Grayson Fritts is a Knox County Sheriff’s Office detective and the pastor of a Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, who gave a rabid, hate-fueled sermon calling for the government to execute LGBTQ people. Fritts has been removed from active duty amid an investigation into his calls for gay people to be arrested and put to death.
The 39-year-old Fritts called for riot teams to round up and take away Pride event participants and referenced his law enforcement work several times during the sermon. During the sermon, Fritts, said, “such arrests and executions should be carried out by our government, not Christians,” and after the congregation laughed, he added, “unless you’re a policeman.” He said the executions should be carried out “speedily” after quick trials and convictions, and said just being photographed at Pride would be enough evidence to kill someone.
Fritts gave the sermon at his church, All Scripture Baptist, on June 2, the first day of Pride month, and repeated similar themes during a June 9 sermon. Videos on the church’s YouTube channel show several homophobic sermons and calls for violence and the execution of LGBTQ people dating back to 2017. The church’s website outright says in its “doctrinal statement” that, “God said homosexuality should be punished with the death penalty, as set forth in Leviticus 20:13.”
Fritts’ sermon came after Mark Chambers, the mayor the small Alabama town of Carbon Hill, apologized for a Facebook post in which he called for “killing them out” in reference to LGBTQ people. “We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!” Chambers wrote. “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it’s bad to say but without killing them out there’s no way to fix it.”
The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported on Fritts’ sermons on June 12. Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler told the newspaper that two weeks ago Fritts asked to take a buyout offer from the county. He said Fritts is on paid sick leave until June 19.
“I want to be very clear that it is my responsibility to ensure equal protection to ALL citizens of Knox County, Tennessee under the law, my oath and the United States Constitution without discrimination or hesitation,” Sheriff Tom Spangler told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “Rest assured that I have and will continue to do so.”
Here’s what you need to know about Grayson Fritts:
1. Fritts Called Members of the LGBTQ Community ‘F*gs,’ ‘Freaks’ & ‘Animals’ & Said He Is ‘Sick of Sodomy Being Crammed Down Our Throats’
In his June 2 sermon, Grayson Fritts used several slurs toward members of the LGBTQ community, calling them “f*gs,” “freaks” and animals.” He said he is “sick of sodomy being crammed down our throats.” He cited the King James Bible version of Leviticus that states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
He said, screaming at times, “”Here’s how it should work, it shouldn’t work when we go out and we enforce the laws, because the Bible says the powers that be are ordained of God and God has instilled the power of civil government to send the police in 2019 out to these LGBT FREAKS and arrest them. Have a trial for them, and if they are convicted then they are to be put to death…do you understand that? it’s a capital crime to be carried out by our government.”
He continued, “All the pride parades, man, hey call the riot teams, we got a bunch of ’em, get the patty wagon out here, we got a bunch of ’em going to jail, we got a bunch of them we’re gonna get convicted because they’ve got their pride junk on and they’re professing what they are, they’re a filthy animal. After this onslaught, where the government’s arresting them and carrying out God’s laws and they’re all dead…you think.”
YouTube took down the video of his June 2 sermon after determining it violated the site’s rules.
Fritts followed up his June 9 sermon with another anti-LGBTQ sermon titled, “Sodomite Reprobates.” During that sermon, he said, HIV and AIDS are “their reward for engaging in this type of behavior.
On June 12, after news reports about his sermons, Fritts gave another hate-filled sermon in response, with many members of the local media in attendance, along with those from his church community.:
The YouTube channel, which has sermons dating back to 2017, include several other homophobic talks led by Fritts. His sermons over the two-year period, which were live-streamed on the channel, include titles like “You’re Being Brainwashed,” “A Literal Hell,” “Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Never Hurt Me,” “Born to Die,” “A Biblical View of ‘Boy Erased,'” “Macy’s Brainwashing Day Parade,” “The Bible Is Not a Fairy Tale,” “God’s Role for Women” and “How to Handle the Homos.”
2. His Church Says On Its Website ‘Don’t Expect Anything Liberal, Watered Down or Contemporary Here’
The All Scripture Baptist Church was founded in May 2017 and is located at 715 North Cherry Street in Knoxville, Tennessee. On its website, the church says, “We are an independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning church. Don’t expect anything liberal, watered down, or contemporary here. We are a family integrated church, meaning children of all ages are welcome in our services.”
