A Georgia church has raised some hackles with its display of a sign that calls homosexuality worthy of death.
Milledgeville’s Ten Commandments Church, which is “known for stating what some would call extreme beliefs,” has put up the message “Homosexuality Is a Death Worthy Crime,” reports Macon TV station WGXA.
The church has posted some “eye-opening signs” previously, but local resident Robert Owens, who noticed the sign while on a bike ride, said this one “crossed the line.”
“If it said being bald or blind or short or fat or blue-eyed or redhead, if any of those were death-worthy crimes, if they were causing people to think, Wow, those people really need to die, that’s a terrible thing, that’s crossing a line,” Owens told the TV station. He said he has gay friends and relatives, and he found the church’s message deeply offensive.
The church’s pastor, Robert Lee, defended the message and said it was merely a quote from the Bible — the book of Leviticus, specifically, often cited for its condemnations of homosexuality.
“Homosexuality is an abomination, and the Bible says that homosexuality is a death-worthy crime,” he told WGXA. In a week when the Supreme Court heard a marriage equality case, he also denounced the idea of granting marriage rights to same-sex couples. “The institution of marriage was instituted by God, and it should not be changed by people who deserve not to live,” he said.
Watch the report below.