A dispute over a parking lot has led a Texas art gallery owner to put up satirical gay conversion therapy signs targeting a local church.
The stand-off between art gallery owner and pastor led the former, Hiram Butler to put up a sign outside his gallery reading: ‘Parking Only For Gay Conversion Therapy.’
It all began with Bible study.
Local Houston church River Pointe owns a house across the street from Butler’s gallery. They host Bible study there a few times a week. This leads to crowded street parking and people leaving their cars on Butler’s property.
‘We would not care if they park in our parking spaces one night a week. three to five nights a week where you can’t park? It’s not acceptable,’ Butler said.
‘We tried reason. We tried anger. Neither of those things worked, so we’re trying humor and see if that will reach them.’
According to him, this dispute has been going on for years.
There are also bumper stickers reading: ‘Follow me to the Blossom Gay Conversation Therapy Center where we pray the straight away.’
Artist Robert Rosenberg said he suggested the sign as an ‘alternative solution’ to ’embarrass people and force them into behaving better’.
‘It’s meant to be satire. It’s meant to ironic. Sometimes the only way to deal with those people is hitting them over the heads as hard as you can with a joke,’ he added.
The sign first went up on 20 August and Butler plans to keep it there for a while.
‘I’m as gay as a goose,’ Butler further explain for anyone who’s unclear on where he stands. ‘It is not anti-gay. I have been a gay activist my entire adult life on the national life. It is satire.’
The church responds
Senior Pastor at River Pointe, Patrick Kelley, released a statement regarding the matter.
‘We are sorry to have inconvenienced Mr. Butler because we want to be the best neighbors possible,’ he said. ‘We host a Bible study across the street from Mr. Butler’s property, in our private residence, and will continue to be diligent to prevent our guests from using Mr. Butler’s four parking spaces.’