A pastor from West Virginia has been forced to move out of his home after he received numerous death threats for expressing his opposition to Facebook's new rainbow flag emoji.
Pastor Rich Penkoski, who runs the online ministry "Warriors for Christ," was advised by local police to move his family out of his home in Harper's Ferry because of safety concerns.
Penkoski drew an immense amount of backlash from LGBT advocates last month when the popular Warrior's for Christ Facebook page vowed to ban those who post the rainbow flag emoji on the page.
The pastor stated that he did not want the emoji on the page because it "is a pride symbol for homosexuality and we are a Christian ministry."
The Warriors for Christ page was inundated with over 900,000 rainbow emojis after the ban was reported by Patheos.com blogger Hemant Mehta, also known as the "Friendly Atheist."
"The 'Friendly Atheist' character wrote a blog about us and it snowballed from there. Every single online gay blog or newspapers, they all picked it up and went with their version of it. We got hammered. It must have been overnight. We banned over 900,000 people," Penkoski told The Christian Post earlier this month. "We received messages of 'You should die,' 'Go kill yourself,'" he added.
Penkoski noted that his car was keyed and his family had received death threats because the Warriors for Christ web page had listed his home address. In one instance, feces had been sent to their house and Penkoski said he had seen random people walking back and forth on the road outside his home on some occasions.
The most chilling threat he received was a Facebook message from a man named Michael Grant. "I know somebody waiting right now to out a bullet through your skull," the message read.
According to The Christian Post, the message continued by warning the pastor that someone was going to kill him and his family.
Penkoski said that Grant's message came just one day after he and his family decided to leave their rental home in Harpers Ferry, where they had lived for only eight months.
The family has now settled in a new rental home in a new town, and Penkoski said that the new address will not be shared on the ministry's website or Facebook page.
The pastor, however, assured that "none of this is going to cause me to back down." "We are not going to stop telling the truth," he added.