Pro-abortion activists disrupt Joel Osteen's Pentecost Sunday service
Pro-abortion activists disrupted Joel Osteen's sermon at the televangelist's Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday, stripping down to their undergarments and shouting expletives and pro-abortion slogans before they were escorted out of the building.
The Twitter account TX4ABORTION posted videos of the incident, the latest in a series of pro-abortion demonstrations targeting churches in recent weeks. The demonstrations are in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion last month that suggested a conservative majority on the court is poised to oveturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide.
Julianne D'Eredita, 21, of Austin, Texas, told CNA in an interview Sunday that she led the group of 13 activists on behalf of the Austin-based affiliate of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, an activist group that calls for protests against pro-lifers and pro-life laws.
The demonstrators were detained by the police and told they would be charged with a crime if they returned, D'Eredita said.
D'Eredita told CNA she attended Osteen's church as a child and knows Osteen personally. While Osteen has expressed pro-life views in the past, the abortion issue does not play a prominent role in his ministry. D'Eredita said the activist group chose Osteen's evangelical non-denominational church --whose church building can seat 16,800 --because its broadcasts attract millions of viewers around the world.
The incident began just as Osteen was starting his sermon at the 11 a.m. Pentecost Sunday service, the videos show.
As the congregation sat down, a woman stood up and pulled off her dress. Wearing only her underwear, she then began shouting pro-abortion slogans and expletives. Two other women proceeded to do the same, the videos show.
The women almost immediately were met by men wearing suits who began escorting them out of the building.
After the shouting began, Osteen told the congregation, "And we'll wait just one moment here but God is good and he's on the throne and he's in control."
The congregation cheered, and cheered louder when Osteen said, "So, we'll just take one moment here and we'll get started, but I know this, I'm glad to be in the house of the Lord with people of faith."
"So thank you Lord for a good service," he continued, speaking over the shouts of the protesters. "Alright y'all, we love everybody so we just thank the Lord that he's in control and he has all things in his hand, and I think as long as I keep talking you can't hear what everybody else is saying."
Lakewood Church did not respond to CNA's request for comment by time of publication.