Weed pastor’s job goes up in smoke. Anti-gay sign was his undoing.

Weed pastor’s job goes up in smoke. Anti-gay sign was his undoing. January 16, 2019

FOR the past week or so the Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California, has been the focus of intense LGBT anger.

Images via Facebook

What set off protests and fierce online condemnation was a sign put up by Justin Hoke, above, the church’s homophobic pastor. At one point it was vandalised.

The sign declared:

Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change, the Bible does not.

The Jenner mentioned is Caitlyn Marie Jenner, an American television personality and retired Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete, who was born William Bruce Jenner on October 28, 1949. She underwent a sex-change operation in 2017.

Caitlin Jenner. Image via YouTube.

At the weekend Hoke revealed on social media that he’d been forced out of his job.

I was informed by our other elder that he felt he could no longer follow my lead as pastor of TBPC. I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor of TBPC. 

Our other elder and the couple felt that those who left would likely return if I would leave.

Hoke explained that it was:

Determined that it would be in the best interest of the local body for us (TBPC and the Hoke family) to part ways.

He added a note of clarification on Monday morning that his departure was not of his doing.

I did not want to leave, I did not quit, and I was willing to stay.

Hoke’s sign resulted in two community protests, led by three women unaffiliated with the church who saw a photograph of the churchyard message on Facebook.

Hoke insisted  that his message was one of love, not hate, as love warns others of danger instead of simply letting them suffer the consequences. It would be unloving to stay silent, he outlined.

We believe love warns, and the best expression of love is to be willing to be hated so that others might have the chance to hear truth. If you see a burning building, there are only two reasons not to warn those inside: if you think the danger isn’t too great, or if you don’t love those inside.

An as yet unknown vandal smashed the sign’s the plexiglass, scrambling and stealing some of the letter. The power supply that lights up the sign was also damaged. but Hoke was able to restore the message.

The pastor revealed on his Facebook page that a number of online supporters have asked how they can help him in a “physical or monetary way” now that he has lost his job as pastor, but he declined any such assistance, advising that all he desires is to share the gospel.

Please pray that God would open more doors for me to preach the gospel; that is all I want or need.

It’s not known whether Hoke was dismissed because of the adverse publicity the church received, or because it simply woke up to the fact that its congregation was being led by an intolerant idiot.

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  • Raging Bee

    Why are those bigots so hung up on Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and her private parts? Are they all so feeble-minded that they can’t deal with anyone more consequential than a has-been celebrity? That alone speaks volumes about the transphobic mindset.

  • Barros Serrano

    The emptiness of modern U$A Christian-Right folks is on display. JESUS called out sinners… the powerful. He overturned the tables at the Temple. But when a crowd attempted to stone a woman for “sin”, Jesus stopped them. “Who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

    These Christian-Right freaks always attack the marginalized, the oppressed. Gays they consider an easy and safe target. Why aren’t they calling out corporate malfeasance? Oh noooooooooo that would be dangerous.

    Cowards and hypocrites, the lot. “If you are lukewarm, I will spew you from my mouth.” Pay attention, Christian Right, to the words of the Rabbi you claim to follow.

  • Barros Serrano

    They’re just hung up on private parts, period.

  • Cali Ron

    “We believe that love warns…” wtf Right, that sign was just an expression of his love for LGBT people.

  • Cali Ron

    I share your sentiment, but don’t understand why you repeat biblical jesus stories as if they are historical fact when they are just unsubstantiated stories written by mostly unknown authors and are rife with contradictions. The bible is not nonfiction.

  • Cali Ron

    Christians are super titillated by all thinks sexual, the more forbidden the more titillating. If you want to make something alluring and tempting forbid it.

  • Barros Serrano

    You may be aware of the missing Q Gospel, which allegedly contains verbatim the sermons of Jesus. Until we find a copy of that, we cannot know how accurate the NT representations of his preaching is.

    Still, the message is there, and whether Jesus actually said it or not, it is the teaching upon which Christianity is based, and they are blatantly ignoring it!

    I won’t bother arguing to Christians that their Bible may be 100% bull$hit. I’m more interested in getting them to “Love Thy Neighbor”.

  • Raging Bee

    We repeat such stories to highlight the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the people who claim to follow someone whose teachings they routinely ignore. It’s a perfectly legitimate tactic when dealing with liars and hypocritical con-artists.

  • Cali Ron

    How about a disclaimer like ‘according to…’ It’s far from settled history and missing gospel will not resolve it. Nobody can even prove jesus existed.

  • Bubblecar

    The Christian Church – bringing people together to declare war on their neighbours, lovingly.

  • frostysnowman

    Because it’s icky?

  • Barros Serrano

    Yes, well that is a common argument, whether Jesus existed, whether the NT is accurate about him if he did, whether his words are accurately reported, etc.

