A Kentucky pastor is under fire after a video of him ranting over peewee football players and cheerleaders went viral and sparked outrage among some of the kids' parents in doing so.
What are the details?
The pastor, identified by RawStory and Facebook user Sarah Oak as Pastor Ernie Spence of Fellowship Baptist Church in Bedford, Kentucky, shared his frustration that young children and their families had gathered on a Sunday morning for peewee football instead of going to church.
In a now-deleted video, Spence could be heard saying, "I see what’s wrong with America today. Right here it is, time to get ready and go to church and the grandstands back here are full up of people. You got all these young’uns out here chasing balls, and it don’t amount to a hill of beans."
The pastor went on to assert that the kids participating in the organized sport were more involved with their "football God" than actual God.
"Whenever your children have got more emphasis on what's going on in the football field than they do in the house of God, and people jumping and cheering up and carrying on like a bunch of banshee Indians over a kid just running and catching a ball, that's pure ignorance!" he said. "Pure ignorance."
Spence continued, adding that children and their parents should be more concerned with eternity than with football.
"When these children are burning in hell, how do you think you gonna feel?" he asked. "But oh boy, junior can catch a ball, and junior could run. Junior runs straight to hell, and you don't care."
The pastor went ahead and lumped the peewee cheerleaders into the mix.
"You think it's something your little girl can dress up like a prostitute?" he asked. "That's perversion out there whenever they shake their pompoms and shout and cheer and stuff. You need to get them in the house of God, friend. Raise your family up in the house of God."
How did one parent respond?
One parent, Mitchell Welty, appeared to have messaged the pastor over his words and did not mince any of his own.
Welty wrote, "My daughter was cheering at that game and I take that very personal. Is it not your job to spread the word of god? Do you truly believe that what you said is correct?"
Spence refused to back down from his comments, and responded, "If I didn't believe it to be correct I would never have said it. That is spreading the Word of God. I removed [the video] because I was tired of a bunch of people 'pinging' my phone every ten seconds. Why don't you come to church sometime and hear the Word preached."
You can see the rest of the exchange below.
Oak shared the video on her Facebook page on Tuesday, captioning it, "Seems Pastor Ernie Spence of Fellowship Baptist decided he didn’t like the negative attention his live video gathered. Don’t worry sir, nothing is ever TRULY gone from the Internet."
The video has been viewed over 40,000 times since Oak's posting.