California ‘Pastor’ Resigns Over ‘Vile’ Profanity-Laced Tweets Expressing Frustration With City

Photo Credit: ABC7 News Screenshot

PALO ALTO, Calif. — A California “pastor” has resigned over controversial tweets in which he used profanity and other strong language to express frustration with the City of Palo Alto. The tweets were characterized as “vile” by the city’s vice mayor, who said that he would think twice before sending children to an event at the man’s “church.”

Gregory Stevens, who was the associate pastor of faith formation and family life at First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, had posted the comments earlier this year, but the tweets were more recently brought to the attention of city council by a concerned resident who took screenshots.

The First Baptist Church of Palo Alto is affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA.

“I hate ‘social justice’ in Palo Alto. What an [expletive] joke,” he wrote in one tweet. “Palo Alto is an elitist [expletive] den of hate,” Stevens also opined in another post. “Palo Alto is disgusting,” he said in another.

He additionally vented about elderly people in the congregation, stating that “the old people always fall asleep” in council meetings.

“Old people in a church council meeting = repeat everything [text missing] times,” Stevens similarly tweeted.

Other posts that were screenshot and submitted to the council included, “‘Go gay not Mormon’ is my new favorite opening line to the cute Mormon boys that try to convert me,” “[Expletive] B” accompanying a text box stating that teens would still cheer if Beyonce’ defecated on stage, and “Church ordaining bodies want queer, anarchist revolutionaries to join their (white supremacist, heteronormative, elitist-moralities) institutions.”

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View the posts as submitted to city council here.

During a Palo Alto City Council meeting on May 14, as council members were pondering whether to approve a conditional use permit to allow First Baptist Church of Palo Alto to continue to rent space to others as a community center, concerns over Stevens’ comments were brought forth.

According to the Daily Post, First Baptist leader Rick Mixon was asked by council member Karen Holman and vice mayor Eric Filseth about the Tweets, which are no longer available. While Mixon said that he was “appalled,” noting that he had just seen the posts the day prior, he also remarked that he believes Stevens is simply “young and passionate about social justice, and he’s raising questions that come from our faith tradition about what it means to have wealth and privilege.”

“I think he has a First Amendment right to free expression of his opinion or critique, so if he could have made that critique in different language, maybe it would have been hospitable to at least some people,” he also told reporters.

Filseth reportedly called Stevens’ remarks “vile” and said he would think twice about sending any children to his church.

“We were horrified. We really couldn’t believe it,” Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss told ABC News. “The tweets were distasteful, they were hateful and they should not be reflective of our community.”

On Saturday, Stevens issued a statement advising that he decided to resign because he did not want to bring negative attention to First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, which describes itself on its website as being “progressive,” “inclusive” and “ecumenical.” A rainbow flag is flown outside of the building.

“I tweeted to vent my frustration, and I acknowledge that I did so in an unprofessional and often hurtful way. My Twitter community has always been a small group of progressive ministers and leftist political activists to whom my rants were geared,” he wrote.

However, Stevens also suggested that the city should focus on other issues besides “nasty tweets.”

“In my experience of trying to work with this community for almost 3 years, I believe Palo Alto is a ghetto of wealth, power, and elitist liberalism by proxy, meaning that many community members claim to want to fight for social justice issues, but that desire doesn’t translate into action,” he opined. “If the same energies used to organize neighbors around minor parking issues, young girls choirs and ‘nasty tweets’ were honed to fight actual injustices, Palo Alto would be a very different city. Palo Alto needs more action, less lip service.”

Ephesians 4:29 exhorts, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    i have no idea what kind of theology this person ascribes to …… but i know in my own life …. to curb the tongue and not be a man of unclean lips is near impossible without Christ in our lives ….. i fail constantly and seek His grace and forgiveness for each offense …… pray that Christ continues to work in this young persons life ………

  • robert boe

    Now i know why we have our own seminary.

    • bowie1

      You would be talking (or reading) in tongues if you studied Hebrew and Greek!

  • master_chief_usn

    It would be nice, when you delete a comment, you would just leave a brief reason for deletion so I can clean up my act. But I have to say, the most potentially “unagreeable” comment I made was to paraphrase Jesus’ words in the Scriptures, which leads me to believe that had I actually quoted Jesus you would have deleted those also. Since this is a Christian-based website, please allow me to quote Jesus when He said, “The truth shall make you free…” It is hard to get the truth out nowadays when a censor’s finger is ready to pounce. Well, I guess you will delete this, too.

    • Susan Perelka

      I wish people would stop quoting half verses and start quoting whole verses AND the context of where that verse is placed in the scriptures. We have a ton of scripture twisting in this nation.

      Here is a thought, how about read at least the ENTIRE chapter that verse is contained in, OR better yet the entire book! THEN you will have a better understanding of the meaning of that verse, not what someone decided to make it mean.

      Go read John Chapter 8 in it’s entirety, The entire verse says, ” IF you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, AND you will KNOW the truth, and the truth will set you free”

      Now, read every where in the bible to understand what it means to “abide in His word”. Read all of John, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John and everywhere else the word “abide” is mentioned. It is time for the church to stop being so biblically illiterate because Gods people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge. Read your bibles, ALL OF IT.

      Show yourselves a workman approved, rightly and accurately, handeling and dividing His word of truth. All of scripture is necessary. Time to get off the milk and onto the meat.

