A pastor from Brentwood Christian Church in Missouri has created a controversial YouTube video that has now gone viral, where he speaks about gay rights before an audience, comparing the discrimination gay people face today to how black people were treated during the segregation period.
Reverend Phil Snider's video has now gathered over 2.3 millions views as of Monday, though he made the speech back in August. What is unique about it is that he begins by delivering a warning of how giving more rights to the LGBT community would be detrimental to society as a whole – but at the end reveals that all he was doing all along was using speeches from the 1950s and 1960s from preachers who supported segregation and were against equal rights, and was substituting race terms for LGBT terms in an attempt to claim the two issues are related.
"As you can imagine, all of this has caught me off-guard," Pastor Snider has said about the sudden popularity of his speech.
"The last few hours have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, to say the least. I'm really heartened by all of the emails, Facebook messages, and kind words that I've received over the last 24 hours. As I read each one, I don't see them simply as messages that seek to affirm a particular talk I gave on a particular night in Springfield, MO (as grateful as I am for such affirmations), but rather, I view them as a reflection of the thousands - indeed, the millions - of people who, on a daily basis, are journeying together because we believe that our world can be a better place, a fairer place, a more beautiful place - for all people and not just for some - and we won't stop calling for a more beautiful world to be born," he continued, noting the amount of support he has received for his pro-gay speech.
Not everyone who listened to his speech agreed, however, that those supporting Biblical teachings on homosexuality are intolerant, and disagreed that they could be compared to 1960's racists who were in favor of segregation.
"He did very much sound like a modern anti-gay preacher until the end. Certainly had me fooled. Apparently I'm also guilty of "being too quick to judge others," wrote one viewer, Kristine.
"Pastor Snider, I'm sad to hear your speech. I love people, but I don't love all decisions people make. If I disagree with something, does that mean I'm not loving? Do I have to believe the same thing to be loving? Not all Christians impose forcefully the Gospel and the Gospel is love. My church lovingly approaches people to share the Gospel but we never force anyone."
The Brentwood Christian Church leader's speech continues the nationwide discourse on the place of homosexuality in the Christian Church. Last month, The Christian Post did a three-piece series on the different arguments stemming from the debate, focusing on the theological arguments of Matthew Vines, a 22-year-old gay Christian who promotes that the Bible does not teach homosexuality is a sin.