A church sign outside the Sea Gate Community Chapel in Wilmington, North Carolina, was smashed by a man with a hammer because it said “God loves gays, but hates a perverted life style." The controversial sign then cited a bible verse, Romans 1:26-27, and ended with “Turn or burn,” a phrase made popular in the 1960s by preacher John R. Rice.
Witnesses say a tall, white man, who has not been identified, got out of his car and smashed the sign outside the church. The sign had sparked a protest outside the church, which was broken up by police before the incident on Sunday.
Sea Gate Community Chapel Pastor David Heuring said that he stands by the message, “We're going to teach the entire truth, and I'll take the heat for it.” Wilmington Pride, an organization that supports gays, was involved in the Sunday protest and accused the church of “supporting hatred of homosexuality.”
Anna Benson, who created the sign, said that she did not feel any animosity towards homosexuals. She told WECT-TV, “'I love the gays. I love everybody.” The sign did include the words: “God Loves gays.”
Rachel Clary attended the peaceful protest Sunday morning and told WWAY-TV that she never thought things would go this far: "It was really, really disappointing. We felt that it kind of took away from the entire message that we were trying to put out there like respond to this message of hate with a message of love and peace."
Clary was offended by the sign, but cannot believe that it was destroyed. She says the protestors' interaction with the church was non-confrontational. "We just wanted to send a peaceful message. Everyone was really on board with that from the very beginning."