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Sign outside church riles supporters of LGBTQ community

A small church in Auburn stirs strong emotions after posting a sign condemning homosexuality.

Wednesday, one woman took it upon herself to change the words, throwing more fuel on the fire.

A spokesperson for Remnant Fellowship Church told me the church does not hate gays and lesbians, but a message posted outside the church reads, "LGBTQ is a hate crime against God. Repent."

"I kind of sat there for a little bit, what am I supposed to do about this," said Kristin Russell, who claims she drove by the sign, saw it and was deeply offended.

"I saw the message ‘stay open minded’ in the letters, so I thought, why don’t I just change it to that," she said.

Indeed, Russell stopped and shuffled the letters around to form the new message of "Stay Open Minded".

The church shortly after changed it back the way it was.

We spoke with a pastor of Remnant Fellowship, who said their message is an attempt to "…reach young people and steer them away from a lifestyle they believe is harmful to them."

The church maintains it is not intolerant of others beliefs, but that it’s finding those on the other side of this issue are intolerant of the beliefs of Remnant Fellowship Church.

Russell posted her response to the sign on Facebook, prompting strong reactions.

Dave wrote, "So, what you people are saying is that church doesn’t have the right to free speech but you do? I guess your opinions are the only ones that matter."

Brian wrote, "Yes, you have a right to comment on the sign, but that church also has a right to their freedom of speech so if you don’t like it don’t look at it… but what you did is vandalism."

A woman in support of Russell wrote, "I think I was driving by as you must have been changing this…Thank you for loving others deeply."

We reached out to several churches, including the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese, about the difficulty navigating this highly charged issue in society today.

Most didn’t want to talk on camera.

We did get comment from Plymouth Congregational Church, which has very strong feelings on the issue.

"Those who would lash out at the LGBTQ community, it’s the last acceptable prejudice, and we do not find it acceptable," said the Reverend John P. Gardner.

Kristin Russell and leaders of Remnant Fellowship both claim to have received threats, challenging the notion, words can never hurt you.


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