MAIDEN, N.C. -- Hundreds descended onto the Justice Center in Catawba County to protest a Maiden pastor who is receiving national attention.
Pastor Charles Worley is the preacher at Providence Baptist Church in Maiden. In Worley’s May 13 sermon, originally posted on the church’s website (it has been removed), a video shows him speaking out against gay marriage and President Barack Obama’s support of it.
“I figured a way out -- a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers -- but I couldn't get it past the Congress," Worley said during the sermon.
“Build a great big, large fence -- 50 or 100 miles long -- put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce," said Worley.
Protesters quickly pounced and organized a demonstration. In a press release sent to NewsChannel 36 organizers stated, “they believe that individuals in leadership roles such as Pastor Worley, have a responsibility to uphold the honor and integrity of human rights, even if they disagree on religious or moral tenants."
Thousands were expected at the protest. The organizer, Laura Tipton, says over 2,000 attended the protest.
“I’m not gay but I’ll fight for their rights everyday and everywhere I can,” said one protester .
It’s clear that emotions are running high since the video made national headlines. Sheriff Coy Reid told NewsChannel 36 someone set fire to a power box at Providence Baptist Church on Friday.
Reid said the Fire Marshall is investigating the incident, but there is no reason to believe the fire is linked to peaceful protests planned on Sunday.
The Catawba County Sheriff’s Department brought in an additional 50 officers to help during the protest. NewsChannel 36 crews on the scene also noted that state troopers were helping to direct traffic.
Providence Road Baptist Church politely declined media access to their Sunday service.
The protest was scheduled to end at 2 p.m.