(CNSNews.com) - Hundreds of angry anti-Proposition 8 protesters targeted Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California last Sunday.
The same-sex marriage advocates were expressing their anger at Warren, pastor of the Southern California mega-church, for speaking out in support of the California initiative, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which passed a week ago – 52 percent to 47 percent.
Evangelical Christian, Mormon and Catholic churches, as well as state and local government buildings in California, have become targets of screaming, angry crowds of homosexual activists in the last week – with some rallies turning violent.
No violence was reported at Saddleback, but there was plenty of hostility. One protester carried a sign saying – “Will your rights be next?” – with a Nazi swastika drawn in place of the “x”.
Cindy Gorman, a receptionist at the church, told CNSNews.com she has received dozens of angry calls from same-sex marriage advocates.
She said many callers have identified themselves as “militant gays” and have threatened her – “You’re in big trouble.”
“I got a call Monday from a guy who said ‘Why do you hate gays?’ and I said ‘We don’t hate gays. I personally don’t hate gays.’ And I think I took the ammo out of him, because I think he wanted a fight, and I wasn’t fighting with him. And he said ‘Well, why do you think Jesus doesn’t love us,’ and I said ‘Jesus loves you to death,’” Gorman said.
Warren and his church, which hosted presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in a candidate forum earlier this year, was not the only target for homosexual wrath.
In Palm Springs, Calif., just two days earlier, a 69-year-old woman was pushed, screamed at, spit on and struck on the head at a protest rally – this one, outside Palm Springs City Hall.
The incident was captured on videotape by KPSP-TV-Channel 2, the CBS affiliate in Palm Springs, and posted on YouTube.
Phyllis Burgess carried a large Styrofoam cross in front of the anti-Proposition 8 crowd. As soon as they saw her, a group of protesters swarmed around her, pushing her and grabbing for her cross. One man yanked it from her hands, threw it to the ground and stomped on it. The crowd eventually trampled it to pieces.
“They began grabbing me,” Burgess told the Desert Sun newspaper. “It was like a dog pack, actually.”
A few in the crowd called for peace, to which the man responded – “I don’t want to keep it peaceful anymore. We should fight.”
He continued, screaming at the woman, who had supported Proposition 8, and calling her “stupid” and a “Nazi.”
After the scene calmed, some protesters apologized to the local news reporter who was trying to interview Burgess – not to Burgess herself – saying the incident “did not represent the gay rights movement.”
The newspaper reported that Burgess is considering pressing charges.
Mormons, who donated approximately $20 million to help pass Proposition 8, are also being blamed for “denying civil rights” to homosexuals.
Thousands of activists have gathered at a series of protests in front of a Mormon temple in Los Angeles last week – and more than 10,000 gathered outside of a Mormon church in New York City Wednesday night.
A fight broke out at one of these protests on Nov. 6, after protesters taped banners up on the gates of the church. A group of three or four men, claiming to be church members, came and tore the signs down, calling it vandalism. Heated words reportedly turned to punches.
“It was pretty much a mutual fight. There were words going back and forth and then a physical confrontation. Some of the protestors were allegedly struck,” said Officer Ana Aguirre, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman.
Police are looking into the possibility of filing this as a hate crime, although Aguirre said it is doubtful it will be classified as such.
A similar protest took place at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
Same-sex marriage advocates say they are planning to hold nationwide demonstrations this weekend outside the U.S. Capitol and locations in more than 175 cities.