Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a church service Sunday in which religious leaders said, among other things, that homosexuality is caused by “the devil.”
The White House streamed the service live, and it’s still available on the official White House YouTube page.
Minutes after Pence promised congregants at the Holy City Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee, that he would “stand strong for the values that you hold dear,” Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor launched into a diatribe about the “demonic” nature of homosexuality.
“We have to encourage young men and women to get married,” Taylor said from the pulpit. “It’s a demonic spirit that causes a woman to want to lie with another woman. It’s a demonic spirit that causes a man to be attracted to another man.”
Pence’s office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Later, Taylor called homosexuality “unnatural,” justifying his characterization by falsely claiming that same-sex attraction is unique to humans.
“You never see two male animals coming together,” he said. “We’ve got to expose what the devil is doing.”
Taylor also railed against transgender people.
“He made a man to be a man,” Taylor said. “If you want to know what God made you, when you go to the bathroom, just check your plumbing.”
Earlier in the service, Bishop Vincent Matthews Jr. dubbed Pence “one of the most persecuted Christians in America” and praised his faith.
“The biggest criticism he gets on television and everywhere else is that he believes in the Bible,” he said.
Charlotte Clymer, a Christian and a spokesperson for national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said Pence’s appearance at Sunday’s event is another example of the vice president using his “perception of faith as a cudgel against vulnerable communities.”
Clymer also said the event’s anti-gay sermon feeds a popular misconception that all faith groups are anti-LGBTQ, adding, “Christ clearly taught us to love one another.”
LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD also spoke out against Pence’s appearance at the event and the White House’s streaming of the anti-gay sermon.
“Wish we could say we were surprised that the Vice President spoke at a church event where the bishop spouted vile things about LGBTQ people,” GLAAD stated. “But here we are.”
GLAAD said this is the 136th anti-LGBTQ attack made by the Trump administration.
Source: NBC News