GATLINBURG (WATE) – A Tennessee pastor is defending his beliefs with a shotgun after a sign outside his church was vandalized for a third time. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Reverend Dr. Ed Taylor put up the controversial message reading: “no-same sex marriages, our ministers-not gay.”
The pastor said he’s simply protecting his property with a 12-gauge shotgun and standing firm on his stance against same-sex marriage. Since putting the sign up at Gatlinburg Ministries, he’s had some trouble with vandals and didn’t even bother calling Gatlinburg police for the most recent incident.
“Because I told them I said, next time this happens, I’m going to be out there with my shotgun protecting this thing,’” said Rev. Dr. Ed Taylor of Gatlinburg Ministries.
Legal analyst Greg Isaacs said under Tennessee law, you can’t use deadly force to protect property like the sign, but you can for self defense.
“If they try something, I won’t shoot anybody. I’ll scare them to death, but I want them to know we’re serious about this. This is not a plaything with us,” said Rev. Dr. Taylor.
The reverend typically stands outside the church with his shotgun when it gets dark. He doesn’t keep it loaded. Instead, he wants to send a message to those who walk by that he’s protecting his beliefs and won’t stand for vandalism. He’s even willing to go to jail for it.
“Yes, I would. If that’s what it takes, I will,” said Rev. Dr. Taylor.
Isaacs also said if Rev. Dr. Taylor were to show his weapon or shoot someone over the sign, he could go to jail.
The pastor mentioned he is moving to another church and plans to either take the sign with him or build another one. He says business hasn’t been good lately and part of that could be because of the sign.