About 25 members of the Old Paths Baptist Church protested Monday afternoon outside The Inner Chef, chanting anti-gay slogans, burning a gay pride flag and brandishing signs with messages like “Fags Die, God Laughs.”
Bobb Easterbrook, a clerk at the store, was the only person working there at the time.
Bloomington police officers responded to the scene but only to prevent it from getting out of hand, said Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Mick Williams. He said police did intervene, stopping protestors when they began burning the New Glory, a gay-pride variation of the American flag that features rainbow colors as the stripes.
John Lewis, pastor of the Old Paths church, said his group burned the flag there because it believes gay people will burn in hell.
“The elite city of Bloomington harbors an elitist, faggot business called The Inner Chef which openly and unabashedly claim they are against God Almighty,” Lewis said. “… We were there to cry against it. We burned the flag, and we will do it again.”
Lewis said he plans to research the legality of burning the flag and intends to burn the flag legally the next time his group protests.
This protest came less than a month after two minors stole and burned a version of the New Glory that had been hanging outside The Inner Chef’s storefront. The minors admitted to stealing the flag Oct. 8 because they thought it was “unpatriotic.”
Burning a gay flag is the equivalent of burning a cross on someone’s lawn. It’s intended to intimidate and harrass.