Rev. Tony Byrd of Zebulon Baptist Church in Toccoa, GA raised eyebrows last month when he ranted against gays, liberals and the media on the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives. Byrd had been invited by Rep. Michael Harden to give the morning invocation and be the “Pastor of the Day.” The morning prayer is intended to be inclusive, and not a soap box for the pastor’s political views. Byrd’s sponsor, Harden, even said in his introduction that the morning invocation is “the part where can all come together and be quiet before all the ruckus starts.”
Byrd couldn’t help himself and got the ruckus started early. With a captive audience of legislators, he turned the morning prayer into a political rant:
The following Sunday, Byrd spoke to his congregation about his experience at the state capitol:
When I went there, I was not gonna back off the issue. I was gonna stand upon the authority of the word of almighty God. I think I said it the way the Lord wanted me to say it. […]
It was weird being there. They hemmed me in with a bunch of chairs and [House Speaker David Ralston], he’s a big old joker. Sitting right here.
When I left there I knew I did the right thing. Because, you know what, this nation needs to turn back to God.
Byrd didn’t mention to his congregation, or legislators, that most of his rant/sermon came straight from SermonCentral.com. (Compare this to this, starting at 2:15.)
However, the part where he ranted against gays, liberals and the media was wholly his own. That type of talk would not come as a surprise to his congregation, which has heard him say much worse.
In fact, Byrd’s appearance at the capitol was downright tame compared his sermon last October on the evils of compromise and the moral bankruptcy of America. Byrd said that compromise leads to catastrophe, citing homosexuality and abortion. He went on to rail against TV sitcoms, which “have some kind of homosexual agenda involved in them” and equate gays with drug addicts. The bottom line, he argued, is that “we’re going down the tubes.”