The pastor of an Illinois church is facing backlash after he publicly rebuked a man who attended church Sunday night dressed as a woman, which was first reported by the Christian Post.
Pastor Antonio Rocquemore of Power House International Ministries in Chicago, later claimed the man had been warned multiple times that he would not be allowed to worship unless he dressed as a man.
"Can you leave my church and go put on man clothes?" Roquemore asked the church member during service. "And don't come here like that no more."
Rocquemore had been preaching for nearly half an hour when he called the unidentified man out into the aisle and asked him to go change his clothes.
Members can be heard in the video expressing support for the pastor.
"Thank you, Jesus," one member said.
What was the reaction?
Reaction from some hasn't been as supportive of the pastor.
"In a place that is supposed to be a place of change, a place of deliverance whatever you want to call it, why would you destroy someone in front of a room full of people," Christian James Lhuillier wrote in part in a Facebook post that included a clip from the service.
And the video has been shared nearly 4,000 times and viewed more than 170,000 times since it was posted Monday on social media.
"This is the kind of bulls**t that causes people to go home and commit suicide. S**t like this is the reason that the church has no power in 2018 because they are so worried about the wrong things," Lhuillier continued on Facebook. "I know drag queens and transsexuals that can pray you out of sickness faster and some of these preachers that collect your love offerings every Sunday."
What else did Rocquemore tell the congregation?
Rocquemore told the congregation that they could do whatever they want outside the church, but that there's a "standard in here."
"I hold a standard in here. Whatever you do on the outside is your business, but I will not let drag queens come in here. And if you're gonna come in here you're gonna dress like a man," the pastor said. "When you come in this house if you're a man, dress like a man. If you're a woman, you dress like a woman. I'm not going to allow it. My salvation is more important and God is holding me accountable."
"I will not play this game. If you don't like it, don't come here. You will not be wearing weaves and heels and fooling people up in here," Roquemore continued. "Whatever you do on the outside is between you and God. You've gotta respect the rules of the house."
What did the pastor say in a follow-up video?
On Monday, Rocquemore posted an hourlong video on Facebook in response to his critics.
He claimed that the man had been a member for several months and had verbally agreed to follow the rules of the church, which included dressing appropriately for worship.
"He was not put out the church because he was gay. First of all, I don't bash nothing. I don't separate sin. Sin is sin," Rocquemore said, according to The Post. "There is no need to bash one or the other if you're preaching the word.
"... When you join my church, all the rules and regulations is told to you then. If you ever slip up [on the rules] we would still take you privately and go over them again. This particular situation, this young man was told several times in private. I went to him personally myself."
Rocquemore said he was forced to rebuke him in front of the congregation.
"He challenged me publicly and I challenged him back publicly," he said of the incident. "I asked the young man to leave. There was no security taking him out."