Vice President Mike Pence spent his Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend attending an anti-LGBTQ sermon at a church in Memphis, Tenn., where a minister said a “demonic spirit” was responsible for same-sex relationships.
Delivering the sermon on Sunday was Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor, the pastor of the Holy City Church of God in Christ, whose remarks along with Pence’s address were live-streamed on the White House website.
“It’s a demonic spirit that causes one woman to lie with another woman,” Taylor said. “It’s a demonic spirit that causes a man, a man to be attracted to another man.”
Taylor began his service with remarks that seemed appropriate for the black church on the day before Martin Luther King Day, urging church attendees to remember civil rights leaders “who have died and shed blood” so they could have a better life.
Issues Taylor hit on early in his sermon were gun violence and drugs, but he began to show his leanings when he began to shout “all lives matter” before attendees at the black church.
Taylor, who based his sermon on the theme of foundations, said “God’s word is his foundation,” but people are being deceived into “lies, false prophets, false teachings.”
Turning away from God’s word, Taylor said, has enabled “the devil” to “cut off the foundation of marriage, cut off the reproduction process.”
Lest there be any doubt he was talking about same-sex marriage, Taylor went on to ridicule same-sex couples for their inability to reproduce.
“Two men can’t have a baby, ya’ll,” Taylor said. “Two women can’t a baby.”
Making a joke about gay panic, Taylor said, “And then the man gets attracted to me and he’ll get in trouble – don’t put your hands on me.”
Taylor also said animals know better than to engage in homosexuality, saying on nature channels on TV he sees male elk trying to defend their “seed,” not engaging in sex with each other.
“You never see two male animals coming together,” Taylor said. “Animals have not left the place that God calls them to be in.”
Numerous reports, however, exist of same-sex relations between animals, including zoo penguins.
Transgender people were also denigrated in the sermon. Taylor said “God didn’t make us for that” and “made a man to be a man.”
“If somebody said you don’t know what God made you, well go to the bathroom, just check your plumbing,” Taylor said to hollers from the crowd. “What kind of plumbing are you using?”
Taylor also railed against abortion, saying that allowing the procedure is “cutting off” future leaders, such as “presidents” and “queens.”
“What if I had been aborted?” Taylor questioned.
Concluding his sermon, Taylor said he had sought to “expose” these issues, conceding he might “get beat up” for his words afterwards.
Throughout the service, speakers at the Holy City Church of God in Christ’s service also hailed Pence, who has a notoriously anti-LGBTQ record. Taylor said he can “see God’s spirit” in the vice president.
Pence’s contribution to the service were remarks in the middle of service that took prior to Taylor’s sermon. The vice president, who praised Martin Luther King as a “great man,” was uncontroversial in his remarks.
Touting accomplishments to which he credited the Trump administration, Pence noted record low unemployment for black workers and $250 million in annual funds for Historically Black Colleges.
With respect defense of religious freedom, often code for conservatives to mean anti-LGBTQ discrimination, Pence said he stands with church leaders like Taylor in support of the “sanctity of life.”
“We’ve made great progress as a nation” Pence said. “But there’s much work to be done, and I can promise you, this president and this administration will always stand for the values we share the right of every American to live the American Dream, regardless of race or creed or color, so help us God.”
The White House live-streamed the sermon for the entirety of the sermon. The back of Pence’s head can be seen from the camera seated in a pew in the second row as he watched Taylor’s remarks.
Condemning Pence’s participation in the sermon was the LGBTQ media watchdog GLAAD, which counted the event as the Trump administration’s 136th attack on LGBTQ people.
“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.,” said GLAAD spokesperson Drew Anderson. “But here we are.”
The White House didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on whether it regrets the live-streaming the event and whether Pence was OK with the sermon.
Watch the anti-LGBTQ remarks in Taylor’s sermon here: