Disagreement over sex offender protests

New Black Panther Party objects to pastor

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Men and women divided over whether a registered sex offender should be allowed to preach from the pulpit!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church needed to add security guards Sunday morning as protesters, including other religious leaders, lined up on the sidewalk to speak out against Darrell Gilyard, a registered sex offender who's preaching at the church.

George Harvey is the pastor at Mt. Charity Baptist Church on North Laura Street, which is less than two miles from where Gilyard is spending his Sunday mornings.

"A minister who has done such evil should not be restored to the pulpit until his repentance is as notorious as his sin," Harvey said.

Because Gilyard is a sex offender, children cannot attend his church service. Harvey has written letters to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the state attorney's office asking them to investigate whether Gilyard is violating the terms of his probation.

On Sunday, men and women calling themselves the New Black Panther Party chanted and shouted outside of the church. They also want to see Gilyard step down and stop preaching.

Another pastor from a different church has a different point of view and believes what the New Black Panther Party did Sunday is wrong.

"I think that's way out of line," Pastor James Brant, of Zarephath Tabernacle Baptist Church on the Eastside, said of the protest.

Brant said protesting outside a church is not the solution.

"Maybe it is for the kids, and I agree with them, but there's a better way to do that than to come in front of the house of God on a Sunday morning with that kind of stuff," Brant said.

The man at the center of the controversy isn't talking to reporters. Gilyard, whose address on the sex offender registry is at a motel room in north Jacksonville, did not answer the door Monday. But a clerk at the front office confirmed he does stay there and usually leaves for work in the morning.

The New Black Panther Party said it plans to protest this Sunday and every Sunday until Gilyard agrees to stop preaching to the congregation.

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