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Homophobic Pastor David Manning Challenged By New York LGBT Group In Bid To Buy Church

03/02/2016 17:32 | Updated 03 February 2016

A pastor who brandished signs reading "Jesus would stone homos" outside his church in Harlem is being challenged in the best way possible.

David Manning, 68, who discovered his devout Christian faith during a stretch in prison, is losing the church over unpaid debts.

Charity The Ali Forney Center (AFC) is raising money to buy the building to turn it into a centre for the LGBT homeless people it works with.

harlem homophobe

One of the signs displayed by Pastor Manning in Harlem

Nearly 1,500 people have already come together to turn the "place of hate" into a "place of love" and the group has raised over $110,000 (£75,000), of its $200,000 (£140,000) goal.

Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of The AFC wrote: "The biggest reason our youths are driven from their homes is because of homophobic and transphobic religious beliefs of their parents.

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"Because of this, it has been horrifying for us to have our youths exposed to Manning's messages inciting hatred and violence against our community.

"It has meant the world to us that so many Harlem residents have stood up to support our young people and are now urging us to provide urgently needed care at the site of so much hatred. If we are able to obtain the space it would truly be a triumph of love over hatred."

AFC runs programs in Harlem which provide 50,000 meals a year for homeless LGBT youth. It also offers medical and mental health care, case management, educational and career services.

Since 2014, Harlem residents have opposed Rev. Manning's messages by organising a series of events to raise funds for the AFC.

harlem homophobe

Pastor Manning being confronted outside his church in Harlem

Pastor Manning, who has previously said he had had "homosexual urges", seems unhappy at the prospect of his church sheltering young people in need.

He said: "All kind of stuff been spread around – they’re going to turn this church into a bathhouse, they’re going to turn this church into a homeless building for the sodomites.

"The sodomites are sick as hell! This is the Lord’s house! This ain’t no damn bathhouse! It ain’t no fag house!"

A group calling itself 'Love Not Hate' has organised a series of protests outside of the Church, co-ordinated by Stacy Parker Le Melle.

Le Melle said: “I am ecstatic to imagine a future where our Harlem corner will be a home of compassion, not hatred. We have a homeless problem in New York City. The de Blasio administration is working hard to remedy this, but LGBT young people are especially vulnerable with the shelter system.

“When the ATLAH story broke, immediately I heard from neighbours: wouldn't it be amazing if an LGBT group could acquire the property? What if it were the Ali Forney Center? We all knew that this would be poetic justice. We need to care for those kicked out of homes, often on religious-based grounds. We need to care for those most vulnerable to ATLAH's hate speech.”

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