More than 1,000 protesters gathered in Newton, N.C., Sunday to protest an antigay sermon by a minister in the nearby town of Maiden.
The demonstrators were objecting to a Mother’s Day sermon by Providence Road Baptist Church pastor Charles Worley, who advocated putting gays and lesbians in concentration camp–style settings. Video of the message went viral online.
“Build a great big, large fence — 50 or a 100 miles long — and put all the lesbians in there,” Worley said. “Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals — and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Catawba County sheriff Coy Reid told North Carolina gay newspaper QNotes that he estimated 1,400-1,600 people attended the event, held at the county’s Government and Justice Center. The protest was originally scheduled for the church grounds but was moved to accommodate the expected large crowd.
Protesters chanted “Love, not hate” and sang religious songs to drown out a few dozen counterdemonstrators, QNotes reports. While there were some impassioned exchanges at the event, there were no arrests, although police issued a warning to an antigay street preacher for violating a noise ordinance.
Organizer Laura Tipton said she believed the protesters had made their statement effectively. “I hope that the LGBT community and anybody that is different and considers themselves an outsider knows that there is support and love for them,” she said. “I hope they know that in a small community, if this many people will come out to support them, they have love and acceptance everywhere.”
Read the full QNotes report here.