Driscoll's Portland church met by protesters

October 17, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Black-clad demonstrators gathered outside the
Portland satellite branch of a Seattle megachurch on Sunday (Oct. 16) to
protest the church's stance on homosexuality.

About 20 protesters lined up outside Mars Hill Church during the
congregation's first Sunday morning services, carrying banners and
shouting obscenities as churchgoers left when the service ended.

"Shame on you bigots," one woman yelled at worshippers as they left.
"Shame on you homophobes. You're not welcome here. You're going to burn
in hell."

The Portland church is an offshoot of Seattle's Mars Hill Church,
led by senior pastor Mark Driscoll. Driscoll, whose church spans
multiple campuses, preaches against homosexuality and once told his
followers that yoga is "demonic."

Brad Salyers came to Mars Hill for the first time on Sunday with his
wife and two young children. Salyers said the Bible teaches that
homosexuality is a sin, but everyone is a sinner.

"We love homosexuals," Salyers said. "We love pot smokers. We love
liars and thieves."

News of the church's arrival in Portland drew some opposition. Tim
Smith, the lead pastor at Mars Hill, said Sunday that he had expected
some sort of demonstration.

The protesters, some of whom wore kerchiefs to cover their faces,
shouted profanities at adults and children. "That's not how we would go
about it," Smith said afterward. "But they have the right to say what
they want to say."

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