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You Told Us: Homophobic Harlem Church Should be Turned Into LGBT Center

By John Santore | January 29, 2016 4:59pm | Updated on January 31, 2016 6:20pm
 The church posted this message days after a judge at the Environmental Control Board found them guilty of five landmarks violations.
The church posted this message days after a judge at the Environmental Control Board found them guilty of five landmarks violations.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

You Told Us is a regular feature highlighting comments from users in the communities DNAinfo covers.

EAST HARLEM - The Atlas Worldwide Church will be auctioned off next month after failing to pay $1.02 million in past-due bills. The church and its pastor, Rev. James Manning, are known for the anti-gay slurs they display on a billboard outside of the building. 

Many readers had suggestions for what Atlah's next owners should do with the property:  

► “I summon all the wealthy lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transpeople and queers to gather your coins and buy out that church and turn it into a nightclub (or the new Harlem LGBTQ Center). Can I get a witness? I'm passing around the offering plate,” wrote Facebook user WG Grant.

► "I bet the buyer will turn it into something like an lgbt center or a bar or strip club. I want to know what will happen after the auction," said a Neighborhood Square user

► "Can someone please start a gofundme campaign so we can buy this church and turn it into a shelter for homeless LGBT youth? I can't think of a better use for it," wrote another commenter on Neighborhood Square

► "If I had won the PowerBall I would turn this former church into to a cultural center for Atheists, and Secular Minded people that embrace humanist and secular values and a haven for LGBT & Queer youth as well. I am glad he's being cast aside. Harlem should say "Bye Felicia" to this ignorant excuse of a human being," one person wrote on Neighborhood Square

Others greeted the news with cheers: 

► "I use to live on the street where this hateful church and pastor are located. And had to endure and walk by the vilest, most disturbing, bigoted and racist wordings on the church's marquee. I ( still in Harlem), neighbors and others in Harlem have written to our representatives and protested to have this blight on the Harlem community shut down. Karma," wrote one person on Facebook

► “I’ve been waiting 11 years for this blessed news! Serves him right. He doesn’t deserve to lead any group, much less a church congregation," said one person on Facebook

► “I think he misunderstood the part about Jesus and the money changers...and just about everything else,” added another, also on Facebook

► "I'm not religious at all, but I do remember that religious saying, "God Don't Like Ugly," a reader commented on Facebook

But Manning and Atlah found some supporters as well. 

► “Every human being has the right to dislike or like something. And we all have freedom of speech. So because of his beliefs, everybody is happy that he’s losing his church. That makes you no better than him," one reader wrote on Facebook