Pastor Seth Pickens of Zion Hill Baptist Church, located in the southern part of Los Angeles, has come under fire after performing a union ceremony for a lesbian couple in 2013. Now, he has written a column titled, “10 Reasons I Love LGBTQ Folk” for a local newspaper.

Zion Hill Seth Pickens

The reverend has had to answer questions from other church officials about his stance on not only homosexuality but biblical morality as well.  He defends his opinions stating, “I know that it goes against tradition, but I lead as I’m lead by God.”

Zion Hill is a small community church that is made up mainly of African Americans and Latinos. While it is true that homosexuality is not tolerated in the more conservative parts of the black church, the reverend is getting support from unlikely allies, the atheist community.

One of his biggest supporters is the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles. According to their website, the group is “committed to promoting the work of black skeptics, freethinkers, atheists, agnostic, and secular humanists through community outreach, education, and awareness initiatives.”

So why are atheists taking the side of a Baptist pastor? It is simple: many of them are not happy with the beliefs of the church.  Moreover, Pickens has encouraged interfaith dialogue and has even hosted community forums with the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles in his church since becoming pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church.

Pickens prefers holding a positive outlook on this experience and his faith saying, “I think it boils down to the fact that God loves us unconditionally.”

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