A Knox County sheriff's detective who is also a pastor at a local church is coming under fire for comments he made about gay people during a sermon earlier this month.
Detective Grayson Fritts refused to apologize, stating that he is only "preaching the Bible."
“I’m not an anomaly," Fritts told Knox News. "I am a Baptist preacher that is just preaching the Bible and if it offends society, then it’s going to offend society, but if all these other pastors would grow a spine … and would stand up just like I’m standing up. …”
But Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler issued a statement that Tennessee law and the U.S. Constitution supersedes the Bible.
"I want to be very clear that it is my responsibility to ensure equal protection to ALL citizens of Knox County, Tennessee under the law, my oath and the United States Constitution without discrimination or hesitation," Spangler said. "Rest assured that I have and will continue to do so."
The sermon in question was delivered on June 2 and the video was apparently posted on the church's Youtube channel but it appears to have been removed. But several other videos remain, including one from June 9 titled "Sodomites Reprobates."
This is how the sermon was described by Knox News:
At points during a video of the sermon reviewed by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Fritts screams into the microphone, advocates for police riot teams to haul off Pride participants en masse and uses multiple slurs against the LGBTQ community.
He also targeted Christians and others who support the LGBTQ community.
Fritts referenced his law enforcement career multiple times during his sermon, first telling the congregation "such arrests and executions should be carried out by our government, not Christians," pausing for laughter as he added, "unless you're a policeman."
Fritts has worked for the Knox County government since 1999 and was named a detective of the month in 2017.
Now the Knox County District Attorney's Office said it will review all its cases that Fritts was involved in.
Sheriff Spangler said that Fritts had asked two weeks earlier to take a county buyout offer and he is now on paid sick leave until it takes effect July 19.
So he will likely continue his sermons at the All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville that states on its website: "Don’t expect anything liberal, watered down, or contemporary here."