Pastor asks God to ‘cleanse’ church after gay man gives a speech
A pastor asked God to ‘cleanse’ his church after a gay man gave a speech at an event held there.
Pastor Greg Schaffer of Gateway Church in Del Norte, Colorado, was apparently unhappy after the church hosted an external Rural Philanthropy Days event on September 22.
Blogger Hemant Mehta reports that one of the speakers at the event, Justin Garoutte of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, spoke about work to reduce suicide among LGBT+ young people, telling his own coming out story from the stage.
The speech did not go down well with Schaffer, who gave a sermon that, evening distancing the church from the speech, before leading a prayer to ‘cleanse’ the church of the man’s presence.
Speech from gay man ‘not in line with’ church.
Schaffer made clear that the speaker “shared some things that we’re not in line with as a church”, referencing “the LGBTQ community and the advancement of that whole deal”.
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The preacher said he was “really caught off guard” by the speech, adding: “The LGBT movement — Q, X, Y, all the extra letters that are getting put on.
“There’s a push out there that’s going into our school systems, it’s coming into our churches, into our communities, and more than that, into our families.”
He added: “We don’t endorse homosexuality in this church. We believe it’s a sin.”
Pastor asks God to cleanse ‘the enemy’ from church.
Leading the congregation in a “prayer cleansing of this sanctuary,” Schaffer made clear: “Lord, we pray for those that would have a different mindset, a different way, a different lifestyle. Lord, we don’t condone that whatsoever here this morning.”
He added: “Lord, may the enemy have no stronghold in this building, or in our hearts and our minds… You get my apologies for letting that happen. It’s tough to know when you don’t know, but still my responsibility, so I just want to say that.”
In am email to The Friendly Atheist, Justin Garoutte voiced his dismay with the sermon.
He said: “Professionally and privately, I work to build health equity for LGBTQ youth throughout the region, and I know firsthand how homophobic remarks like Pastor Greg’s increase the fear and negative health outcomes (i.e., increased risk of depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance use, among others) through minority stress for our LGBTQ family.”