    Interesting, but my point is simply that since Christians BELIEVE that the words of Jesus are faithfully reproduced in the NT, they should then follow those teachings! Even if Jesus never existed, certainly “Do unto others…” is a good maxim. If I’m speaking to Christians about this, I’m going to preach Jesus’ teachings at them, trying to convince them that they should behave accordingly. I’m interested in arguing against their very negative behavior in this society.

    Myself, I think he did exist, because all mythology has its roots in truth. No doubt there really was an Asclepius, and also a Dhantvantari, whose history over time has been significantly embellished (making them deities). The teachings of Jesus could have been constructed from bits of Essenism or other Judaic (or even Buddhist) teachings, but why not believe that he existed? There were many Galilean rabble-rousing preachers in Judaea at the time, and many of them were crucified. Perhaps Jesus is a composite of several of those.

    I think if we had the Q Gospel the message would be so coherent that analysis would determine that it all did come from a single person. Also, what the Church fears, it would likely be revealed that Mary Magdalene had a significant role in the early church and was also preaching.

    But all of that is not pertinent to my argument to U$A Christians that they ought to practice what has been preached to them.

  • Lark62

    No. Q does not “allegedly contain verbatim the sermons of Jesus.”

    Q is pure speculation based on the similarities of the synoptic gospels. If it existed, no one knows what it contained.

    But if it contains 3 years of verbatim sermons, and Matthew, Mark and Luke contain the cream, the rest of it must have been pure sludge.

  • Barry Duke

    That would look so cool on a T-shirt. Or better still, a billboard.

  • Barros Serrano

    It is postulated that it contains sermons of Jesus, yes.

    Naturally we can’t be sure what it contains since we don’t have a copy of it.

    M, M and L aren’t necessarily the cream. All of those books were censored and rewritten. And are the words of Jesus as recorded therein really not great stuff? Many who read it find that Jesus sounds like a Buddhist. Much of it is quite eloquent and if Christians FOLLOWED those teachings the world would be a lot better off. Treat others as you’d have yourself be treated… well that same injunction can be found in most religions, certainly in Hinduism and Buddhism, and it is also very consonant with Jewish rabbinical teachings.

    Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! Christianity as an institution has brought a lot of misery, and precisely because they do NOT follow Jesus’ teachings. It is not those teachings which are the problem.

  • P. McCoy

    Being transgender does not necessarily equate (in this case) to being Gay. This pastor mixed up his bigotries, similar to those who think that crossdressers are Gay- not necessarily!

    Surgery and hormones are being used now for sex changes the way whale bone was used to fashion artificial legs. When in the future, either the ability to transform chromosomes to the preferred gender can be on OR a host body made into the preferred gender can be cloned and the brain’s memory can be downloaded into the new body all this nonsense going on now will be moot.

    Who cries “unnatural” about artificial limbs?

    The Christian Right wants to live in the 21st century by Bronze Age rules and customs, just like Islamists want to replicate 600AD or so in this modern era. Both seem futile.

  • al kimeea

    Good to know you don’t beat your slaves too badly… that would upset Jebus

  • Cali Ron

    Just as suspected, you are a lamb in wolves clothing, making comments trying not to sound like the deluded Christian you are. You again referred to Jesus as if he really existed and the bible as though it’s factual without any supporting facts. Your believe is based on faith or delusion, depending on your view point. Your believe that the churches problem is not following jesus teaching’s is old and laughable. The churches problem is their whole ideology and purpose for being is a myth.

  • Cali Ron

    What is pertinent is you insist on treating God, jesus and the bible as factual on an atheist website where we don’t because there’s no factual evidence to prove it. I will continue to point out the contradictions and fallacies in your comments.

  • Barros Serrano

    You demonstrate your ignorance of the Bible. Jesus never said that. You are referring to verses from the OT, and I think there’s something similar written by Paul. I am saying that the direct teachings of Jesus were very positive. Example: when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees trying to trick him, which laws were important, which commandments were mandatory, he replied that there are only 2, which cover everything: 1. love God; 2. love your neighbor as yourself.

    Ok, the first is in your own head, private and individual, but the 2nd is a prescription for a happy society! Imagine if Christians followed that teaching! And Jesus was constantly saying that sort of thing. Parable about the Good Samaritan = a lesson against ethnic bigotry. Telling his followers that the pagan Roman soldier had more faith than them = likewise. Saying “Let the little children come to me” = children’s rights! Telling the rich man, “Give away your riches to the poor if you want to follow me.” Well, there are many examples, and THAT is what i’m talking about.

    Christianity has been so egregiously evil that many people do not notice that there is a BIG difference between JESUS and CHRISTIANITY. And if you want to try to change Christians, the best way is by quoting Jesus. Dismissing it all as a fairy tale, even if that is true, will go nowhere with them.

  • Lark62

    Weed pastor’s job goes up in smoke.

    How does one become a “weed pastor”? Is there a waiting list?

  • al kimeea

    please provide chapter and verse where Buddy Jebus specifically condemns slavery…

  • Barros Serrano

    Oh I proved you wrong and so you change your argument. Cheap trick.

