A church in Greensburg just east of Columbus is receiving criticism after a cell phone video was posted anonymously on YouTube showing a boy singing an anti-gay song during a recent Sunday service. Members of the community came out to protest the church Sunday morning, saying the church’s actions were not representative of their town.
Greensburg residents gathered outside the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle on Sunday holding signs that read, “Thou shalt not judge” and “what happened to love thy neighbor.”
A video was posted online last week that shows the church’s members cheering and laughing as a 4-year-old boy sang a song that included the line “ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven.” That spurred 20-year-old Lucas Hartwell to organize Sunday’s protest via Facebook.
“When I saw the video I immediately decided that we should organize a protest and get this church to get the message that we are not these type of people in this town,” he says. “We are the type of people that are accepting and we’re facing toward progression. And we’re not that backwards town that everyone just looks at as we’re just corn folk from Indiana.”
This isn’t the first time the town has dealt with similar issues. Last year a high school boy committed suicide. Some students who knew him say he wasn’t homosexual, but was bullied and called gay.
Protestor Abby Wainscott says she hoped the rally would show support for gay teens and discourage bullying. “If one teenager that goes to this church sees us standing out here today and realizes, hey, maybe there is another way to think about this, maybe I don’t have to hate those people,” she says. “Even if we just plant a seed of doubt in one kid’s head today by standing here, then I think we possibly made a major difference.”
No one from the church would comment at the protest, but the church has posted a statement on its website saying the pastor and its members do not condone the hate of any person for any reason.