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Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Palermo responds to criticism over controversial sign

Pastor Joshua Barnes released a video statement on Facebook Saturday, following criticism of a controversial sign outside of his church.

PALERMO, Maine — On Saturday, Pastor Joshua Barnes of the Second Baptist Church in Palermo released a video response to criticism over the sign outside of his church that reads "Jesus made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." 

In the video, Pastor Barnes says, "we live in a day where many are demanding tolerance and acceptance. But we can tolerate and accept when someone disagrees with us, or posts an alternative viewpoint."

Barnes goes on to say in regards to the sign, "from the beginning of time, God's intent for human sexuality has been one man and one woman united in marriage for life. Christ confirmed this teaching in Matthew 19. There is no passage in scripture endorsing a homosexual relationship."

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Barnes continues: "The month of June has seen many government buildings flying pride flags. The streets have been filled with public displays and parades. The pride and lifestyles are also being taught in the classrooms of America. Our desire in posting a variety of signs about current situation facing society is to publicly display an alternative viewpoint. One based on scripture."

Barnes discusses receiving threatening messages towards his church and his family.

"We don't hate anyone, nor do we encourage violence towards any group," said Barnes.

Barnes says he still loves all who have spoken out against him and his church or made threats. 

"We're in the businesses of loving people like Jesus did," said Barnes. "but love and tolerance or acceptance aren't synonyms."

"While we love and reach out to everyone, what we cannot do is compromise on God's word," added Barnes. 

Barnes adds that everyone is loved and welcomed to attend services at his church. 

"The intent is not hatred or bigotry, it is to present the teachings of Christ and warn a society," said Barnes. 

"We're asking what others are asking," said Barnes. "Give us the liberty and the tolerance of our viewpoint and our beliefs, like you are asking us to do for you." 

Barnes concludes by saying the sign will remain up until the end of June as planned, with a new sign coming at the start of July. 

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