Faith

Pastor Forced to Move After Death Threats for Opposing Facebook's Rainbow Flag Reaction

A West Virginia pastor has had his car keyed, has received feces in the mail, and has gotten death threats after his stance against Facebook’s “Pride” reaction — a rainbow flag “like” option that endorsed the LGBT agenda. It got so bad, the pastor decided to move for the safety of his family.

“I am not going to back down from it, but I do have six children and I do have to be wise about that as well. To me, honestly, it’s just a matter of time until one of these people does something stupid,” Pastor Rich Penkoski, who runs the online ministry Warriors for Christ, told the Christian Post Tuesday.

“It was recommended by the police and my attorney as well that as much as we want to stand up, maybe it is just smartest to move because all these people know where we live,” the pastor explained. “It is a smart thing to do for my family’s sake.”

Penkoski received an immense amount of backlash after the Warriors for Christ Facebook page announced in June that it would ban anyone who posted the rainbow flag emoji on the page. Patheos’ “Friendly Atheist” Hermant Mehta mocked the page, writing, “Here’s some advice. If you run a Facebook page promoting Jesus, and you call yourselves ‘Warriors for Christ,’ don’t tell everyone you can’t handle rainbow emojis.”

Penkoski told the Christian Post that his Facebook page banned the rainbow flag emoji not because they “couldn’t handle it,” but because it “is a pride symbol for homosexuality and we are a Christian ministry.” He added, “We don’t celebrate sin and we are not going to embrace it now. We know, as Christians, that sin leads to death.”

The pastor added that after Mehta posted his attack, the Facebook page was inundated with over 900,000 rainbow emojis and the “Warriors for Christ” prayer line was inundated with callers who opposed the ministry’s view on sexuality.

Since the ministry’s webpage listed Penkoski’s home address, he and his family have become targets. Their car was keyed and they received feces in the mail. The pastor also reported receiving hate messages and even gay porn in his email inbox.

“They sent fecal matter to our house, gay porn to our house,” Penkoski told the Christian Post. “Last night, for instance, someone threatened [in a Facebook message] to rape me. They said if I disrespect their pride flag they would come pound my a**.”

“These people are absolutely horrid,” the pastor continued. “These are the kinds of things a decent human being wouldn’t do, regardless of whether they are Christian or not. It was all meant to bully us and try to silence us.”

He added that his family “received messages of ‘You should die,’ ‘Go kill yourself.'”

Penkoski said he and his family armed themselves, but after consultation they decided to leave the house altogether. In fact, right after they decided to move, the pastor received a chilling threat over Facebook message from a man named Michael Grant. “I know somebody waiting right now to out a bullet through your skull,” the message read. It concluded with a clear threat that someone would kill Penkoski and his family.

Penkoski and his family moved from their rental home in Harpers Ferry, W. Va. to another location. They had only lived in that house for eight months, after moving to the area from New Jersey in 2015.

“None of this is going to cause me to back down,” the pastor declared. “We are not going to stop telling the truth.”

These threats are merely the latest LGBT push to silence any disagreement. Fears of violence against those who disagree with the new sexual orthodoxy are very rational.

The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has long branded conservative Christian organizations “anti-LGBT hate groups.” This rhetoric has had severe consequences.

In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II broke into the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC), aiming to shoot and kill every person in the building and lay Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches near their bodies. He pled guilty to three felony charges, including committing an act of terrorism, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, the shooter said he targeted FRC because it was listed as an “anti-gay group” on the SPLC website.

James Hodgkinson, who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball practice, “liked” the SPLC on Facebook, and the SPLC had put Scalise on its “hate list.” (Scalise just got out of the hospital today.)

Despite these events, Democrats and many media outlets have continued to attack Christian groups such as FRC, Liberty Counsel, and Alliance Defending Freedom as “hate groups.”

A megadonor in the LGBT movement recently explained why he opposes the rights of business owners to opt out of providing services for same-sex weddings: “We’re going to punish the wicked.”

This quasi-religious anger helps to explain the vitriol directed at Pastor Penkoski, but it does not justify it. All Penkoski did was ask members of his Facebook group not to use the LGBT “pride” reaction. For this, his car was keyed, his mailbox hit with gay porn and human excrement, and threats were placed on him and his family.

What is this world coming to?