A Tennessee deputy and pastor is being investigated by the District Attorney’s office after he gave a sermon calling for the government to round up and execute members of the LGBTQ community.
Knox County Sheriff’s deputy Grayson Fritts is no longer on active duty. On Wednesday, video surfaced of a hate-filled sermon he gave to his congregation on June 2 at All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville that called for the execution of anyone found to be LGBTQ, Knox News first reported.
“I’m sick of sodomy getting crammed down our throats,” Fritts said during his sermon. He then criticized musician Taylor Swift for her support of a bill that would ban discriminating against LGBTQ people.
“It’s infecting our nation, people,” he said. “The culture’s changed, the Bible is not outdated. The federal government, the police or what-have-you, should enforce Leviticus 20:13. That is the purpose of this sermon, is to show you that.”
That passage from the Old Testament calls homosexuality an “abomination” and says those engaging in it “shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
“Send the police in 2019 out to these LGBT freaks and arrest them,” Fritts continued. “Have a trial for them, and if they are convicted then they are to be put to death. Do you understand that? It’s a capital crime to be carried out by our government.”
Fritts has worked for the Knox County government since 1999, but asked two weeks ago to take a buyout offer, Knox News reported. He is on paid sick leave until that takes effect next month.
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said Wednesday night that prosecutors will review all pending cases involving Fritts.
“I find this speech personally offensive and reprehensible,” Allen said in a statement. “As District Attorney, my constitutional obligation is to protect the integrity of the justice system.”
Sheriff Tom Spangler also denounced Fritts’ hate speech in a statement.
“I want to be very clear that it is my responsibility to ensure equal protection to ALL citizens of Knox County, Tennessee under the law, my oath and the United States Constitution without discrimination or hesitation,” Spangler said in the statement to Knox News. “Rest assured that I have and will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, Fritts defended his comments in another sermon on Wednesday night, saying he wasn’t calling on civilians to commit violence, but that it was instead the “government’s responsibility.”
“I’m not calling anybody in here to arms,” he said. “I’m not calling anyone here to violence. I’m saying it’s the government’s responsibility, is what I said.”