- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Cracker Barrel in Cleveland, Tennessee, said it is barring a church event hosted by a sheriff’s detective and pastor after he enthusiastically called for the execution of LGBTQ people.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Grayson Fritts and his Knoxville-based All Scripture Baptist Church had planned a meeting at the Cleveland Cracker Barrel on June 29. Mr. Fritts, who recently accepted a buyout from the county and is on paid sick leave until it takes effect on July 19, came under fire last week after his sermon calling on the government to arrest and execute members of the LGBTQ community came to light.

Mr. Fritts refused to apologize for the remarks, saying, “Put homos to death,” in a later sermon, WVLT reported.

The Tennessee Democratic Party and LGBTQ activists flooded Cracker Barrel with complaints asking the restaurant chain to ban Mr. Fritts’ church from organizing there. Cracker Barrel issued a statement Tuesday saying it disagrees “strongly” with the group’s “statements of hate and divisiveness.”

“We are not hosting any event on June 29, and Mr. Fritts and his group will not be permitted on site,” the statement read.

“At Cracker Barrel, we work hard to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive — we have a zero tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment or harassment of any sort,” the company said. “We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open to everyone.

“Our corporate policy strictly prohibits any type of protest or public demonstration on their property or in our stores, and we have advised All Scripture Baptist that their event will not be allowed at Cracker Barrel,” the statement continued. “We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same.”

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