Vice President Mike Pence called on all Americans to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “in these divided times” while attending a church where an anti-LGBTQ bishop claimed that homosexuality is caused by “a demonic spirit” and is wrong because of “plumbing.”
Pence spoke at the Holy City Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in order to pay tribute to the civil rights icon.
Moments after Pence concluded his remarks at the event, which was broadcast live on The White House’s website and social media channels and is still available online, a sermon was delivered by Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor, pastor and founder of Holy City Holy Church of God in Christ, in which he denounced those who are “trying to destroy” the foundation of marriage and “cut off the reproduction process.”
“Two men can’t have a baby,” Taylor said. “Two women can’t have a baby…we allow abortion to go, we’re cuttings off presidents and queens.
“The foundation is important. We got to encourage young men and women to get married.
“It’s a demonic spirit that causes another woman to want to live with another woman. It’s a demonic spirit that causes another man, a man to be attracted to another man.”
Taylor then jokes that any man who would be attracted to him would “be in trouble” because he wouldn’t want them to put their hands on him.
“And then the man gets attracted to me and he’ll get in trouble – don’t put your hands on me,” he said to laughter.
Taylor also railed against transgender people.
“God didn’t make us for that. He made a man to be a man. If you want to know what God made you, when you go to the bathroom check your plumbing…what kind of plumbing are you using.”
Taylor also describes how he was watching an animal documentary on television before falsely describing how “you never see two male animals coming together.”
“We got to expose what the devil is doing.”
Bishop Taylor’s homophobic rant begins at the 2:43:00 mark below:
Earlier in the service, Bishop Vincent Matthews Jr. dubbed Pence “one of the most persecuted Christians in America” and praised his faith.
“The biggest criticism he gets on television and everywhere else is that he believes in the Bible,” he said.
Charlotte Clymer, a Christian and a spokesperson for national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said Pence’s appearance at Sunday’s event is another example of the vice president using his “perception of faith as a cudgel against vulnerable communities.”
Clymer also said the event’s anti-gay sermon feeds a popular misconception that faith groups are anti-LGBTQ, adding, “Christ clearly taught us to love one another.”
LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD also spoke out against Pence’s appearance at the event and the White House’s streaming of the anti-gay sermon.
“Wish we could say we were surprised that the Vice President spoke at a church event where the bishop spouted vile things about LGBTQ people,” GLAAD stated. “But here we are.”
Pence has often been criticized for holding anti-gay views, including previously describing homosexuality as a choice as well as allegedly being in favor of conversion therapy in order to change a person’s sexual identity.