“They are worthy of death,” Grayson Fritts said in a June 2 sermon at All Scripture Baptist Church, a small church in Knoxville that he leads.
“God has instilled the power of civil government to send the police in 2019 out to the LGBT freaks and arrest them and have a trial for them, and if they are convicted, then they are to be put to death,” he said in the clip.
Fritts said it would be easy to find people to arrest at events such as gay pride parades.
“We have a bunch of them we’re going to get convicted because they have all their pride junk on, and they’re professing what they are, that they’re a filthy animal,” he said.
CNN has not been able to reach Fritts for comment. Speaking to journalists before giving a sermon last Wednesday, Fritts said his anti-LGBTQ beliefs have not interfered with his work as a law enforcement officer.
DA investigating Fritts’ cases
Charme Allen, the Knox County district attorney general, issued a statement calling Fritts’ comments “personally offensive and reprehensible. Allen said she would review all of Fritts’ pending cases and an assistant district attorney will review any complaints about closed cases involving Fritts.
“When any potential witness in a criminal proceeding expresses an opinion of hatred and/or bias towards a class of citizens, I am ethically bound to explore that witness’ credibility,” Allen said. “Accordingly, I am reviewing all pending cases involving Mr. Fritts to scrutinize them for any potential bias. Although my office has never received a complaint regarding Mr. Fritts prior to this incident, I have assigned an assistant district attorney to receive complaints regarding closed cases, and I will act on those complaints as justice dictates.”
“We looked at every avenue we could look at without violating anybody’s First Amendment rights (and) freedom of speech and the best thing for us was what we did,” he said. “And that’s what we’re sticking with.”
A small church
The church Fritts leads operates out of a storefront in Knoxville. WATE attended a service on June 12 and reported 16 people attended.
The website is clear about the church’s stance on the gay community:
“We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin that is against nature. A person will only burn in their lust toward the same gender if they have been given over to a reprobate or rejected mind. God said homosexuality should be punished with the death penalty, as set forth in Leviticus 20:13. No homosexual will be allowed to attend or join All Scripture Baptist Church.”
“The world looks at it like, there’s Pastor Fritts, there’s that lone wolf,” he said. “There’s Pastor Fritts, that one guy. That one Baptist pastor that’s just a lunatic. That’s just crazy. Guess what? There’s a lot of people that believe exactly like I believe.”
Mayors criticize Fritts
Two Knoxville public officials criticized Fritts’ comments.
“Mr. Fritts is not my employee so I can only give my personal thoughts on the issue,” Jacobs said. “I find his comments to be extremely vile and reprehensible and I strongly condemn threats of or calls for violence.”