A new church has opened up in Spring, TX, but many Christians aren’t happy about it.
By all appearances, the building is fairly innocuous. It sits on Main Street in the Old Town Spring district, with a hand-drawn “Co-Exist” sign on the ground before it.
But that isn’t a typical Christian church. It’s actually the Greater Church of Lucifer, and it’s the first of its kind in this area.
The church opened on Friday, Oct. 30, for its very first meeting and drew protesters from all over the state and beyond.
In fact, by the estimate of the Houston Press, most weren’t from the area. Some were from nearby Louisiana, but others came from locations as far away as Las Vegas and the state of Pennsylvania.
With more than 27 million pieces of content shared per day on the internet, it’s safe to assume that word spread quickly on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to inform churchgoers of this new establishment.
Yet the church’s co-president, Michael W. Ford, said that the outrage from the Christians who came to protest likely arises from a misunderstanding of the group’s beliefs.
“We have gatherings. But they’re not services,” Ford explained to reporters from ABC 13 in Houston. “We don’t preach. We don’t have something that we try to tell people this is reality.”
Ford also took the time to clear up some other misconceptions. The group doesn’t sacrifice animals, they’re not looking to convert anyone, and they don’t even worship the devil.
“We’re not against Christianity,” said HopeMarie Ford, the other co-president of the church. “We’re just about letting people find truth for themselves.”
In fact, their beliefs are more in line with 1960s New Age beliefs, according to the Houston Press. They chose “Lucifer,” whose name translates to “light bringer,” as a symbol for knowledge and self-empowerment.
Most of the protesters remained peaceful during their demonstration. The few who made it to the other side of the street and onto the church’s property were escorted away by Harris County Deputies.
One tense moment broke out, however, when two protesters — one from a Catholic organization in Pennsylvania and a “doomsday-preacher” from Las Vegas — began arguing over which sect was correctly following the teachings of Christ.
Protestor Christine Weick, who was famous for protesting the same-sex marriage ruling outside the Supreme Court back in June, told reporters that the Luciferians needed to repent. “This is what we get when we have Freedom of Religion,” she commented.
Yet previous protesters weren’t always so calm. According to The New Civil Rights Movement, one protester chainsawed through a nearby tree to send it crashing through the church roof — before it even opened its doors.
Other protesters have harassed church members and vandalized the professionally-made church signs with Christian symbols.
Yet not all Christians agreed with the protesters’ way of thinking. Local resident Janet Lynchard said that the church members may “need God,” but that they wouldn’t find their way to Christianity from the protesters’ actions.
“If I were not a Christian and I saw the way some of the people are behaving here, I would not want to be a Christian because I believe God wants us to love these people because He loves them,” she told ABC 13.
Michael Ford seemed to agree. The protesters, he said, “have the right to do what they do. And that’s cool with us. But we have a right to believe in what we do too. And we need to co-exist.”