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Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke sued for repeated zoning violations
The lawsuit, filed by a Wilson County (TN) official, threatens to bring down Locke's Global Vision Bible Church circus tent
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A Wilson County, Tennessee official has filed a lawsuit against Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke and his Global Vision Bible Church, citing a “history of numerous complaints, some of which are related to zoning violations and others about excessive noise.”
For years now, Locke, a MAGA cultist best known for spreading conspiracy theories to an ever-growing group of extremely gullible Christians, has been holding services twice a week inside a large circus tent in Mount Juliet. The music is loud, the preaching is turned up to 11, and his more recent “deliverance” services lead to crowds of people whooping it up under the false belief that their demons are being exorcised.
Whatever you think of their religious beliefs, living in that town is now akin to having an airport next door. When church is in session, you can’t go outdoors without hearing Locke or his acolytes screaming and yelling.
That wasn’t the only problem, though. According the the lawsuit, filed by Tom Brashear, Director of the Wilson County Development Services/Building Inspection Division, Locke’s church began adding to their property years ago without obtaining the proper permits. Despite multiple demands that they stop violating local ordinances, Locke has continued expanding in recent weeks, purportedly as a way to drown out the sound.
But that means he’s trying to fix the illegal noise problem by illegally expanding his property.
Specifically, the lawsuit says that in July of 2019, the church began expanding without obtaining the proper building permit or stormwater permit. (They had a stormwater permit but it had expired.) The county ordered them to stop the construction unless they could obtain the permits within 30 days. A second warning was sent in September. A third came in October.
The county found that construction had stopped… but the church still didn’t have the permits it needed.
When the pandemic shut everything down a few months later, the county discovered “unpermitted earthwork” taking place at the church—digging below the surface—and issued another warning.
By August of 2021, Locke had resumed in-person services with a sign outside the tent condemning people who wore masks inside the church:
The county’s concern, however, was that the church was gathering in a space without a permit. Later that same month, the county learned that Locke’s church had acquired a new building… that also lacked a permit. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
A representative of the church finally came to the county in October and requested a permit for that new building. The county was willing to give it to him assuming that all the legal conditions had been resolved… but they never were: “To date, these issues remain unresolved and outstanding.”
It didn’t help that the public was now getting fed up with the church for a different reasons.
Last October, the issue arose during the monthly meeting of the Wilson County commissioners. No one mentioned Locke’s church by name… but the Chief Deputy in the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office brought up the fact that during the month of September, his office received 41 noise complaints… 22 of which involved “a church down in [the] west end of the county.” (That would be Global Vision.)
The lawsuit doesn’t even mention how, later that October, Locke held a book burning with the fumes stretching well beyond his circus tent. It led one resident to tell a local news station “you can smell it.” That resident added:
I try to always keep to myself, but the way that [Locke] just thinks that he's using his religion to be above everyone else, is just getting out of control. Like he just really overstepped his lines way too often.
By November, the public was complaining about the noise, the drainage, and the construction: “The complaints have increased in number and frequency from neighbors who suffer from the excessive noise, drainage from the property and other issues,” the lawsuit notes.
In January, yet another “stop work” order was sent by the county to Locke’s church. It basically said the church was expanding without following local laws and obtaining proper permits, which they needed for “site use, parking, and storm water management.”
Locke has continued to defy all these orders. In fact, he’s building a “more permanent structure… around the tent.”
He’s also creating additional hazards:
To be clear, and to blunt the inevitable complaint from Locke, this isn’t about anti-Christian discrimination. This isn’t persecution. County officials are not trying to stop Locke from spreading his bullshit.
They just want him to play by the same rules as every other building in the county—including churches. He has repeatedly acted like he’s above the law. It’s clear, the lawsuit says, that Locke’s people have “no intention of compliance.”
It’s long overdue for this lawsuit to be filed.
If Locke and his church don’t comply, the lawsuit says, the court must “remove all buildings from the property.”
They want Locke’s church shut down unless he files the proper paperwork. Given how many warnings he’s received over the course of several years, that’s no longer an unfair request. It’s certainly a welcome development for his neighbors:
“It’s been horrible. They only really care about themselves. It’s been a noise issue for the past two or three years,” said Griff Akins, a neighbor of Global Vision Bible Church.
“It’s like someone is sitting out your front yard playing really loud music,” Akins said.
“We are the front row seat holders,” Linda Kent added.
Kent lives directly across the street from the church and told News 2 water runoff has also been an issue.
This controversy has been brewing for some time, though, and Locke knows it:
The “Larry” he’s referring to there is Larry Kent, husband of Linda.
Even if nothing comes of this lawsuit, all of this is yet another sign of how little the Christian preacher cares about his own community. Locke is someone who actively discouraged people from getting vaccinated, which put his own congregation in harm’s way. He participated in the January 6th rally (though he insists he never went inside the Capitol and has not been charged with any related crime). He doesn’t care if his actions hurt other people. He’s not thinking twice about their eardrums. He’s not concerned with potential flooding.
Everything he does is about elevating himself. If physically harming his own community gets him more attention and gives him a chance to whine about persecution, he’ll take that opportunity every time.
Locke did not respond to an immediate request for comment, though I’ll update this article if and when I hear back.
***Update***: Locke told me in a statement:
I’ll be addressing it at church Sunday.
It won’t change anything because we’re not in violation and there is no noise ordinance. It’s unfortunate but we will have to counter sue.
We have State inspection clearance so the County is fighting a losing battle.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)
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