At least 25 LGBT protesters were escorted out of a Nashville hotel Wednesday night after interrupting anti-gay Pastor Rick Warren’s public worship at the National Religious Broadcasters’ annual conference, The Advocate reports.
As the evangelical megachurch’s pastor spoke, the protesters carried signs that quoted Bible verses and read “Stop Killing Us.” They also attempted to conduct a prayer in protest of the conference, which, Media Matters reports, has a long record of extremist anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-choice, and racist rhetoric.
“We as LGBT people occupy spaces in Christianity and we can praise and worship too,” said Sara Green, a student at Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School in a press release sent Wednesday by organizers. “First and foremost we are speaking out against the killing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the name of our faith.”
Conference attendees reportedly shouted “Homosexuality is an abomination” and “They’re not really praying,” as the activists gathered to form a prayer circle in the lobby, according to that press release. Police and hotel security then escorted the activists off hotel grounds.
The protest was organized by Know Your Neighbors, a partnership between LGBT faith and social justice organization Soulforce and Political Research Associates with a mission of “stopping the global culture wars here at home,” according to its website.
“It is important as a current student of theology to put theology in action,” said Rodriquez White, a student at American Baptist College involved in the demonstration. “This means challenging structures that claim the name of Christ yet in act in defiance of Christ teachings and principles.”
Earlier this month, the protesters called on Facebook executive Katie Harbath to back out of her scheduled headlining speech during Monday’s digital media summit. More than 1,200 people signed a petition asking the social media giant to pull out of the fundamentalist gathering–but Harbath ultimately did speak at the conference on Monday.