Vice President Mike Pence is under fire within the mainstream and LGBT media for speaking over the weekend at a historically black church where the pastor spoke out against anything that harms the “foundation” of marriage, including homosexuality.
Pence spoke at the Holy City Church of God In Christ in Memphis, Tenn., ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day – affirming the “ideals” King supported – but it was a pastor’s subsequent sermon that sparked controversy.
NBC News’ website, ran an Out News story under the headline, “Pence attends homophobic sermon streamed on White House YouTube channel.” The Hill’s website ran a similar story with the title, “Pence attends sermon where bishop says 'demonic spirit' is behind homosexual attraction.” Newsweek and others posted similar stories.
The pastor’s sermon, though, was similar to what can be heard in any evangelical church.
“The church is Christ’s bride. One day He’s coming back for his bride,” Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor said.
Taylor’s sermon focused on the importance of building on the right “foundation.”
“People are building [their lives] on lies, false prophets, false teaching – but we’ve got to build on the Word of God,” Taylor said. “… His Word will not change for nobody. … When building, the foundation is the most important part of any organization, school, marriage [or] home.
“... What is the devil trying to do?” Taylor asked. “He’s trying to destroy the foundation of marriage [and] cut off the reproduction process. Two men can’t have a baby. Two women can’t have a baby.”
Taylor also discussed abortion, saying presidents, queens and world leaders may have been aborted.
“The foundation is important,” Taylor said. “We [need] to encourage young men and women to get married. It’s a demonic spirit that causes another woman to want to lie with another woman. It’s a demonic spirit that causes another man to be attracted to another man. … God didn’t make us for that.”
The White House website streamed Pence’s speech and Taylor’s sermon.
Charlotte Clymer, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said in the NBC News story that Pence's appearance was an example of the vice president using his “perception of faith as a cudgel against vulnerable communities.”
GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, also criticized Pence.
“Wish we could say we were surprised that the Vice President spoke at a church event where the bishop spouted vile things about LGBTQ people,” GLAAD said. “But here we are.”
People on social media, though, were divided.
“Christians believe what Scripture says, and NBC thinks it's shocking,” one person on Twitter wrote. “... so many who claim to be Christians completely ignore the Word of God nowadays…”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Video courtesy: The White House
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.