ZEELAND, Mich. – Protesters outside the Zeeland Baptist Church gathered Sunday in response to remarks made by Pastor Clint Echols in his March 1 sermon.
Daniel VanderLey, a former attendee of Zeeland Baptist, claims the church is voting next week to officially ban gays from being part of their congregation.
“We are here to tell Zeeland First Baptist Church, ‘Love, because hate hurts,'” said VanderLey.
Protesters carried graphic signs of brutally beaten and murdered men and women who have suffered at the hands of hateful activity.
This is the second weekend of protests in response to Pastor Echols’ comparison of homosexuals to ax murderers.
“They say, ‘Oh wait a second, I’m gay, I’m bisexual, I want to change my gender,’” Echols said during his sermon. “And that’s being true to themselves and being true to their internal compass.”
“For instance, on a completely other playing field, if tomorrow I woke up because I’ve got this internal compass that’s telling me what truth is, tomorrow if I wake up say, ‘Well, I think I’m an ax murderer and now I’m an ax murderer,’ would you be happy with that? Would you agree? Would you want me to follow that internal compass?”
Protesters we spoke with said this message goes against their faith of love and acceptance.
“Love your neighbor as yourself, there is no commandment greater than these,” said one protester. “These are words from Jesus!”
FOX 17 tried reaching out to the pastor last week. While he didn’t want to speak on camera, he stated he stood by the message in his sermons.
Community members are now worried that the ideals of Zeeland Baptist could influence other churches throughout the area.
VanderLey has created a website to encourage people to join his cause. You can find more information on their Facebook page.