Cracker Barrel bars Tennessee pastor who called for LGBTQ executions in sermons

"We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same," the restaurant chain said.
Image: Grayson Fritts
Grayson FrittsWBIR
By Janelle Griffith

A Cracker Barrel restaurant refused to host a Tennessee church whose pastor, a former sheriff's department detective, said the government should execute gay people.

Grayson Fritts and his independent All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville had planned a meeting at the Cracker Barrel in Cleveland, Tennessee, on June 29.

The restaurant chain, however, announced they "will not be permitted onsite."

It said Tuesday in a statement on Twitter that it is not affiliated with the church or Fritts and that it "disagrees with their statements of hate and divisiveness."

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"We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same," Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel said in the statement.

Fritts said during a June 9 sermon that gay people are "freaks" and "reprobates" who are “worthy of death” and should be tried and executed by the government. The sermon was posted on YouTube but has since been removed.

Numbers listed for Fritts and his church appear to have been disconnected.

Earlier Tuesday, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini sent a letter to Cracker Barrel's CEO about the church's planned event at its restaurant.

"Among other statements anathema to the standards and values of this great country, Pastor Fritts said members of the LGBTQ+ community are 'freaks' and 'animals,' and 'are worthy of death," Mancini wrote. "Mr. Fritts also called on the United States government to carry out death sentences against the community."

She added: "Hosting this type of event is in direct conflict with the culture you are working so hard to build as well as the inclusivity and diversity pledge stated on your website."

Fritts, formerly a Knox County sheriff's detective, took a voluntary buyout amid the furor surrounding his comments and no longer works for the department.

District Attorney Charme Allen is reviewing pending cases investigated by Fritts to "scrutinize them for any potential bias."