Six people were arrested Sunday after allegedly interrupting a sermon by Pastor Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. All of the protesters came from a “revivalist” church in East Texas.
Lakewood Church spokesman Donald Iloff told the Houston Chronicle the men came from the Church of Wells in Wells, Texas. “They came out screaming scriptures,” Iloff said, who noted the group “goes after churches they don’t agree with.” The Lakewood spokesmen also told the Chronicle the group was in the church about a month ago, causing a disturbance before being asked to leave.
Casey Eaglin, a Lakewood member, was close to the protesters when they started engaging Osteen. “He jumped up with his Bible and started screaming ‘Shame on you Joel, shame on you Joel’ and Joel kind of just repeated Scripture and they just escorted them out,” Eaglin told KHOU. “I was terrified for a quick second there. After the first guy, I thought oh it’s just a random heckler, but then you start seeing the second, the third.”
For a second there I started thinking about the church shooting that happened and I was thinking ‘Oh God something bad is about to happen’ but they were real quick.
KHOU also learned from Lakewood that several of its volunteer ushers are also law-enforcement who remain armed during services and are ready to react if necessary. The six Church of Wells members were charged with criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor offense. They are: Jacob Gardner, 26; Kevin Fessler, 27; Mark DeRouville, 25; Matthew Martinez, 27; Randall Valdez, 28; and Richard Trudeau, 32, the Houston Chronicle reported.
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