The pastor of Stedfast Baptist Church in Hurst, who preaches against homosexuality, said he is following what the Bible teaches and that he is not advocating violence toward the LGBTQ community.
Stedfast Baptist is facing a court order to vacate the building this week after a Tarrant County judge ruled that it is violating a clause in the lease prohibiting threats and violence.
Jonathan Shelley, the church pastor, said that he is following what is written in Leviticus 20-13 that says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
“According to the Bible, the death penalty is sanctioned toward homosexuality,” Shelley said.
Videos of Shelley preaching show him stating that homosexuality is “gross” and that the gay community influences the media, businesses and the government.
“They are bullying the government and businesses into doing their bidding for them. And you know, the right thing to do to a bully is put a bullet in his head. It’s not to back down. It’s not to apologize,” he stated in the video.
In another video, Shelley referred to the death of someone at a Pride parade in Florida when a truck crashed through the parade route.
“And you know, it’s great when trucks accidentally go through those you know, parades. And I think only one person died so, hopefully, we can hope for more in the future.”
Shelley went on to say that, “Well, you say that’s mean. But the Bible says they are worthy of death.”
Shelley said his preaching and statements are misinterpreted and taken out of context, and that none from his church has “hurt” or shown violence toward the gay community.
When protesters showed up, he said they pushed members of his congregation, but church members didn’t react.
Frank Hill, an attorney who represents the building owner, Fellowship of the Sword, a Christian foundation, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram previously that his client was concerned about the safety of the protesters and of other tenants in the building because of Shelley’s preaching.
“He (Shelley) was preaching from the premises, that is called a ‘true threat of violence’ which is not protected under the First Amendment,” Hill said.
Members of the LGBTQ community peacefully protested the pastor’s stance against the gay community, and the owner was worried about the safety of other tenants in the strip center at 700 W. Bedford Euless Road where the church is located.
“People need to be told that even a church can’t go around spewing threats of violence,” Hill said.
According to the court ruling, the church will have to pay $42,000 in attorney’s fees. The church can also appeal the judge’s order.