DUBOIS COUNTY, Ind. (WFIE) – The Dubois County Pride Organization is set to host Pride in the Park on June 24, but two local pastors are saying publicly “it’s not something we can be proud of.”
Pastor Joe Helt of First Presbyterian Church of Jasper and Pastor Josh Lagrange of True Vine Baptist in Ferdinand posted a link to a letter written and signed by them on a Facebook page.
The message says “join us in praying for the event to be canceled and for people entangled in these sins to repent and believe in God.”
In the letter, the pair call homosexuality a sin and not a matter of pride, going on to say supporting the community pride event on June 24 is shameful.
The post was seen by members of River City Pride in Evansville and they want to rally around the Dubois County LGBTQ+ community in support.
“There’s still work to be done there, but I would tell them when people are upset and when people come out against you, you know you’re going in the right direction,” said Ashley Riester, president of River. City Pride.
The pastor’s letter got hundreds of shares on social media and comments from angry and upset people.
“I would say to anyone who has been hurt by the words these pastors have spoken in such incredible ignorance, they have displayed their feelings and of course it is in a way that people cannot respond to, I say you’re loved, you’re seen, you’re appreciated and you have a place here,” Riester said.
Dubois County Pride also posted a message for their followers saying, “We see you…and on June 24th we’ll celebrate who you are and who you love.”
We reached out to both pastors for comment. Lagrange did not respond.
Helt sent us the following statement:
“I wrote this message because I am a preacher of the Gospel in the Word of God, the Bible. And the Word of God commands us to flee and repent of our sins. This public holiday deprives men and women and children tempted by various sexual sins to repent by telling them to celebrate their sins so I gave God’s warning to our community I moved here from Bloomington so I knew the revelers and their friends would not want to hear God’s call to repentance. I am not a politician; I am a preacher of the Gospel and I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I understand, and there is a solution: repent of your sexual sin and trust in the blood of Jesus to cleanse you. If you turn to Jesus, your anger will turn to sorrow, then to joy and peace. First of all, if you will allow me to nitpick over words, it has nothing to do with feelings. It’s God’s law and my t job is to preach. But speaking of loved ones, why would anyone assume that a pastor calling on women and men to repent of sexual sins does not know or love women and men who are slaves to sexual sins? Not true. I have loved men all my life, and perhaps more intensely than any gay or bisexual man has ever loved another man. My preaching work is to fight to save their souls.
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