A community was left in shock as Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle Church members changed their sign to read ‘Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights.’
Pastor Tony Greene insists that everyone who has spoken out against the sign has simply misread it, or misunderstands the message he is trying to send. ‘Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal right to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual. It was not a statement against any one group in particular, you know what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of the children, the rights of everyone? My heart breaks in the dividedness of our country.’
The sign was later changed to read ‘Glad you reading, did not intend to offend, we all need Christ’. Unfortunately at this point the damage had already been done, with not only members of the community condemning the message Greene posted, but reports featuring on US News networks and several internet sources.
Several people have pointed out that the sign was an obvious attack on the current battle the LGBT community are facing for equal rights, that it is once again another case individuals using their religious beliefs to condemn and marginalise a group of people.
However, whilst that might be the case here, with no mention on LGBT on the sign it makes a sweeping statement about equal rights in general. It’s not hard to see how any group who has had to fight for equal rights could take offense when reading this, women, members of a racial community, members of another religious group, people on the LGBT spectrum, this sign sends a vicious message to them all.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on these matters, but it’s about time religious groups stopped trying to force theirs onto others and using hate speech to do so.