A church in Spokane, Washington, has drawn criticism for its pastors’ use of homophobic slurs and calls for violence against LGBTQ+ people. The Sure Foundation Baptist Church and the associated New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Movement have gained a reputation for being some of the most offensive Christian pastors in the country. In one sermon, Pastor Danil Kutsar said that he hopes “every homosexual dies.”
Recently, Kutsar’s sermon got attention online for stating that the language-learning app Duolingo had been “infiltrated by homosexuals.” Independent journalist Hemant Mehta shared the video online, which prompted the church to respond on Twitter, complaining about death threats. However, when someone asked the nature of the threats, the church shared screenshots of messages that were eerily similar to the pastors’ own calls for violence.
The New IFB movement first gained international attention when Pastor Steven Anderson of the New IFB Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, praised the Pulse shooter for killing 49 people in an LGBTQ+ nightclub. Anderson said that the shooter killed “a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles.” He has been banned from dozens of countries for his extreme anti-LGBTQ+ and antisemitic statements.
Jonathan Shelley of the New IFB Stedfast Baptist Church in Texas celebrated the death of a gay man at the 2021 Wilton Manors, Florida Pride celebration in a car accident. “I think only one person died,” he told congregants. “So hopefully we can hope for more in the future.”
These extreme statements by Christian pastors have drawn attention to the harmful impact of religious bigotry on LGBTQ+ individuals. The hateful rhetoric coming from these churches is unacceptable and must be condemned. As society moves towards greater acceptance and equality for all, it is important to hold those who perpetuate hate and violence accountable for their actions.