CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. – Sunday 2,000 people are expected to protest a local pastor’s anti-gay sermon that’s received national attention.
As a result, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office is bringing in 50 officers for crowd control and church protection. Those officers were supposed to have the day off, said Sheriff Coy Reid.
In his May 13th sermon Providence Road Baptist Church Pastor, Charles Worley, doesn't hide his disgust of President Obama coming out in support of gay marriage.
Worley also said he would eliminate gays and lesbians by keeping them behind an electric fence until they die.
That sermon and the video is a hot topic around Maiden, where the church is located.
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” said neighbor Kimberly Austin.
"I think it was wrong for him to be saying stuff like that. He's a minister and he's representing God and I think the only one that can judge is God,” said neighbor Pedro Nunez.
Protesters call it hate speech. They say their protest is about love and tolerance.
"This pastor sent out such a negative and hateful message that it outraged a lot of people. In the beginning we really wanted to speak out about the message he sent and try to make an example that if you are in a position of power, you don't sent out those messages to people,” said Laura Tipton with Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate.
Protesters are coming from Arizona, Florida, New York, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia as well as from Catawba County and surrounding areas, Tipton said.
The protest will take place at the Catawba County Justice Center. It's public property and protesters have a permit. The church is private property and the sheriff says protesters aren't allowed.
The sheriff says Worley has received death threats due to that sermon, but they don't think the threats are legitimate. There have been no threats regarding Sunday's protest.
The protest starts at 11 a.m.