Pastor who prayed for Orlando shooting victims to die targeted by protesters
Protesters chanted “We are done with hate” sang hymns and prayed Sunday morning across the street from a small Baptist church where a pastor has been critical of gay people.
Just over 40 people from the Fort Worth/Dallas area marched a block to stand and protest Stedfast Baptist Church and its pastor, Donnie Romero, who in a YouTube video had prayed that the survivors of the Orlando shooting die.
Forty-nine people died on June 12 at the Pulse Club in Orlando, a gay club where a gunman who opened fire. Fifty-three other people were wounded. The gunman was killed by police.
No one from the church confronted the protesters, who came only with water, umbrellas and signs.
“We cannot be killed or swept aside,” organizer Karen McCrocklin told the crowd.
Protesters held signs that read, “Jesus Loves Me Too” and “Jesus Saves Not Destroys,” and sang hymns such as “Amazing Grace.”
At about 10:30 a.m., when the church service began, McCrocklin began reading the names of the 49 people killed in the Orlando shooting.
Alan Small of Sansom Park said he was on his way to his church in Saginaw when he decided to stop and participate in the protest. He was there Sunday morning with his three children.
Small, with a Bible tucked under his arm, stood with protesters holding an umbrella to provide shade for his young kids.
“He’s a God of love,” Small said. “That’s why we are here.”
Sansom Park police, along with officers from several different area police agencies, monitored the crowd as protesters converged on the church.
Days before the protest, organizers sent out messages on Facebook and other social media, advising participants to be peaceful, not to enter the church or carry weapons.
As the protest ended, Sansom Park police officers stopped Rusty Walker of Fort Worth from approaching the group. Walker had a Bible.
“I just wanted to preach to them,” Walker said as he pointed to the protesters. “I had attended that church, but I’m no longer welcomed there. I guess they (protesters) will be there, the church on the other side, and me over here by myself.”