It seems that ATLAH World Missionary Church’s idea of celebrating is burning a rainbow pride flag.
Only the Harlem, on their public billboard this week, is calling it a ‘rainbow fag flag.’
Reverend James Manning announced the flag burning as a celebration of a development in an onging foreclosure case brought against the church by New York City for lack of payment of utility bills.
The Ali Forney Center (AFC), an organization dedicated to homeless LGBTI youth, has organized a protest against the flag burning threat.
‘Reverend Manning’s threat to burn the rainbow flag in the courtyard of his church is reprehensible, especially in the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre,’ said Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of AFC.
AFC, which hopes to buy the church building at auction, plans to surround the church with rainbow flags during its protest.
‘Our pride cannot be destroyed, symbolically or otherwise,’ Siciliano said. ‘The best response to his hate is a display of community love and pride by the LGBT community and our allies.’
Siciliano also called the church’s celebration plans ‘premature.’
‘All he has won for now is the opportunity to incur many further legal costs as he tries to escape the consequences of decades of failure to pay ATLAH’s water bills,’ he said.
The church argues it is exempt from paying water bills while the city maintains it is not because the church facility includes six residential apartments.
The ATLAH site was foreclosed in January due to liens of over $1 million.
At that time, AFC launched the Harlem No Hate campaign to raise funds to win the building at auction. Its goal is to provide housing and vocational services to the homeless LGBTI youth in it’s care.
More than $330,000 has been raised towards AFC’s efforts to acquire the building.