YREKA, CALIFORNIA — A pastor at a Northern California Presbyterian church was ousted by his congregation after he posted anti-LGBT messages on a sign outside his church, NBC News reports.
In a post to his Facebook page this past weekend, Pastor Justin Hoke announced his removal.
“As of today, I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church,” Hoke wrote. “I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor.”
“I did not want to leave, I did not quit, and I was willing to stay,” he added.
Hoke posted messages in front of the church that declared “homosexuality is a sin” and transgender celebrity Caitlin Jenner “is still a man.” Another message declared that “the culture may change but the bible does not.”
Speaking to local NBC affiliate KOBI before he was kicked out, Hoke took exception to parishioners calling his signs “hateful,” saying he found that characterization “very offensive.”
“There is no hate at all in that sign,” he said.
Hoke’s ouster came after protesters picketed the church for weeks in an effort to have the sign removed. According to one of the protest’s organizers, they weren’t expecting Hoke to fired.
“I don’t want to be responsible for someone losing their job,” protest organizer Charolette Kalayjian told KOBI. “The point in this protest is to show love for the LGBTQ community and other members of the community as well.”
Hoke said that his removal wasn’t due to the protests and was only in consideration for what was best for the church.
“There was a fear we would lose what little congregation that we had if I remained,” he said.
On Tuesday, the sign was finally changed to only read, “the culture may change, the Bible does not.”
Featured image via screen grab/NBC