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Source: The Church Report
The Rev. Michael Demastus has found himself in the public eye again.

The senior pastor at the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ set off a social media firestorm this week after he posted ‘Gay is not okay’ on his church’s marquee.The message was meant to preview Demastus’ Sunday sermon on homosexuality. It did that and more. Protesters — and police — will be at the south-side church on Sunday.And instead of fine-tuning his sermon, Demastus spent Friday answering telephone messages as well as questions from a reporter and radio talk-show hosts.”I don’t desire any of this,” said Demastus, 41, pastor at the church for 14 years.This isn’t the first time Demastus has garnered public attention for his statements. Last year, he was invited to pray before the Legislature, during which he asked for God’s forgiveness for abortion and asked lawmakers to honor the institution of marriage.This week, a passer-by took a photo of the marquee and posted it on Facebook. Someone else created a Facebook page denouncing the message. And then the protest was planned.Demastus’ outspokenness is a quality that church member Nathan Shanks said he likes in his pastor. He likes the fact that Demastus will stand up for the things he believes in.

“I wish more pastors did the same thing,” Shanks said.

Demastus said his message has been misinterpreted. His goal is not to condemn homosexuals, he said. What he seeks to condemn is the act of homosexuality.

“It’s not a sin to be tempted, by the way, with homosexuality; it is a sin to act out on that,” he said.

Demastus said people are trying to paint him as someone like Fred Phelps, the controversial pastor from Kansas. But Demastus disputes that image.

Shanks said the picture people are painting of Demastus as someone who preaches hate just isn’t true.

“There’s nobody Mike hates,” he said.

Nikki Payne has a different view of Demastus. Payne met Demastus in 2007, after her sister committed suicide. Payne said her sister struggled with depression and had recently started using a new medication. She also had recently broken up with a longtime girlfriend, Payne said. All of those things most likely contributed to the suicide, she said.

Demastus officiated at the funeral, Payne said, because her family didn’t belong to a church. The funeral home found Demastus for the family.

“He actually was really good,” Payne said.