Watauga Church Faces Protests After Anti-LGBTQ Sermon

In a sermon delivered earlier this month, Pastor Dillon Awes calls for the execution of homosexuals

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A North Texas community is calling for the eviction of a Watauga church where a pastor recently called for the extinction of homosexuals.

In a sermon called "Why We Won't Shut Up," Dillon Awes, one of the pastors of Stedfast Baptist Church, spoke about his anger regarding people celebrating Pride Month and later stated that gay people should be "put to death."

"These people should be put to death. Every single homosexual in our country should be charged with a crime. The abomination of homosexuality that they have, they should be convicted in a lawful trial. They should be sentenced with death. They should be lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head," he said as some in the audience cheered in agreeance.

"It makes me angry, it makes me afraid, it makes me sad. This is 2022. We're supposed to be better than this," said Aster Gravers, who is part of the LGBTQ+ community and a member of the grassroots group 'No Hate in Texas."

The pastor's comments have led to protests outside the church every Wednesday and Sunday in opposition to the sermons.

"At every service, we're out there protesting against them, and we will be until we achieve getting them kicked out again," said Graves.

The church was evicted from its former location in Hurst. For about eight months, Graves and others would protest at that location over the same issue concerning anti-gay rhetoric. Before that, it was located in Fort Worth and the former pastor made news after praising the 2016 Pulse shooting in Florida.

"It is a little bit defeating for them to find a new space and a new platform and spread worse words than they even spread before, and we're still here to fight it," said Tyler Huckabee, who is also part of the grassroots group.

Those upset with the church showed up at the Watauga City Council meeting on Monday to voice their concerns during public comment.

Legally there's not much the city can do, but Graves said it was more so about awareness.

“We want our voices to be heard, so the more we show up and speak, the more we are heard," said Graves.

Members from Stedfast Baptist Church also showed up to the meeting to defend the church and its beliefs.

"I do believe from the 1600, 1700, 1800s if you study history, that homosexuality was a capital punishment in this country, I still believe that should be true today," said Jonathan Shelley, the lead pastor.

Awes, the pastor who delivered the most recent sermon that's caused outrage, said the church has received death threats and that the church has been vandalized.

"I'm asking the City of Watauga to please enforce no trespassing laws because this is a tinderbox for violence and it's a miracle nothing happened on Sunday," said Awes.

NBC 5 left a message for the church, but no one was immediately available for comment.

In regards to the threats and vandalism, Graves said they do not condone that type of behavior.

“We don’t know whose leaving those voicemails, we don’t encourage hatred, we encourage to go out and protest and have our voices, heard, but we do not encourage hatred," said Graves. "None of us hate steadfast, we feel sorry for them we’re disappointed in them, I know a lot of other Christians are disappointed in them because they’re doing the Bible wrong.”

In a statement, the Watauga Police Department said it has received multiple complaints about the recent sermon.

"The language used by the Pastor of the Stedfast Baptist Church is likely to be offensive to many people. However, at this time, the reported language of the sermon appears to be Constitutionally protected free speech. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation," said the department on its Facebook page.

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