Country’s Vince Gill takes on Westboro Baptist Church protesters
Multiple Grammy Award-winning country singer Vince Gill went eye to eye and nose to nose, stopping short of tooth for a tooth with members of the provocative Westboro Baptist Church, who protested his concert Sunday in Kansas City, Mo., taunting him because he had divorced and remarried.
In a confrontation captured on a 55-second video that’s gone viral on YouTube, Gill tells the protesters, “I came to see what hate looked like.”
One woman asked Gill, “What are you doing with another man’s wife?” referring to his marriage in 2000 to Christian pop singer Amy Grant after she divorced her husband, musician Gary Chapman, in 1999, the year after Gill divorced his wife, singer Janis Oliver. “Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery? Jesus said that.”
Gill responded, “He also said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. You guys don’t have any of that.”
In 2006, he talked to The Times about the criticism he and Grant had weathered over their marriage.
“For a while I thought I had every Christian in the world mad at me,” he said with a characteristically low-key laugh. “But you just put one foot in front of the other, take with a grain of salt what people are saying about you ... and we just pressed on. They say time is the great healer, and it’s proven to be that.”
At the Kansas City protest, he also asked whether any of those on hand were members of the family of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, who has led his followers in controversial protests at military funerals, gay weddings and other events.
“Are any of you guys Phelpses?” he asked, adding, “Or are you guys like the C team?”
Here’s a link to the video of the encounter (contains some vulgar language).
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2
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