Pastor suspects racial motivations behind termination

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BUTLER, Ala. (WTOK) - Mt. Sterling Baptist Church is without pastor as of Sunday evening. Pastor Jonathan Greer's termination was put to a vote.

Thirty-one people unanimously voted him out of the church. This comes after he says a deacon told him that he could not invite black people to their Vacation Bible School.

"There was pushback about where the types of children we were bringing in, and I was asked to not invite black children to VBS," said Pastor Greer.

Freddie Moore, who is a deacon at Mt. Sterling Baptist Church, did not want to do an on-camera interview. He says it's not a race issue whatsoever. Moore says Greer wouldn't work with the deacons. He claims the termination was because Greer would not visit members of the congregation; Moore says Greer only visited a few.

"This was a particular deacon that asked me, and ultimately, two deacons that had asked me not to invite black people," Greer says.

Moore says anyone, regardless of race, is welcome to the church at any time. Pastor Greer says that is what he was led to believe when he first joined the church, but Greer says he was told multiple times during the course of this situation that black people were not allowed.

"What they really mean is that someone can wander in off the street and they won't stop them, but they specifically asked me, explicitly, not to invite black people. I tried to communicate with them that that's not consistent with Christianity," Greer says.

Greer says the deacons wanted him to resign from the church quietly. Due to the church bylaws, Greer chose not to. He says his sermon on Sunday was on racism.

"I wanted the church to know that this is not consistent with the gospel. This is not consistent with God's word that we honor and give dignity to all people. That's what the Bible teaches us, and all people are worthy and in need of the gospel, and racism denies that to a certain amount of people," Greer says.

Greer says he believes not everyone in the Mt. Sterling Baptist Church shares the same view as the deacons who talked with him.

Jonathan Greer has been the pastory of Mt. Sterling Baptist Church for One year and six months. Greer says wants to make clear that he did not contact WTOK-TV for an interview. He says he decided to speak on the situation when he was asked.