The website adds, “The purpose and goal of our church is to fulfill the great commision, first and foremost in Knoxville, then going forward into the rest of the world. We would love to get to know you personally at one of our services!”
On Facebook, the church says, “We are an Independent Baptist Church with a global vision to reach the world with the gospel and hard preaching, starting in Knoxville. At All Scripture Baptist Church, the King James Bible is our only book. Soul winning and the Great Commission is our only business.”
Fritts is the lead pastor at the church, which has about 50 members.
The website says in its “doctrinal statement” section, “We believe that the rapture will take place after the tribulation, but before God pours out his wrath on this Earth. We reject dispensationalism in all forms.”
It adds, “We believe the church is a local assembly of baptized believers and we reject the idea of a universal church. We believe the local church exists for the purpose of fulfilling the great commission by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through door-to-door soul winning.” And states, “We believe that the unsaved will spend eternity in torment in a literal burning hell.”
3. Fritts Has Been With the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Since 1999, Was Named ‘Detective of the Month’ in 2017 & Twice Fired His Gun on Duty, Missing Both Times
Grayson Fritts has worked for the Knox County Sheriff’s since 1999. In March 2017, Fritts was named Detective of the Month by the department. Fritts worked as a patrol officer, correctional officer and maintenance technician before being promoted to detective.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Fritts had two minor reprimands in his personnel file. He was also involved in two shootings. He fired his gun both times, but missed during both incidents, the newspaper reports.
In September 2003, Fritts was one of six officers who opened fire at a suicidal man during a ‘suicide by cop’ encounter in September 2003, according to court records and Knoxville News Sentinel archives. The man was superficially wounded by one bullet, while the rest of the 28 rounds fired, including six by Fritts, missed the man.
In November, 2009, Fritts was off-duty and working private security when he fired twice at a man trying to flee in a car from a Kroger parking lot in Farragut after shoplifting, according to court to a sheriff’s office report and Knoxville News Sentinel archives. Fritts missed both times from close range, and the driver sped away, but was later arrested.
Fritts was reprimanded for sideswiping an underpass to avoid a truck and for being late twice in a 10-day period, according to the newspaper.
4. He Is a Tennessee Native & Is Married With 4 Sons & His Wife Has Posted About Being Anti-Vaccine on Facebook
Grayson Fritts is a Tennessee native, according to his Facebook page. He lives with his wife, Dana Fritts, and their four sons in Corryton, Tennessee, according to public records.
His wife, Dana Sharp Fritts, is a stay-at-home parent who attended South College in Knoxville. On March 8, she shared an anti-vaccine video on her Facebook page and ranted about being an anti-vaxxer.
“I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a journalist. I’m just a mom,” she wrote. Dana Fritts claims that her son is Autistic because of a vaccine. The claims that vaccines can cause Autism have been thoroughly debunked by medical and scientific experts and have no roots in actual science. She wrote that her son, has been “my special guy for sure, a true gift from God in so many ways. As difficult and painful as it has been through the years dealing with his struggles, we know that he’s the reason we have questioned so many things, and the reason we’re able to accept many ideologies that may seem extreme to most people. He was a big catalyst in our search for the truth. And I’m thankful for that!”
5. The Knox County District Attorney Says She Will Be ‘Looking Into’ the Detective’s Sermon
Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen said in a statement that she will be looking into the detective’s off-duty actions. “As district attorney, I have dedicated my career to the belief that justice is blind and that all people are entitled to equal protection of the law,” Allen said. “I always have, and always will, prosecute fairly and justly, based upon the law and the evidence, without prejudice, bias, or discrimination of any kind,” Allen said.
Others called for officials to ensure that Fritts will not be working in law enforcement going forward.
Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, told the Knoxville News Sentinel he hopes “there is a thorough quick investigation of this Knox County employee, and if all the facts are confirmed, he should not be in law enforcement. It’s particularly reprehensible when people use religion and their position in law enforcement to attack our community.”
Sterling Field, of the Tennessee Equality Project, told the newspaper, “This is why we celebrate pride. We’ve had police brutality in the past. Pride started with the Stonewall uprising 50 years ago as a group of folks trying to assert that they deserve to be alive and deserve to have dignity and respect. This kind of violence against our community is present here already. These words do have power, they have meaning. We just had a massacre of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando three years ago.”
Field also referenced the 2008 shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, in which the gunman said he attacked the church because he believed it was too liberal and for its acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Two people were killed and seven were injured. The shooter is serving life in prison.