(888) 277-4253

Gay pastoral associate leaves local church after homophobic attacks

"My life and those of my family are more important than any job."
Photo credit:
sandiegoda

A University Heights gay pastoral associate says he is resigning after being severely harassed over the past two years.

Aaron Bianco took the pew at St. John The Evangelist's on Sunday night to deliver the news. 

Bianco joined the church in 2016. He just celebrated his 10-year wedding anniversary to his husband in September. His relationship and sexual orientation were not welcomed by some and they let him know it.  

"They've threatened me from shooting me down across the street, to throwing Molotov cocktails into the church," Bianco said.

He also endured threatening emails which called him a pedophile. ABC 10 News reports that his tires were slashed, fire was thrown at the church and someone broke into the office and spray-painted a homophobic slur on the wall. 

"They're no different from organized crime or a terrorist group. They will continue until they get their way," Bianco said. "I'm convinced that the gospel is on my side, and they can spew their hate, but I'm not going to allow them to make me hate them back."

He was also subject to online harassment after a conservative Catholic website, Lifesite News, posted his family photos and other personal information. 

Bianco also claims he saw someone watching his house in the middle of the night.

Police reports have been filed, and more security has been installed hat his house Bianco said. "My life and those of my family are more important than any job."

At this week's Sunday's service Bianco addressed a large crowd of church-goers, "when hate rages like a fire, love rains down, and I feel it from so many of you in this room."

Once he was finished talking, the church gave him a standing ovation.

Bianco said he is not giving up on the church and will still attend it in hopes that whoever is behind the harassment will come forward and talk to him rather than use threats.

"For about the last year and a half, we have been building a ministry to those in the LGBT community, to make them feel welcome here at St. John's, and there are those who do not like that," Bianco told FOX 5. "They have rained hate for almost two years and it has gotten much worse in the last two months."

You may also remember Bianco in an unrelated news story from 2016, when he was held hostage by an intruder at the church but managed to escape.