Updated 05/27/2012 05:28 PM
Activists line Newton streets to protest pastor's anti-gay sermon
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NEWTON, N.C. -- Gay rights advocates rallied at the Catawba County Justice Center Sunday.
More than a thousand people were expected to show up to speak out against a pastor's sermon they said is condemning North Carolinians.
"Build a great big fence, 50 or 100 miles long, put all the lesbians in there," said Pastor Charles Worley, in part of his sermon May 13th. It was later posted on YouTube and has since gone viral.
"It was a message of intolerance, it was a message of genocide," said student Laura Tipton, 24, who organized the protest.
But just across the street were those against gay rights. Though far fewer, their message was just as clear.
"You may say it's hateful but it's scripture," said Brad Cheatham, who traveled to the protest with his church from Georgia. "To talk to these homosexuals to show them what the Bible says about their sin."
And to support the pastor they said should freely express his beliefs.
"I can't say what he said was right, I know he said, 'This is what I believe,'" said Cheatham.
"Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out," said Pastor Worley as his sermon continued.
Pastor Worley held regular Sunday services at Providence Baptist Church. Catawba County Sherriff's deputies guarding against trespassers.
The sheriff's office confirmed an arson attempt there Friday, something Tipton is condemning.
"That is not something we're about. Anybody who would do something like that is not part of our group, because we're promoting love, acceptance and tolerance," said Tipton.
Pastor Worley was not available for comment Sunday.
Staff members at the church said they may release a statement after further advice from their lawyers.