Vince Gill showed no reluctance in confronting protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church prior to a Sunday (Sept. 8) concert appearance in Kansas City, Mo.
The church, based in Topeka, Kan., is well known for its protests against gays, Jewish institutions and other groups. The church members have picketed at funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in combat on the grounds that God is punishing the U.S. for its immorality.
In Gill’s case, they were drawing attention to the fact that he is divorced and now married to singer-songwriter Amy Grant. He was married to Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo from 1980 until 1998. Grant was married to singer-songwriter Gary Chapman from 1982 until 1999. Gill and Grant have now been married for 13 years.
During Sunday’s encounter outside the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Gill talked to the protesters as he walked outside the concert venue.
“Vince Gill, what in the world are you doing out here?” a woman asked.
“I just came to see what hate looked like,” he replied.
“Well, more importantly, what are you doing with another man’s wife?” she said.
“I came out to see what hatred really looked like in the face,” he said.
“Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery?” she responded. “Jesus Christ said that.”
“Did he?” Gill said. “You know what else he said? He said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. You guys don’t have any of that.”
Gill kept his composure during the exchange, although at one point, he said to one of the protesters, “I’ve seen you on TV, man. You’re a big dip-s***. You know that, don’t you?”
Westboro is not affiliated with any major Baptist denomination. The two largest Baptist denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist World Alliance, have denounced Westboro’s protests through the years.
Westboro is headed by Fred Phelps, prompting Gill to say at the end of the short video clip, “Are any of you guys Phelpses? Or are you guys like the C team?”
Contacted Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Gill told CMT.com that the Country Music Hall of Fame member has no plans to comment on the encounter.
Earlier this year, Westboro announced plans to protest George Jones’ lifestyle during his funeral service at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, but the demonstration never materialized. They recently protested outside a Taylor Swift concert in Kansas City.
According to the church’s website, protesters also plan to picket Mumford & Sons’ Sept. 20 concert in Bonner Springs, Kan. In a press release, organizers claim that “Mumford & Sons happily push the soul-damning lie that ’it’s OK to be gay’ for filthy lucre’s sake.”