Gay rights protesters disrupt Sunday service
People threw fliers, shouted slogans at Delta Township church
LTA TWP. – A radical gay rights group is claiming responsibility for a protest Sunday at Mount Hope Church in Delta Township.
Protesters who entered the Creyts Road church along with worshippers surprised the congregation when they stood up during the service, threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted slogans such as “It’s OK to be gay,” and “Jesus was a homo,” according to David Williams, communications director at the church. His father, Dave Williams, is the church’s longtime pastor. He was not preaching at the church Sunday.
Another group of protesters demonstrated outside the church at the same time as the indoor protest.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene Sunday but no arrests were made.
In a released statement, David Williams said churchgoers were unclear as to the purpose of the demonstration.
A Lansing group affiliated with a radical gay organization known as Bash Back, formed to protest the Republican and Democratic national conventions earlier this year, put out a call on the Internet on Oct. 7 for activists to come to a “radical queer convergence” in Lansing on Nov. 7-9.
A posting on its MySpace page declared the convergence a “fierce success.”
Fire alarm pulled
According to a report on the Bash Back group’s news site, protesters inside the church pulled a fire alarm, unfurled a banner from the church balcony, shouted and threw fliers to the worshippers.
Outside the church, protesters carried picket signs and an upside-down, pink cross.
The conservative RightMichigan Web site posted an account of the incident Monday, and a number of conservative bloggers had picked up on the item by Tuesday.
Williams said the church had received 80 to 85 e-mails and phone calls by Tuesday, “from churches and individuals around the country to express their concern and general disgust for what happened on Sunday.”
Nick De Leeuw of RightMichigan said he got his account of the incident from a church member who was there.
No arrests made
Mount Hope Church, affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, teaches followers that homosexuality is a sin. However, “Mount Hope Church strives to follow Jesus’ example of loving the sinner but not the sin,” Williams said.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s Department got a call regarding the protest at about noon Sunday, said Lt. Jeff Warder.
Warder said protesters outside the church left peacefully when someone from the team of pastors came outside and told them they were not welcome on church property. Warder said deputies did not handle the protest inside the building.
No arrests were made.
In New York City on Tuesday, the conservative Catholic League said it would ask Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to investigate the protest.
Typically, the sheriff’s investigation would be turned over to the county prosecutor if the sheriff felt charges were warranted, said Matt Frendewey, spokesman for the attorney general’s office. He said it would be rare for the attorney general’s office to get involved in such a case.
Original Story Here: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20081112/NEWS01/811120369