Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns got right to the point when he criticized people who posted anti-gay rainbow-themed "Love Kills Pride.com" signs on public utility poles.
"To the cowards who only come out at night to express their prejudice with colorful signage and menacing language, and scurry back into their sinkholes from whence they came: If your commitment to your position is so strong, post the signs you have clearly invested money in on your own properties," he said at the end of a city council committee meeting Monday.
"But I know you won't because you do not have the courage of your convictions to do so."
The St. Charles man behind the campaign says he didn't put contact information on the sign, website or Facebook page because he wanted to keep the focus on Jesus Christ alone.
Aaron Viland, 19, created the website and the signs. He and friends put them up in Geneva, St. Charles, Batavia and Aurora.
"It's not because I was afraid to stand behind the message. It's not about me; it's about Jesus," Viland said.
Viland started the campaign to answer the "Got Love?" signs that a Geneva church has offered to people this year.
While he disagreed with the church's beliefs, he was disappointed in how people vandalized or stole those signs and wanted to call those people out too, for their lack of love.
Burns "didn't really look into what we are all about," Viland said.
The website says that homosexuality is a sin and that if Christians really love their homosexual friends and neighbors, they would tell them that so they can repent and not go to hell.
The website also addresses Christians who post "Got Love?" signs: "Do not think you are being loving by approving of the actions of your LGBT neighbors? God has made it clear in his word that homosexuality is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10), and that those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Their actions separate them from the love of God, and are you really so hateful that you refuse to tell them?"
Burns said the signs he pulled down were "clearly meant to intimidate our residents" and using the rainbow motif used by gay-pride supporters "is, in my opinion, as sinister and as sick as the message conveys."
The website links to a website for an Oklahoma firm, Abortion Abolition Resources, where people can purchase stickers and T-shirts that proclaim "Proverbs Sixteen: Eighteen," in rainbow lettering. That refers to a Bible verse that says "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
"You have failed to intimidate this mayor and you have failed to intimidate this community," Burns said. "Geneva respects all its citizens, whomever they love."