Controversial preacher Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, has said he will "not back down" or be "intimidated" after his church was vandalized by an unknown individual.
In a post to his Facebook account on Sunday morning, Locke said an unknown assailant vandalized his church's property before being chased away by security around 2:30 a.m.
“He did quite a bit a damage before he was spotted,” wrote Locke in his Facebook post, adding that “it was all caught on our surveillance cameras.”
“Kuddos to some of our peeps getting there and beginning to clean at 3:00am this morning," he continued.
Locke posted photos of the vandalism, which included the declaration “Your lies cost lives” in red letters in one area, while the words “FU” were painted on the pulpit in the sanctuary.
Locke said the vandalism of his pulpit “not only grieves me the most, it fires me up to want to fight more," adding: “WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN. WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED.”
As of Monday morning, Locke's post had received around 3,200 shares and well over 800 comments. Many of the comments expressed support for the pastor, though some were critical.
Last month, Locke made headlines when he said that people who wore masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 were not welcome at his church.
“We are a place of faith, not a place of fear,” stated Locke at the time, as reported by WSMV. “I'm digging my heels in and I'm not changing my mind.”
Last year, Locke expressed firm opposition to wearing masks. During the height of the pandemic, the pastor said he would never mandate them for worship at his church.
“We call them safety precautions. No, what these are, these are gags, ladies and gentlemen,” stated Locke in July of 2020, further claiming that masks were an “idol” to divide churches.
“These have become idols. These don’t do anything whatsoever. They are the dumbest thing to have ever been created by humanity. They are scientifically proven to do Jack sprat! But I’ll tell you, religiously what they’ve done, they’ve divided the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was last updated in May, studies have shown that “community masking” can “reduce the spread of [COVID-19].”
“The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and wearer protection for the mask wearer,” stated the CDC.
“Mask use has been found to be safe and is not associated with clinically significant impacts on respiration or gas exchange. Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”