The parents of graduating seniors at a public high school in North Carolina are up in arms after learning a local pastor told the students that every one of them will burn in hell for all eternity, if they’re gay.
"This is bullying,” said Chuck Wilson, a parent of a graduating senior who attended this week's baccalaureate service. “Bullying doesn't have to happen from the back hallway of a school or a back parking lot. It can happen from the pulpit, it can happen from the stage."
While none of the students are known to be openly gay, Pastor Scott Carpenter says he felt he "had to" deliver the message he calls "biblical truth" to graduating seniors at Kings Mountain High School during the annual baccalaureate service.
The New Civil Rights Movement reported the pre-commencement event is held on-campus to celebrate and honor seniors' accomplishments; students are not required to attend. Kings Mountain's graduation ceremony is Saturday, and parents remain outraged.
"It's a public school. There are children here. I think there should be some level of responsibility of the speaker coming in to not take advantage of a captive audience," Wilson added.
"Nobody got bashed or anything. All I did was simply speak biblical truth," Carpenter told Charlotte news station WBTV. "The number one audience that I have to please is God."
Carpenter, who has widely been reported as an "interim pastor" at Temple Baptist Church, told the station he has no regrets about his remarks.
"Do I hate anybody? Absolutely not. I just love them too much not to tell them the truth," Carpenter said. "Was I trying to be mean spirited? Absolutely not. Was I trying to hurt somebody's feelings? Absolutely not. I was simply had to do what I had to do as a Christian minister."
A spokesperson for the public school district in Cleveland County which has jurisdiction over Kings Mountain High and 28 other schools, told WBTV ”they had no part in the selection of speakers, which was left up to religious leaders in the community."
Watch Pastor Carpenter explain himself in the video below.