A Mt. Juliet pastor's Facebook video dissing media hype about former Olympian Bruce Jenner's transgender transformation to a woman, Caitlyn, has gone viral, and the backlash has been fierce, but tempered with support, he revealed.
Global Vision Bible Church Pastor Greg Locke might be described as a renegade pastor because he never shies away from controversy. But, his June 1 Facebook video message lit a firestorm nationwide, with hateful feedback, as well as some support. It hit the "viral" pinnacle in record time.
He let loose a video message (he posts generic videos daily on various topics such as depression, tipping well and church drama, to name a few) on his thoughts about Jenner's "outing" and the universal obsession with Jenner's transformation to a woman and Vanity Fair's cover, "Call Me Caitlyn."
The 2-minute, 37-second minute video was posted June 1 and in 48 hours went viral with more than 700,000 views and 15,000 shares. By today it is most likely reaching one million views. In the video he said the whole situation wants to make him to "throw up in my mouth."
"The world can stop holding their breath because now Bruce Jenner says, 'call me Caitlyn' on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine," Locke said.
Thursday morning Locke reiterated his thoughts in a phone interview.
"People are dying in the Iraq, they are our heroes," he said. "This is silly. Our economic situation is a mess, we are at war on many fronts but we want to talk about how brave and courageous a man is to come out as a woman."
Yesterday Locke said he found dozens of broken beer bottles on his church parking lot, as well as being "banned" from posting his videos on local site Hip Mt. Juliet.
He predetermined the response on his video.
"I brace myself for no doubt hate filled comments," he said in the video. "Because of my disagreement. Because anytime a Christian disagrees with something the world does, then we are considered mean, fundamental bigots."
In the video, he asks, "Can a leopard change its spots? Can an Ethiopian change his skin color? The Bible says 'we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.'"
He said the Jenner situation makes it seem "God's work wasn't good enough.
"We want to smack Him [God] in the mouth because we can't trust he has a purpose and a plan for our life," he said.
He noted the Bible "radically calls for is a gospel transformation, a changing of the heart."
Locke went on record to say, "I'm totally against the Bruce Jenner situation, which is entirely disrespectful and overshadowing everything in the world."
He said the world wants to talk about how "brave and courageous a man is to come out as a woman?"
Jenner is to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, ESPN's sports awards show, on July 15.
According to Huffington Post, petitions have been started asking ESPN to revoke the award, deeming it an "insult" to army veterans. On Twitter, the hash tag #Boycotts quickly garnered traction as people angrily declared that Jenner could not be most deserving of the award.
Some of the tweets supported other candidates, like basketball player Lauren Hill, who tragically passed away at 19 earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. Others were much more ugly.
Locke said he's a "compassionate, forgiving mercy-filled individual.
"But, I don't have to approve of their mess," he said. "I'm happy with who God has made me."
He said his motivation for making the video is because he's shocked at how "far our society as gone to accept things unnatural, and them getting awards."
Locke said his email was inundated with messages, some "super nasty," while others showed support. On his Facebook page there were a lot of "amen brother" comments, but also negative feedback.
One post read: "Christians get mad because the rest of the world doesn't accept the bull and the rest of the world gets mad when Christians won't accept their bull. Considering yourselves the better party, in this relationship, is preposterous. Grow up and get along. Or keep praying for the rapture and the world will be a better place."
Another post read: "He's not hurting anyone. Let it go. I wonder how many of the people that run Bruce down have some skeletons in their closet?
"I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians, you Christians are so very unlike your Christ," another post read.
However many of the responses were supportive.
"God made us in his image I thank GOD there are people that stand for this today! Why try to play GOD? He made you the way he wanted you! Stop trying to change it! Thank you for standing up and taking action against this! I'm with you 100% Greg!" is a sample of positive responses.
Locke said he doesn't regret his video. Last night he had new people come to hear him preach in Mt. Juliet.
"They wanted to hear a person speak the truth and not be afraid of controversy," Locke said. "Not everybody has to bend to all. I might be a local renegade pastor, but I'm not built to go with the flow. I don't sugar coat things."
He said he figures when the viral goes to a million it "will fizzle out.
"It was one simple video about a dude with a sex change," he said.
"It's been an interesting journey."
Locke has been noted for his peddling for turkeys, long bike rides to help the homeless, work to garner bikes for kids and given $100 bills to random strangers, among other things.
Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.