Palo Alto Pastor Resigns After Slamming Community as ‘Elitist Sh** Den of Hate‘

Palo Alto Pastor Resigns After Slamming Community as ‘Elitist Sh** Den of Hate‘

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Sign up By , Christian Post Reporter | May 21, 2018 12:45 PM (Screenshot/Photo: ABC7; Facebook)The Rev. Gregory Stevens (L) resigned from First Baptist Church in Palo Alto, California.

The Rev. Gregory Stevens, a California pastor who has been highly praised for his “,” stepped down from his role at a progressive Baptist Church in the  city of Palo Alto last week after sparking furor over his comments that the city is an “elitist sh** den of hate.”

Stevens, who is associate pastor of  in Palo Alto, had recently made several controversial tweets about the city‘s residents, among other things. Those tweets became an issue during a city council hearing last Monday when the council was considering the church‘s  that would allow its facility to be used as a community center and thus lease space to outside tenants.

According to a  that was addressed to the city council and Palo Alto residents, City Clerk Beth Minor expressed concern over Stevens‘ “troubling recent tweets” and felt they should come to the city‘s attention.

“Should this type of person and the organization he represents oversee a Palo Alto Community Center? Should a person that hates the City of Palo Alto, hates the Palo Alto Police Dept, hates Palo Alto residents, makes fun of our older citizens and ridicules another faith, be running a Palo Alto Community Center? A facility that would cater to the elderly, children and residents of our town?” Minor asked.

Screenshots of some of Stevens‘ tweets were provided in the letter (his Twitter account has been disabled). Along with the “elitist” comment that was made in March, he also said:

  • “Palo Alto is disgusting”
  •  “I can‘t figure out how to grow a church. I can‘t even get 3 people around a table of free food to talk about compost as a metaphor for social/personal change. #bye” he added. “Looking for new jobs! lol send details plz.” 
  • “The musician bailed 30 min prior to the event. ‘I love this job.‘ -Nobody” 
  • “I hate ‘social justice‘ in Palo Alto. What a f***ing joke”
  • “‘Kind capitalism‘ is a myth and our city is proof”
  • “In our church council meeting the old people always fall asleep. Always. ALWAYS. FALL ASLEEP” 
  • “in the nicest way possible: I hate palo alto”

Stevens seemed to have had significant trouble connecting with congregants and the community in general even though, according to the church‘s website, “he received outstanding recommendations and references for his creativity, vision, hard work, and ability to relate to people, among other desirable qualities.”

The native Florida preacher who has been serving as the church‘s full-time associate pastor for Faith Formation and Family Life since August 2015, and previously worked with congregations in Florida and southern California.

Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss told  that community leaders were shocked by the revelations about the pastor.

“We were horrified. We really couldn‘t believe it,” said Kniss, who said copies of the tweets were delivered to her doorstep by a constituent.

“The tweets were distasteful, they were hateful and they should not be reflective of our community.”

According to a  provided to sfgate, Stevens said he decided to step down to “help minimize the negativity focused on the good community work being done” at First Baptist.

At the same time, he stood by his earlier comments and noted that his tweets were made to a group of progressive activist ministers.

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

“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,” Stevens explained. “If the same energies used to organize neighbors around minor parking issues, a 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.”

During the city council hearing on May 14, the council approved the church‘s conditional use permit, with Councilman Adrian Fine saying the tweets are irrelevant, as reported by the local . 

A number of residents spoke for and against the church‘s ability to rent space in the wealthy neighborhood. Some neighbors complained repeatedly about noise, traffic and parking issues, while supporters of the church‘s tenants have said the cheap space makes it possible for nonprofit groups .

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