Indiana’s Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church has made national news since a video surfaced this week of Pastor Jeff Sangl and his congregation encouraging a four-year-old singing a song called, “Ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven.” The church is in apparent damage control, but sending a variety of mixed messages. The following statement appeared on the church’s website:
The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives. We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.
Of course, this statement doesn’t exactly distance itself from the message of the song, which church members have defended. One congregant stood behind the video, saying, “The people who are upset just don’t read the word of God. If we don’t teach the children the truth early they will never learn… Of course we applauded a child who is singing a song about God.”
Meanwhile, Pastor Sangl has received death threats, leading him to abruptly leave for vacation with his wife without telling anyone where they were going. Church members are taking turns keeping vigil over their church to provide extra security as a result of harassing phone calls.
Dan Savage noted yesterday that Apostolic Truth Tabernacle is in Greensburg, IN, which is where Billy Lucas lived. Billy committed suicide in 2010 after being bullied for being gay, and his death was one in a spate of similar suicides that led Savage to create the It Gets Better project. If four-year-olds in Greensburg are still being taught to celebrate the idea that all gay people deserve to go to hell, it’s not getting better there yet.
Fox News — of all places — has reported that according to Decatur County Sheriff Gregory Allen, reports that Pastor Sangl has received death threats are not true. Sangl had contacted the department asking them to “keep an eye” on the church’s property, but made no mention of any death threats.