The pastor of an anti-gay church in New York City is coming out in defense of a billboard that contains the message "Jesus would stone homos."
Earlier this month, pastor James David Manning made headlines for a sign posted outside the ATLAH Worldwide Missionary's 123rd Street location in Harlem. The billboard, which read "Jesus would stone homos" and "Stoning is the law," also featured four Bible verses. On March 20, he uploaded a video to ATLAH's YouTube channel and rationalized the message.
"I never said that I would stone homos," he says. "I never said that I would ask anyone else to stone homos. I never said that. What I did say is what the Bible says, and I gave several verses within the Word of God that demonstrates why I believe that Jesus would stone homos ... The homosexual activists are flat-out lying about what Jesus would do regarding the detestable, abominable, diseased practice and act of homosexuality. They have been lying and saying that Jesus would simply love."
He cites the verse John 8:1-11 -- in which Jesus says, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" -- as the cornerstone for his argument that Jesus would actually stone gays. (The Bible passage is about an adulterous woman whom Jesus defends against such harm.)
"No, I'm not a hater," Manning concludes after eight minutes. "I'm a preacher of the Word of God."
Manning's message has evoked a strong response from equal rights defenders like Jennifer Louise Lopez, a lesbian who last week went to the door of the church and requested her stoning.
"I hope that by going up to the door and presenting myself as the human and the product of [Goddess’] creation, churches can begin to understand that us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are the very same creations that they are," she previously told The Huffington Post.
Watch Manning's full response below.