Carytown billboard has community upset

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 5:05 AM EST

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A new billboard is turning heads in Scotts Addition and Carytown. It’s the pride flag with text that reads “LGBTQ. What did Jesus Say? What does the Bible really say?”

The sign includes a link that leads to a website containing content some consider offensive. Many are saying the sign’s messaging is anti-LGBTQ.

The billboard sits on top of Mary Angela’s Pizzeria. The message has co-owner Mario Lopresti upset.

“You know we don’t own the billboard and we don’t own the building, so we rent it, so that’s frustrating sometimes to see things that happen on top of your head that you can’t do anything about it,” Lopresti said.

Lopresti said this is the first time he’s ever seen a sign like that posted above his business. He, along with others in the community, say the sign is anti-LGBTQ.

The sign itself doesn’t say anything specifically about the LGBTQ community. However, it features a link to a website called Seed Sowers that shares Bible verses. The website says that people who are queer shouldn’t be and uses religious texts as the reasoning.

“Especially like using the pride flag as the signage for the sign itself it really gave me an optimistic opinion of it at first but once you actually go to the website I can say that I was very disappointed I was sad I was frustrated,” explained Oliver Lesher who is a concerned LGBTQ community member.

The billboard says it was paid for by a group called Seed Sowers, which claims to be a group of Christians who want to distribute God’s Word. No one seems to know who from the group put the sign in Carytown, or how long it will be up for.

“They placed it over Carytown which is notoriously composed of people from my community like that’s one of our main neighborhoods in Richmond so I very honestly believe that this billboard was an intimidation tactic against our community but also a misleading one against the entire community,” Lesher stated.