The First Conservative Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, recently placed a controversial message on its church sign.
The message states, "Homosexuals must repent or go to hell."
Pastor Gene Youngblood claims he's exercising his free speech rights, but some residents are appalled, noted ClickOrlando.com (video below).
In response to media interview requests, Pastor Youngblood wrote a three-page statement that said in part:
Because we love people (yet, as directed in scripture to hate the sin), we therefore want to warn them of the coming judgment of God on the sin of homosexuality (and any other sin that is NOT repented of).
It is my sincere prayer that perhaps 'ONE' practicing homosexual will have read our sign and will REPENT before it is too late and they are cast into HELL. HELL is a real place and anyone not believing in the reality of HELL will not change the temperature of the FLAMES a single degree.
Cate Dobbins, who has lived in the area for almost 10 years, started a petition to have the sign removed.
“I called the church and left my name and number and no one called me back,” Dobbins told ActionNewsJax.com.
Dobbins took her petition to the church on Sunday to show it to Pastor Youngblood, but church members told her to leave because she was on private property.
According to Pastor Youngblood, the message on the church sign changes every Monday.