    • christiannewsnetwork

      Greetings. We are not sure what happened, but we did not delete your comment.

      • bowie1

        Perhaps you use an algorithim which would cause a rejection of comments if certain words are used? You also reject links from other sites.

        • master_chief_usn

          Thanks…and by the way, they DID delete it. I was only the second comment, and some time later, mine was gone.

          • christiannewsnetwork

            It was discovered that Disqus wrongfully marked your comment as “spam.” We went manually into the system and took it out of “spam.” Disqus regretfully does that at times. Thank you kindly for understanding.

          • Rhesus Peanut Buttercup

            I have seen a comment of my own go to “spam” as well. How may I contact you in future if this happens, moderator?

      • master_chief_usn

        Did too.

  • Susan Perelka

    The bible does tell you exactly what is required to hold an eldership position in the church. The problem is, most won’t listen to it. They have made their own requirements and are ignoring God’s instructions. That is why you have so many fallen elders today. Man has approved of them, according to man’s standards. They are not approved by God.

    God chooses who HE wants as elders and has given us a plumb line to follow in His word. IF that man does not have those characteristics, then he is not approved by God to lead His sheep, period.

    I wonder how many in the church have even read these requirements that God has said “MUST BE”, which means in the original language- no variation, continual, no deviation. Read Titus, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, start there….

    You want an example of a true elder whom God has chosen, then look at the Apostle Paul. He told Timothy to imitate him because he imitates Christ. It is a high calling and should only be held by someone mature in the faith. They are set as EXAMPLES for the sheep to follow.

  • Cindy Bear

    This pastor should explore the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification. That’s what prevents Christians from committing willful sin. The eradication of the sin nature from the heart of the believer.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      while i agree with that statement …. God is sovereign …. it is His desire to move us to sanctification …. but it is on His timeline and in His way to move us to that goal …. and that goal is not achieved by us but by His divine intervention …… and it is not some instantaneous conversion ….. it is a pattern of slow growth ….. trees do not grow the instant the seed is planted and watered …….. and it is not completed until our death ……

      • ppp777

        There is a lot of truth in what you said but it is under our control too .

      • John Rochester

        I think it’s pretty evident through that man’s statements what he values and it is not the cross of Christ.

    • ppp777

      Not possible .

  • Susan Perelka

    The answer is simple, Jesus NEVER knew them to begin with, they NEVER were truly saved, but instead were pretenders, wolves is sheep’s clothing. They are still “unbelievers” and are disqualified concerning the faith. The word hypocrite in the Greek means play actor, and Jesus was using that to describe most of the religious leaders of His time, they hated Him for it.

    He kept pointing out to them, that even though they had fooled some people, they have never fooled God because He knows the thoughts, motives, and intentions of every person’s heart. He even told them their father was not God, but the devil because they did not do God’s will, but the devils will, and they were deceivers and liars just like their true father, satan. They habitually “practiced” disobedience to Gods instructions, PROVING they are not truly His. They did “what was right in their own eyes” and not “what is right in Gods eyes”. They followed the traditions THEY created, instead of what God instructed.

    Christ said, not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirit to see whether or not they are truly Gods. How? Know them by their “fruit” (deeds/actions).

    When we have truly accepted God’s grace, through “faith” in Jesus Christ, God removes our heart of stone, gives us a heart of flesh, writes His commandments upon our hearts, to cause us to obey Him, so that it will go well for us. All God’s work.

    This results in the “Old” you passing away, and God has made you “New”, a new creation in Christ. We are no longer the same person. We become different and start to desire differently. Again, God’s work in us. As God matures us, this becomes more and more evident and manifests for all to see, and God gets all the glory for it. We “practice” righteousness because of this transformation. Can a christian stumble? Yes, but they don’t make a “habitual” practice of it because the Holy Spirit resides in us and councils, teaches, comforts, and disciplines us when necessary. The Spirit of God is now fighting against our fleshly desires. so that we don’t give in to them like we once did as our “Old” self. God has freed us from slavery to sin. Again, all God’s work.

    Look and see what a person is “practicing”, it will give you the ability to see if it is “good” fruit or “bad” fruit. The Lord said, a good tree CANNOT bear bad fruit. Likewise, a bad tree CANNOT bear good fruit. Followers of Christ will bear “good” fruit because it is the POWER of God in us producing it. We don’t produce it, we simply bear it. Christ produces it. He is the Vine (providing the nutrients) and we are the branches (bearing the fruit for all to see).

    All of scripture is giving you examples of only two different types of people in the world, those in “unbelief”, and those in “belief”. As you read the scriptures, pay attention to the character traits of each. Then compare all other people by the plumb line God has provided in His word. Jesus used words like beware, don’t be deceived, don’t be led astray by these false brethren. So……. He must have given us the ability to recognize them.

    Selah- pause and think about that.

  • Not giving any kind of justification to anything this young man said but when you stand behind a pulpit of any church that flies the rainbow flag, you already stand in opposition of the very word that you’re supposed to be in line with. As far as what he tweeted, he shouldn’t have been in this position to begin with – if it was a Bible-believeing church. Seeing as how this church obviously doesn’t teach straight doctrine to begin with, I’m sure he felt safe saying anything.

  • John O

    i agree with your dilemma. walk in the Spirit and not willful disobedience. 1 sam 14. obedience is highest praise and included killing the pagan at Gods command. Soverign God. deceiver working overtime to confuse us.