In a brief video posted on one of his alternative YouTube channels this morning, Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley, whose church faced eviction earlier in the year, said he would have to find a new location for Stedfast Baptist Church because “nobody really wants to lease to us.”
He added that the church has also been “hit with a lot of legal fees,” though he didn’t specify the nature of them in the video.
It’s been a turbulent year for Shelley when it comes to finding a permanent home to preach his hate-filled sermons. This is, after all, a guy who has said he wouldn’t shed a single tear if an extremist murdered everyone in a gay bar. He has repeatedly wished for or called for the death of gay people and abortion providers. He’s burned non-KJV bibles. He’s perpetuated the Alex Jones lie about the Sandy Hook massacre.
More recently, he delivered an antisemitic rant in which he said we’d be “lucky” if six million Jews really perished in the Holocaust, implying that didn’t actually happen.
He doesn’t limit his hate speech to the walls of his church, either. Back in May, he appeared at an Arlington City Council meeting to push back against their acknowledgment of Pride Month by repeating the same calls for violence.
For reasons like these, he announced in February that the church was being evicted from its Hurst, Texas location:
The church moved around a bit before settling at a location in nearby Watauga, but Shelley’s church still appealed the first eviction, keeping his legal tab open. In August, a judge upheld the landlord’s decision and ordered Shelley’s church to pay $42,000 in attorney’s fees.
Frank Hill, an attorney representing the building owner, nonprofit Fellowship of the Sword Inc., said Stedfast Baptist appealed a previous justice of the peace eviction order, which sent the case to trial.
“He was preaching from the premises, that is called a ‘true threat’ of violence, which is not protected under the First Amendment,” Hill said.
Hill said members of the LGBTQ community peacefully protested the pastor’s stance against the gay community, and the owner was worried about the safety of the protesters and other tenants in the strip center… where the church is located.
“People need to be told that even a church can’t go around spewing threats of violence,” Hill said.
Now it appears that Shelley’s new landlord in Watauga doesn’t want him there either, which would explain this morning’s announcement and his desperate plea for support.
It’s not clear where Shelley would find a new home or who would be foolish enough to rent him space. No amount of rent money is worth the negative publicity that would come from allowing his church to spread hate on your property. But for Shelley and his New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (New IFB) colleagues, location doesn’t matter nearly as much as their online reach. Live-streaming sermons on YouTube matters far more than having some space inside a strip mall, and they’ve evaded YouTube’s repeated bans on their channels so far.