The pastor of a large Steinbach church has warned local politicians, teachers, media members and other local citizens in prominent jobs that God can replace them if they stay silent on the call to oppose the province's Bill 18.

At his Feb. 24 sermon to thousands of parishioners at Southland Church in Steinbach, Pastor Ray Duerksen specifically cited Hanover and Steinbach councillors, Hanover school trustees, doctors in the regional health authority, MLAs and MPs, police, firefighters, teachers, and media members and said: "God did not place you in your position because you are the only person who can do your job that well.

"If you don't do it, God will set you and I aside, and raise up someone who will."

Bill 18, which aims to fight bullying, guarantees any student in a public or private school who asks to form a gay-straight alliance must be supported by the school. Some Christians in southern Manitoba have said the bill infringes on their right to support schools that reflect their religious values.

A source in Steinbach who requested anonymity said Wednesday there is local talk that some church members are planning to run their own slates in the 2014 school board and city council elections, to try to "stack" the public bodies.

Duerksen said in his Feb. 24 sermon God placed people in their positions -- including him -- for a reason.