Pastor defends billboard message

April 3, 2011 at 11:03 AM
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TAVARES, Fla., April 3 (UPI) -- The pastor of a Florida house of worship called Saturday Night Live Church says its billboard reading "Scumbags Welcome!" is in keeping with Jesus' preaching.

Pastor Moses Robbins said his church's message isn't intended as a put down for a societal fringe that includes addicts, thieves and others who don't feel at home in a traditional church setting, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"Our hope was that we would fill up the building, bring new people to the cross and Jesus," Robbins, 42, said.

The non-denominational church holds services in the activity center of the First United Methodist Church of Tavares. Tavares city officials determined free speech rights protected the billboard's wording.

Robbins listed his telephone number on the billboard and he said he has been deluged with calls.

"We had everything from, 'Hey, this is really great. I finally found a church I would go to' to 'I was raised in a Christian home and you don't talk like that about people. You're going to rot in hell,' " Robbins said.

Robbins said his church isn't named after the famous television program Saturday Night Live, but for the live band it features in its services.

"I thought if we could get people to open their Bible, even if they didn't come to our church, then we've done something good," said church member Bobby Fiore, who plays guitar at SNL services with his 14-year-old son, Kurdt, on drums.

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