intent to put that up just to spark controversy,” Whitworth said. Nonetheless, the pastor stated that the Bible is unequivocal about homosexuality. “They’re being disingenuous if they think that most mainstream churches would not have a problem with that,” he said, referring to Dukeminier and her partner. “Obviously we disagree on that. They’ll have to stand before God for what they do. It’s not my job to go around policing the actions of everybody.”