Cracker Barrel bars anti-gay pastor who called for LGBTQ executions in a sermon
Pastor Grayson Fritts of the independent All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee reportedly called for the executions of LGBTQ people in a sermon on June 2. According to local NBC affiliate WBIR, Fritts said gay people are "worthy of death" and should be arrested, tried and "executed by the government" because homosexuality is a "capital crime."
The following week, Fritts reportedly delivered another outrageous sermon slamming members of the LGBTQ community. According to the news outlet, he said God does not accept gay people, and called them "freaks," "animals" and "reprobates." "I hate 'em, and you should, too," he told his congregation, per WBIR. "If you don't hate them, you're brainwashed. You don't know how wicked these people are."
The June 9 sermon was initially published to YouTube but has been removed for violating the platform's hate speech policies.
Aside from preaching such charming sermons, Fritts is a 19-year veteran detective at the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Or at least, he was. Following the furor over his comments, Fritts took a voluntary buyout and no longer works for the department. District Attorney Charme Allen stated that she is reviewing all of his pending cases to "scrutinize them for any potential bias."
The All Scripture Baptist Church was planning a meeting at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Cleveland on June 29, which attracted the attention of Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini. She wrote a letter to the Cracker Barrel CEO, which was shared on Facebook on Monday, alerting the about the event.
"Pastor Fritts said members of the LGBTQ+ community are 'freaks' and 'animals,' and 'are worthy of death," Mancini wrote. "Mr. Fritts also called on the United States government to carry out death sentences against the community...Hosting this type of event is in direct conflict with the culture you are working so hard to build as well as the inclusivity and diversity pledge stated on your website."
The Cracker Barrel responded on Tuesday by barring the anti-gay pastor and his affiliated church from their establishment. "Mr. Fritts and his group will not be permitted on site," Cracker Barrel said in a statement posted on Twitter. "We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same."
"We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin that is against nature," the All Scripture Baptist Church states on their website. "God said homosexuality should be punished with the death penalty, as set forth in Leviticus 20:13. No homosexual will be allowed to attend or join All Scripture Baptist Church."