A California city council member has denounced the raising of an LGBT pride flag at City Hall as a "disgraceful attack on traditional Christianity," prompting many to demand that he be removed from office.
Fresno Councilman Garry Bredefeld told EyeWitness News 47 that he believes a pride flag shouldn't have been raised outside City Hall.
“I don’t think the flag should be flying outside city hall. I’ve been very clear about that. I think it should only be the United States government, and the state of California and the city of Fresno flag that should be flying out there, but I feel that way about all flags,” Bredefeld said.
"If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, I don’t know how you would refer to Jesus Christ as the 'scandalous one' and the 'queer of nations' and all of that. There are people who want to take that and say, 'Well you’re against people who are homosexual,' which is false and not true. But the fact is when you attack Jesus in what you call a prayer, I’m going to speak up about it and I did."
During the ceremony, the Rev. Raygan Baker of Fresno’s Big Red Church gave a prayer in which he said that “You, queer one, oh queering one, reveal the gifts of falling outside the lines."
Bredefeld tweeted Sunday morning that he considered the prayer delivered by Baker at the pride flag-raising event to be a “disgraceful attack on traditional Christianity.”
"I’ll continue to speak out against these attacks on Christianity & never accept this kind of perversion of God and what God truly stands for as revealed in the Bible. Never," he added.
A Change.org petition, with an aim to have Bredefeld removed from his position for various reasons, including his recent comments, has garnered nearly 800 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
“Garry Bredefeld has proven time and time again to show his true colors when it comes to blatant disrespect of the people of Fresno. He is a stain on the community and should not represent the interests of its citizens,” the petition reads. “He ran uncontested and that means he won by default. He is anti-mask and pro-trump, which should tell you what you need to know about his character.”
Bredefeld said, however, that even with the active petition, he isn't worried because he believes there's nothing wrong with his viewpoints opposing the pride flag-raising and against the prayer that Baker delivered.
"As far as I’m concerned, he’s attacking Christians and Christianity, and I thought it was very inappropriate,” Bredefeld added.
In response to Bredefeld, Baker told Eyewitness 47 that he didn't find anything wrong with his prayer and believes it was “justified” because it mirrors what he typically preaches at his church.
“I was just surprised at first. It’s never the prayer as the part that people focus on,” Baker said, referring to the council member's response. “I mean, I’m a Christian too."
"The thing is you know, he and I are both Christians even if we’re in different churches. I’m a gay Christian, and I’m sorry, I get to [pray] from my perspective too.”
The flag-raising ceremony is progress, according to Baker, adding that when "queer people see it, they say, ‘Oh, I’m safe here. That I’m a part of Fresno, too.’”