A pastor who leads a Christian ministry that vowed to ban anyone who posts the rainbow flag emoji to its Facebook page says LGBT activists have inundated his inbox, mailbox and phone lines with gay porn and threatening messages. They even keyed his car.
The Facebook page "Warriors for Christ," which has nearly 200,000 followers, made headlines last month after it was reported by Patheos.com blogger Hemant Mehta, the "Friendly Atheist," that anyone who posts a rainbow flag emoji on the Facebook page would be "instantly" banned from the page.
Pastor Rich Penkoski, a West Virginia resident who is the leader of the Facebook page and it's pre-denominational ministry, told The Christian Post on Thursday that he and his colleagues have banned over 900,000 different Facebook users in the last month.
"The thing about the rainbow flag is nobody asked why we didn't want it on our page. The issue was that the rainbow emoji is a pride symbol for homosexuality and we are a Christian ministry," Penkoski said. "We don't celebrate sin and we are not going to embrace it now. We know, as Christians, that sin leads to death."
However, it's not just the use of the rainbow flag emoji that is concerning Penkoski and his nine-or-so colleagues affiliated with the ministry.
"The 'Friendly Atheist' character wrote a blog about us and it snowballed from there. Every single online gay blog or newspapers, they all picked it up and went with their version of it. We got hammered. It must have been overnight. We banned over 900,000 people," Penkoski added. "We received messages of 'You should die,' 'Go kill yourself.'"
Penkoski said he even had to change his home address to that of the local police station because of the "threats we were getting."
Penkoski also had to change his phone number because he received over 20,000 spam text messages within two days. He said people had signed him up to receive calls, texts and emails about gay dating websites, car insurance companies, car dealerships and other commercial advertisements.
"Before we could change [the address], they sent fecal matter to our house, gay porn to our house. 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 [behind]," he explained. "These people are absolutely horrid. ... These are the types 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."
"We had to go arm ourselves because people would send me personal emails through our website's contact form, saying they know where I live," he continued.
Penkoski added that his car was keyed after the hysteria surrounding the group's Facebook post first began last month and opponents found his home address on the ministry's website.
"We didn't realize the address was on there until this started happening and we started getting mail," he said. "The police said that this is completely unacceptable and this is actually a hate crime."
Penkoski explained that the prayer line the ministry operates, which he said also doubles as a suicide crisis line, was inundated with calls from LGBT supporters in the days following reports of the "Warriors for Christ" Facebook post.
The original intent behind the controversial Facebook post, Penkoski said, was not to hate on anybody but to "tell people the truth regardless of cost or consequence," adding that the backlash he has received has been "absolutely evil."
"People can't stand that. They can't stand any disagreement," Penkoski said. "They automatically assume that it is hatred and nothing can be further from the truth."
"Warriors for Christ" is not the only Christian Facebook page that has received intense backlash from the LGBT community.
Elizabeth Johnston, a conservative evangelical homeschool mom who runs the popular blog and Facebook page "The Activist Mommy," shared screenshots with CP that show how LGBT activists have inundated her inbox with emails saying that she had been signed up for Pornhub.com and the Gay DVD Empire newsletter. She also has received emails from LGBT supporters telling her to go kill herself.
"I am honored to experience a very small amount of persecution for my Lord. I'm not in prison yet or being tortured for my faith yet, but that is where we are headed if Christians don't quickly find their voice," Johnston wrote in a recent blog post. "The threats, ridicule and personal attacks are a constant reminder to me of the power of the Gospel. God's Word is true and the best defense the father of lies has is cruel personal attack, lies and threats. I will not be silent, even if it costs me my life, for my love for God supersedes my love for my life."