    I said Jesus said nothing SUPPORTING slavery, that the verses which do so are NOT his words, but Paul’s or OT.

    So if you wish to continue to argue this, provide now the quote from Jesus in which he supports slavery. Good luck with that.

    I’m quite sure you’ve never read the 4 Gospels.

  • Barros Serrano

    Calm down, fanatic.

    No, i am not Christian. I was raised Methodist. I am pagan.

    I do think Jesus existed, but i never said the Bible was factual. Much of it is Bronze Age Hebrew mythology. As allegory it may be true, much of it, but then so is Greek mythology or any other.

    The churches’ problem IS in many cases that they are not following Jesus’ teachings! Jesus’ teachings are not in support of Trumpolini, for example, nor racism, nor GOP billionaire-coddling policies.

    You hate the Bible so much you’ve apparently never read it. I’m sure you have NO idea what Jesus said. I doubt you could distinguish between the words of Jesus and the ravings of Pat Robertson.

  • Barros Serrano

    You have utterly failed to do so. All you’ve done with my comments is misrepresent them. In other words, you are a liar.

    Where did I state that the Bible is factual? what I said, obviously, is that Jesus’ teachings were good, would be the basis for good govt policy in fact, and that today’s Christian Right is ignoring them and in fact acting against them.

    “Love thy neighbor,” the NT quotes Jesus. Is separating children at the border “loving thy neighbor?” No, and so any Christian who supports Trumpolini’s policy in this regard is contradicting Jesus’ teachings!

    Is that too complicated for you? I’ll try to think of a way to express it more simply…

  • Barros Serrano

    Haaa… that’s what I thought when I read the title. But he was a pastor in Weed, California. Hmmm… sounds like an interesting town.

  • Cali Ron

    Born and raised evangelical (assembly of god), studied philosophy of religion in college and have read the bible cover to cover. Freed myself from religion as a young adult, but i don’t hate the bible or Christians. I hate it when people treat it as fact or the word of god, as it appeared you did in comments. You misread me by a country mile.
    I am fine with using the bible to make a point to Christians, but you should note that and not treat it as accepted fact.

  • Cali Ron

    No need to insult me and i didn’t lie about anything. You referenced the bible and jesus teachings as though they are factual when they are not. I simply think you shouldn’t quote religious text as facts because it’s misleading and lends credence to their religious delusions. Is that too much to ask?

  • Barros Serrano

    What facts? I’m saying that the teachings of Jesus are good, ethical, should be followed. This has nothing to do with believing any particular Bible “fact”.

    As for the Q Gospel, its existence is deduced from analysis of other texts. Its exact contents cannot be known, but beliving in the likely existence of such a document hardly qualifies as blind religious belief.

    There are facts in the Bible, there is history related. Much of it is exaggerated but there is truth there. Were the Jews not in captivity in Babylon? Did not Herod rule as a proxy for the Romans in Judaea? We know these things are true. One cannot ignore that the Bible is a historical document. Like the Iliad. The Trojan War occurred, the Greeks did defeat Troy. The participation of the deities in the battle, however, I am not taking quite literally.

  • Barros Serrano

    That’s not a scientific statement. You cannot assert that NEVER will proof be found for a particular fact. THAT is a belief.

    You WANT him not to have existed.

    If a Q Gospel were found and its words determined to have originated with the same person, that would confirm the evidence of SOME “wise” teacher of that era.

    Do you think Imhotep existed? Asclepius?

  • Barros Serrano

    The teachings are factual! They exist! Whether an actual Jesus said those things, that’s another matter. But the teachings exist, they are written, and if Christians followed them we’d all be better off.

    I quoted no text as fact. But nor do I insist a priori that Jesus COULD NOT have existed.

  • al kimeea

    40 some odd years ago ya I did, along with the rest of the book. Please show us words that are actually those of Jebus and not those of someone’s imagination…

    Not one word in that book condemning slavery…

  • Barros Serrano

    Why don’t you try being honest? I said that none of the statements supporting slavery were the words of Jesus, and that is true.

    If I’m wrong, give us chapter and verse, where Jesus says anything positive about slavery.

    It’s a bit absurd that several of you are trying to argue with me about what Jesus said, and none of you have spoken truthfully. You change the goalposts, you accuse me of being a Christian dogmatist, when i’m not even Christian!

    You’re eager to disprove Christianity and so on, but you’re not doing a very good job. There are plenty of ways to show the hypocrisy of Christianity, and the concocted nature of much of its doctrine, but you don’t manage to do that. You cannot even keep your story straight.

    My point stands: the words recorded for Jesus are good teachings which would result in a better world if all Christians adhered to them. That doesn’t mean that you have to believe the Bible is divinely inspired, entirely true, or anything like it. You don’t even have to believe that Jesus even existed.

    The point is: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” Now criticize that statement, if you can, without all the extraneous nonsense.