Church Revokes Man's Membership Over His Sexual Orientation

BROOKLAND, Ark -- A young man got his church membership revoked, after revealing he is gay. Dylan Settles said he once called Woods Chapel General Baptist Church in Brookand (Craighead County) home, but not anymore.

"I'm a little hurt by it, but I know how they feel," said Settles.

Settles said over the weekend, he got an unexpected letter from his church.

"What I thought was probably a letter probably trying to invite me to come," said Settles.

He has been a member of the church the last 6 years, but said in the past five months has had a spotty attendance.

"And they probably sent me a letter saying, ' hey we missed you' or 'we want to come to this fall festival that we're having'," said Settles.

But taking a closer look at the letter, he realized it was just the opposite. The letter revealed the church board had voted to take away his membership because he is gay.

"I was like in awe. I was in so much shock, I couldn't read like the rest of it," said Settles.

Three months ago, he revealed his sexual orientation to his parents after years of struggling with it.

"I asked for God to kind of just take it out of my life, and give me some hope and faith that I could find a wife or a girlfriend," said Settles.

But he said he had, had enough.

"I was tired of living for somebody else ... living for my parents or my friends or whoever," said Settles. "I kind of just chose to live for what I wanted and be happy."

He put the letter on his Facebook page, where it has been shared more than 17-hundred times.

"The positive things they've said is trying to invite me to other churches," said Settles.

But he's also gotten some backlash.

"They've been throwing Bible verses at me," said Settles.

The letter said he'd regain his membership if, "you would turn from the sinful lifestyle you have chosen," but Settles said "No thanks!"

"I don't feel comfortable sitting at pew or sitting beside my parents when all I'm going to see is people pointing their fingers at me because of the lifestyle I chose," said Settles.

KARK 4 News reached out the pastor and several church members of Woods Chapel General Baptist Church, but no one wanted to comment.

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