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North Carolina Neighborhood Unites Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Church

North Carolina Neighborhood Unites Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Church

<p>North Carolina Neighborhood Unites Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Church</p>

Asheville residents decided to send a message of love and acceptance to their queer neighbors by filling sidewalks outside of Greater Works Church with chalk artwork during an anti-LGBTQ+ event.

As a church in Asheville, N.C. held a "Rally for the Family" event, local residents united in support of their LGBTQ+ neighbors.

Greater Works Church in the community of Five Points held the event Saturday in partnership with the anti-queer South Carolina group Christian Families Against Destructive Decisions (CFADD), an organization seeking to uphold the values of the nuclear family.

Pastor Ronald Gates, who oversees Greater Works, participated in a video presentation titled "The Solution to Society’s Problems," which blamed gender identity, pornography, divorce, and abortion for the collapse of "traditional" family values.

“We want to strengthen the family, who God has created,” Gates said, according to local TV station WLOS. “God created a man and a woman. When it comes to the LGBTQ community, I want to say this: God loves everybody. Sin, he does not negotiate.”

He continued, “Whatever one chooses to do, that’s their own choice. For us as Bible-believing the God of the Bible and what we believe, we stick to the Bible values and standards. These things are important to us."

In response, Five Points community members decided to send a message of love and acceptance to local LGBTQ+ residents. Outside the church on Saturday, residents engulfed the sidewalks with colorful chalk artwork in a show of solidarity — and a dig at church leaders.

The messages featured sayings such as "Welcome to Five Point's rainbow road," "God = Love," "Love is Love," and a poster board sign reading "Hate is no way to show love."

“A lot of the groups associated with the event are very anti-LGBTQ, and there’s a lot of LGBTQ families in this neighborhood,” Micah Nielsen, who participated in drawing on the sidewalks, told WLOS.

Nielsen also said that while the "Rally for the Family" event isn't the first time Pastor Gates has pushed anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, the community felt as if the recent rally was an "aggressive" stance against marriage equality, which singled out queer residents in the area.

“It’s pretty aggressive, considering the number of queer people that quite literally live across the street from this church,” Nielsen said. “It’s one thing to know that a neighbor disagrees with you — that's fine. It’s another thing to feel threatened."

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