Three abortion activists interrupted televangelist Joel Osteen’s sermon on Sunday, surprising the congregation by stripping down to their underwear and shouting pro-abortion slogans.
The protesters at Lakewood Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch in Houston, Texas, partially disrobed and shouted “My body, my choice!” and “Overturn Roe, hell no!” as the faithful looked on.
The activists represented the organization, Rise UP 4 Abortion Rights, one of several groups that has staged protests around the country following the leak of the draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion which indicated that Roe v Wade will soon be overturned.
The women, dressed in sports bras with green hand prints on them, were escorted out of the building to cheers from the congregation.
“I know it seems very outrageous to do it in a church in a private space,” activist Julianne D’Eredita told local Houston television station KPRC 2 of the protest. “However, the people who are enforcing these laws have no qualms coming up to women in private spaces such as doctors’ offices and medical clinics to harass them and call them murderers.”
According to a Catholic News Agency report, when the demonstration began, Osteen, whose church seats 16,800, reassured the crowd, “And we’ll wait just one moment here but God is good and he’s on the throne and he’s in control.”
“So, we’ll just take one moment here and we’ll get started, but I know this, I’m glad to be in the house of the Lord with people of faith.”
“So thank you Lord for a good service,” he said to cheers from the congregation, reported CNA. “Alright y’all, we love everybody so we just thank the Lord that he’s in control and he has all things in his hand, and I think as long as I keep talking you can’t hear what everybody else is saying.”
The televangelist has made pro-life statements in the past, but has not been known for talking about hot-button social issues like abortion. The author of two best-selling books, Osteen is said to have a net worth of over $50 million. He has been criticized for preaching the “prosperity gospel,” in which Christian faith is linked with financial success.
In spite of the significant media coverage the abortion activists’ protest drew, Rise up 4 Abortion Rights, still had fewer than 4,000 followers on Twitter two days later.
The group is now promoting street protests, dubbed “Nationwide Die-Ins” to take place on Thursday.