Pastor blames school shootings on gay marriage in sermon to senators
An Oklahoma pastor has said that hurricanes, terrorist attacks and even school shootings were the result of God’s wrath at equal marriage in a sermon to the state senate.
Bill Ledbetter, of the Fairview Baptist Church in Durant was sponsored by Republican Senate member Josh Brecheen to give a sermon on the floor of the Senate house on Thursday when he made the controversial remarks.
“Jacob Nikolas Cruz, February the 14th, went into a school and killed 17 of our people. Our kids. What is going on?
“Do we really believe that we can tell God to get lost from our school and our halls of legislation and there be no response?” asked the Baptist chaplain.
He added: “Do we really believe we can redefine marriage from the word of God to something in our own minds and there not be a response?”
The tragedies, including recent hurricanes, are God’s way of getting the nation’s attention and showing anger at ‘immorality’ preached Pastor Ledbetter in his sermon.
Several senators reportedly walked out during the remarks.
Senate Democrats slammed the sermon as hateful and divisive, saying: “There is no place for intolerance and hate in the Senate Chamber or anywhere else in Oklahoma.
“As senators we were elected to serve all people in Oklahoma and we should not condone or encourage divisive rhetoric which targets any Oklahoman.”
They have called on Ledbetter to apologise for his comments and urge Republican Senate leaders to ensure guest chaplains are more respectful of LGBT people in the future.
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Pastor Ledbetter later told reporters that he had only meant to pose the question of how God would show his disapproval of immoral behaviour.
It is not the first time that Ledbetter has made controversial comments on the Senate floor. In a 2012 sermon, he said that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were “God speaking to us.”
It is Senate custom for each day to begin with prayers, and on the last legislative day of the week, Senate representatives may nominate a chaplain to deliver a sermon in place of prayers.
Pastors receive $47.50 in state money each day they serve.