Book-Burning Pastor Hits Back at Press, Criticizes Organized Religion |

ABINGDON — More than 200 people gathered in Abingdon on Monday to hear a Tennessee pastor hit back at criticism of a book burning he staged last week.

Greg Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, joined evangelist DR Harrison at a privately sponsored event at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center to preach and critique media coverage of a burning on 2 February of books from Harry Potter and Twilight series.

The Center for Higher Learning’s executive director, David Matlock, said earlier Monday that the event space was rented in accordance with center policies.

“This event is not sponsored by the Center for Higher Learning,” Matlock said. “We cannot censor viewpoints.”

Abingdon Police Chief Jon Holbrook said three protesters at the event came to Central Campus but caused no disturbance.

“It’s a shame you have to have a lot of security these days to have services when you’re preaching and chasing the devil,” Locke said ahead of an hour-long presentation in which he attacked “the church American” for what he alleged was corruption and “sexual deviance”.

“It took 20 months of the flu to expose what happened in churches,” Locke told the unmasked crowd, referring to the impact of COVID-19 on public gatherings and church services. “They were afraid of the common cold. The American church was baptized in fear.

Locke accused the media of portraying him and his church unfairly.

“People show up at our church and all you hear is what the news says about us because people who are mad at us won’t show up except for the news,” Locke said. “CNN has been here seven times in the last 18 months. We have to get married because we’ve been dating for so long.

Locke compared his critics to the Pharisees and people in the Bible who brought an adulterous woman to Jesus to punish her.

Referring to the book burning, Locke accused news agencies of taking the event out of context and said he was not going to discuss it.

“Just unfollow my Facebook page,” Locke said. “I blame myself when I know the truth and I have the facts.”

Locke said the Washington Post contacted him around midnight a day after the book was burned for a quote.

“We don’t apologize for the truth,” Locke told the Post reporter. “Good night.”

Locke likened himself to Jesus being ensnared with their respective preaching, and he admitted to pushing back on the videos he posts on his social media accounts.

“I do flash videos,” Locke said. “I hit and I’m not backing down. Ignore them because chatter doesn’t matter… Some people don’t want peace with you. They want a piece of you.

Locke claimed he knew of preachers in major churches who “are corrupt, they are sexual deviants”, but gave no names or evidence.

“The body of Christ and the American church have sort of lost their way,” Locke added.

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