A Facebook page for the Witfield-Wes Boksburg branch of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) or NG Kerk has shared a social media post proclaiming that LGBT people are destined for hell.
The meme consists of an illustration of an individual walking along a rainbow flag road leading into a fiery destination; complete with a foreboding devilish face hovering overhead.
A quote from American Christian evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham, which reads, “Our nation will not like what’s at the end of this rainbow”, is also included.
The son of evangelist Billy Graham, the reverend has vocally opposed marriage equality in the US and has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stance on homosexuality as “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda”.
The image was originally posted by an American woman, Rissa Burns, who writes below the picture: “Can I get an Amen?” The meme was then shared on Sunday by the administrator of the church’s Facebook page to its 287 followers.
One appalled visitor, Abrie Viljoen, commented: “Wow this is really a shocking judgement to support NG Witfield-Wes.”
Mambaonline contacted the church and spoke to its minister, Dirk Enderstein. He appeared to have little awareness about social media, claimed to have no knowledge of the image and distanced himself from the sentiment expressed.
“We don’t have any discrimination against gay and lesbian persons,” he insisted, but was unable to explain why the post had been shared.
Enderstein said that the person who manages the page was on leave and he would ensure that it was removed on Monday when she returned.
Last year, the DRC was thrown into turmoil when its General Synod agreed to recognise same-sex relationships and non-celibate gay ministers.
Following an uproar among its clergy, church leaders agreed just over a month later to put the decision on hold, at least until the next General Synod, which is expected to be held in 2017.