CHESAPEAKE, Va., June 19 (UPI) -- A Virginia church is raising controversy with a sign reading, "Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights."
Terri Young said she was shocked when she first saw the sign outside the Taylor Road Baptist Church in Chesapeake.
"I was frustrated and angry at the time," Young told WAVY-TV. "When I drove by it, I wasn't sure I read it right. So I did a U-turn."
"Are they talking about the gay community, are they talking about minorities, are they talking about women? But any of them, it's dogma over humanity, is all I kept thinking -- how ridiculous it was to put something like that there," Young said.
Pastor Mel Kunkle said the message isn't meant to target a specific group. He said the sign is a reference to the Biblical book of Isaiah chapter 14, verses 12 through 17, which some believe references the fall of Satan, though the verses are interpreted to refer to the King of Babylon in the Jewish tradition.
Kunkle said the sign is about Satan trying to be equal with God.
At least one commenter on the church's Facebook page defended the sign.
"The reason people are so upset is because of arrogance, and not understanding God's Word," Deborah Gregson wrote.
Gregson said the only true equality is through "being a member of the Royal Family of God."
"Any other 'equality' is temporary and not going to result in real happiness or fulfillment, so public upset is meaningless," she said.
However, neighbors said the sign is unnecessary.
"I'm a church-going person. I know what Satan does. He's not good, that's one thing for sure, but I wouldn't put it on the side of the road to upset people's feelings about what's on a sign," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.