• Pastor Doug Bland is fighting anti-LGBTIQA+ hate (AZ Family/3)Source: AZ Family/3
After receiving hate for flying a pride flag, Pastor Doug Bland clapped back with a second flag.
Bianca Soldani

14 Dec 2016 - 1:32 PM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2016 - 1:32 PM

A church that was criticised for flying the rainbow pride flag has responded by going bigger and bolder.

Tempe Community Christian Church in Arizona, USA, says they were approached last week by a person threatening to protest because of the parish’s welcoming and supportive attitude towards LGBTQIA+ people.

In a Facebook post, Pastor Doug Bland explains, “The man was using inflammatory, graphic language about gay people and his ‘righteous’ hatred for them.”

“He threatened to pay people to protest in front of our church. He said that he was not above spreading lies about paedophilia in our church.”

Pastor Bland goes on to say that the person claimed to have been inspired by President-elect Donald Trump and that "if Hillary had won he would have driven right on by, but since Trump won he felt empowered to speak and act out because the country agrees with him".

Tempe Community Christian Church is known for visibly flying the rainbow flag from the top of their clock tower, and decided to take a stand, rather than caving in to the threats.

A second flag has since been erected and reads, "LOVERS in a dangerous time” - the lyrics of a 1984 Bruce Cockburn song. 

Pastor Bland told local news outlet AZ Family: "I think it’s a challenge to us to make sure we respond with love and with grace instead of responding hate for hate."

In Australia, a number of churches have come out in support of the LGBT+ community, including the Anglican Parish of Gosford, NSW, which regularly makes headlines for its pro-LGBT+ billboards.

Some have included, “Jesus had two dads and he turned out OK”, “Dear Christians, some people are gay, get over it. Love God”, and “Equality shouldn’t cost $160 million”.

Meanwhile, Activate Church in Adelaide parted ways with its denomination in October after stating that they wanted to continue to welcome and include LGBT+ people in their congregation. The decision came after their denomination joined Marriage Alliance, an anti-marriage equality group, which was against the beliefs of Activate Church who have a number of LGBT+ leaders in their parish.

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