OAKLAND CITY, IN (WFIE) - The Jack Smith Memorial Park in Oakland City is quiet on Tuesday afternoon, and across the highway, the First Pentecostal Church is too.
However, the church’s message is loud.
“I had to come back around and see — I didn’t see all of it at first, then when I came back around, I knew exactly what it meant. They’re not trying to disguise it. It’s pretty obvious,” Oakland City resident Vicki Pancake recalled.
Near the entrance, their message reads “Drags belong at the racetrack, not in our schools.”
“To have a church put up a sign like that and paint a whole city with this broad brush that we don’t want them here, it’s just ridiculous," Oakland City resident Marti Ketterer said.
The wording has caught the attention of many driving down Indiana 64. As word spreads, some people are coming out of their way to read it.
“A school bus just drove by. Kids don’t understand that. If they’re already having that feeling about their self, they don’t need something like this to make them feel worse," Pancake told 14 News.
The church’s stance is in opposition of Drag Queen Story Hour, which is set for this weekend in Evansville. This event welcomes drag queens to read stories to children. But not without quite a bit of criticism. Hundreds of people signed petitions in hopes of getting it canceled.
“They’re not hurting anyone; they’re not criminals. They’re just people like everyone else,” Ketterer said.
“Just be who you are. Shouldn’t have to worry about being hated,” Pancake stated.
14 News talked to Pastor Ron Vickers by phone. He says a board member, Kevin Bruce, is responsible for the sign.
Vickers added they welcome all people into their church, but the message is strictly about sin. They plan to keep it up for a couple more weeks.
As for Drag Queen Story Hour, it’s scheduled for the North Park Branch Saturday morning at 10.
With the event creating such controversy in the community, library officials tell us there will be several security officers and they have a plan to keep everyone safe, both those attending and any potential protesters.
It’s expected to be crowded, so adults must be with a child to get in.