RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) — A Dallas-area church recently distributed flyers advertising a series of weekly seminars it plans to host condemning “dangerous isms” like Judaism, Islamism and liberalism.
Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson says in the flyers that the Wednesday seminars, being held through August, will “provide a proper response for the Christian.”
Pulpit minister Shelton Gibbs III told The Dallas Morning News that while the wording used in advertising could have been better, other faiths run counter to God’s order to follow Jesus Christ.
The flyers prompted a social media backlash but Gibbs said the predominantly African-American church doesn’t mean to condemn others.
“We’re not here to criticize or be antagonistic toward people and to beat them down,” he told the newspaper. “There’s no threat. The people in the community should not feel a threat.”
Atheism, alcoholism and “emotionalism” are some of the other seminar topics. Gibbs said topics such as racism or sexism won’t be discussed because “there are only so many Wednesdays in a summer.”
The church will be more careful of phrasing when promoting future events, he said.
“We’re living in an age where every word means something, and you have to be very careful about the words that you use,” Gibbs said. “And I think going forward, I’m sure we’ll be able to phrase it where people are drawn in, and not that we have somehow marginalized them and caused them to fear.”
Church leadership was scheduled to meet Sunday night to discuss the backlash. Gibbs did not return a phone message from The Associated Press to speak on any outcome from the meeting.
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