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Protester interrupts Portland church service, spews anti-gay rhetoric

A man (center) interrupts a service at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ to spew anti-gay rhetoric. Pastor Don Frueh (left) is openly gay. (Still image from church video)

Twenty-five minutes into the Sunday's church service at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, an upset man approached the altar, spewing hate-filled, anti-homosexual rhetoric toward the congregation and openly gay pastor.

Pastor Don Frueh says he had just ended a short video on discrimination and inclusion when the man started interrupting the service.

"I usually allow time for silence for people to soak it in, and this gentleman who had been at the back of the church, came forward clapping real loud," Frueh said. "I didn't know what was going on."

The man, who Frueh says he's never seen before, pointed his finger at Frueh, then the projector screen, then back to Frueh, saying they were wrong.

"Listen up!" the man interjected. "I'm here to tell you that homosexuality is wrong, and what you're doing is wrong, and that's wrong and that's a lie!"

Frueh allowed the man to finish, then the congregation stepped in to help when the man restarted his rant.

"If you don't like what we're saying, then you're welcome to leave," a member of the congregation said in support of Frueh. "Stay or leave, but do not disrespect my pastor!"

Frueh says the church members formed a circle around the man, who was led out of the building.

"If anger controls us, then we've lost it," Frueh says. "I think we've lost the message of the gospel, which is about love."

The service didn't end there.

Instead, they prayed for the man.

"When someone is being hurtful, I see that there is a hurt in them," Frueh said. "I hope that we can help heal those kinds of hurts."

Frueh and the congregation agreed the man is welcome to return, but he has to leave his angry words at the door.

"We welcome everyone and he needs our prayers," he said. "I think every world religion has the golden rule at its heart, 'Do unto others what you would have them do unto you."

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