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Pastor removes name from consideration for Anchorage Equal Rights Commission after anti-gay social media posts surface

A screen shot of a Facebook post from a profile under the name of Cheston McCrea.
A screen shot of a Facebook post from a profile under the name of Cheston McCrea.(Darrel Heff)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:26 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:23 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mayor Dave Bronson’s pick to sit on the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission has withdrawn his name from consideration after social media posts he made in the past resurfaced, which contained anti-gay rhetoric.

According to a spokesperson for the Bronson administration, appointee Cheston McCrea removed his name from consideration for the commission Monday night. According to his resume for this position, McCrea is an associate pastor for Praise Temple Ministries in Anchorage where he had been in that position since 2019.

The Anchorage Assembly had been scheduled to vote on whether to appoint McCrea to the city’s commission on equal rights at their Tuesday night regular meeting.

Several screenshots of posts by an account bearing McCrea’s name were posted to social media recently, and some were shared directly with Alaska’s News Source. Some of the posts contain homophobic or anti-gay language. McCrea’s Facebook page appears to have since been deleted or removed.

In one of the screen shots, McCrea wrote: “The celebration may be for a month, but the judgment is for eternity,” in regard to Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community and a few other shared videos regarding that community.

McCrea also wrote that “homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God.”

Several members of the Anchorage Assembly told Alaska’s News Source on Tuesday that they did not have prior knowledge about McCrea’s posts on Facebook until the screenshots were released. Assembly Vice Chair Christopher Constant said McCrea’s name would still appear on the assembly agenda, but would not be voted on.

Alaska’s News Source reached out to McCrea for comment but was not able to get in touch with him. However, McCrea spoke at Tuesday night’s Anchorage Assembly meeting during the initial public comment period, addressing his social media posts.

McCrea referred to one post in particular that he said was made seven years ago and just recently shared. One of the posts shared with Alaska’s News Source was made this past June.

“Recently I wanted to serve my community, but a social media post of mine from seven years ago was recently discovered and shared publicly by the Anchorage Daily News and other media platforms,” McCrea said.

He said the post created “political confrontations” within the city. He went on to say that the post was made at a time in his life when his expression of faith and personal opinions “carried a strong tone” and also “lacked proper filtration.”

“I admit, at that age in my life, my zeal wasn’t applied with wisdom or meekness,” McCrea said. “This concern about my style and delivery of my expressions were brought to my attention by my friends, family and loved ones. This gave me the opportunity for self examination.”

From that point on, McCrea said he sought out reconciliation, correction and forgiveness for his statements.

“While in my 20s I made many decisions even as a Christian that I’m not proud of,” he said.

McCrea said he has friends and family members who are in same-sex relationships and said “I love them all dearly.” He said those who have read accounts of the social media posts do not know them and have misjudged him. To those people, he said “I do forgive you.”

“Know this – that was me then, this is me now,” he said.

When the item for appointing members to the Equal Rights Commission came up at Tuesday’s regular assembly meeting, members of the assembly voted unanimously to postpone that motion indefinitely. Constant made the motion to postpone the appointments, which included two other names, and said he did so on behalf of the administration.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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