A Californian pastor, who put up a transphobic sign outside his church claiming that Caitlyn Jenner is “still a man,” has said he has been forced out of his role.
Justin Hoke, former pastor at Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in the town of Weed, has said he was made to leave his job at the congregation following backlash over the sign, which also dead named Caitlyn Jenner.
“As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church,” Hoke wrote on Facebook on January 12.
“After much prayer and counsel, I have decided that it is best to briefly communicate what has taken place.”
He went on to give a four-point explanation of why he was no longer at the church, including being informed by an elder that “he could no longer follow my lead as Pastor of TBPC.”
Hoke added that he also been told that “all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor.”
“Therefore it was determined that it would be in the best interest of the local body for us (TBPC and the Hoke family) to part ways,” said Hoke.
In an update on Monday (January 14), Hoke said: “I would like to add this, I did not want to leave, I did not quit, and I was willing to stay.”
Local community rallies in support of LGBT+ residents after Caitlyn Jenner sign
LGBT+ activists gathered around the church earlier in January to condemn the billboard, which also alleges that “homosexuality is still sin.”
It is believed that Hoke put up the sign on behalf of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church on December 31.
“I would like to add this, I did not want to leave, I did not quit, and I was willing to stay.”
—Former pastor Justin Hoke
“The culture may change, the Bible does not,” the sign also stated.
Protestors from the local community were quick to show their support for LGBT+ residents in the town.
Anti-LGBT+ pastor defends Caitlyn Jenner sign
A group assembled outside the church over the weekend with their own pro-LGBT+ signs.
“Jesus had 2 dads and he turned out FINE,” read one placard.
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Speaking to KTVL, one activist said: “I’m here to support individuals of our community, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or other elements that make people unique.
“I think that we should show love, respect and tolerance to all individuals as part of our national identity.”
Weed resident Robyn Vandiver is here to express her support of the LGBT community pic.twitter.com/5KSo75Zkny
— Jennevieve Fong (@JennevieveKTVL) January 6, 2019
Justin Hoke, pastor at Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church, however, previously defended the sign on social media.
He uploaded an image of the sign on Facebook on December 31.
“It is not possible to preach the gospel in short pithy statements,” he wrote in a comments beneath the image.
“I have used this sign for 7 years now to provoke reflection or make a strong point about a single truth. Such as this one: the culture does not determine truth God does.”