CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A church sign is causing controversy in Chesapeake, and from what we’ve found, it has people fired up and scratching their heads at the same time.
News 8’s sister station WAVY headed out to Western Branch, after several of our viewers told us they were unhappy about the sign and what it suggests.
In front of Taylor Road Baptist Church, the sign reads, “Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” It had drivers along busy Taylor Road doing a double take.
“When I drove by it, I wasn’t sure I read it right. So, I did a u-turn,” said Terri Young, who lives a few miles away. “I was frustrated and angry at the same time.”
The thought behind the statement is a reference to a passage from the Bible: Isaiah 14:12-17. But it’s the words on the sign that have some nearby residents and commuters confused — Satan and equal rights.
“Well, what group are they talking about? Are they talking about the gay community? Are they talking about minorities? Are they talking about women?” Young said.
News 8’s sister station WAVY talked with the church’s pastor, Mel Kunkle. He didn’t want to do an interview, but said the message doesn’t target a specific group. He said it’s about evil, referencing Satan trying to be equal with God, and he said he stands up for what scripture says.
“I’m a church-going person. I know what Satan does. He’s not good, that’s one thing for sure, but I wouldn’t put it on the side of the road to upset people’s feelings about what’s on a sign,” said a man who lives nearby, but did not want to be identified.
Kunkle said he understands people are offended, but said the sign is meant to make people think. And it is.
“I mean, what is that teaching children then? It’s not okay to ask for equal rights? If you do, and someone else thinks you shouldn’t have them, that’s you equal to Satan? I don’t get it,” Young said.
Kunkle told News 8’s sister station WAVY the sign has been up since Sunday, and he’s received several calls about it. He said people have the right to be offended by it, but that’s not going to make him take it down.