Vince Gill didn't mince words when he confronted protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church before his concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this week-- and the moment was captured on video.
The country star was targeted by the fringe church, infamous for its decidedly un-Christ-like displays of anti-gay views and protests at the funerals of soldiers, because he has divorced and remarried. The church considers that adultery, according to USA Today.
Gill split with Sweethearts of the Rodeo singer Janis Oliver in 1998. He's been married to singer/songwriter Amy Grant for the past 13 years, according to CMT.
As the video begins, Gill is seen approaching the picketers. A woman asks: "Vince Gill, what in the world are you doing out here?" His answer: "I just came to see what hate looked like," according to USA Today.
At the end of the video, Gill asks: "Are any of you guys Phelpses? Or are you guys like the C team?" That's in reference to Westboro Baptist founder Fred Phelps, whose family makes up most of the small congregation of the church.
One woman asked Gill: "What are you doing with another man's wife?" referring to his marriage to Grant after she divorced her husband, musician Gary Chapman, in 1999. "Don't you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery? Jesus said that."
Gill responded, "He also said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. You guys don't have any of that," reports The LA Times.
In 2006, he talked to The LATimes about the criticism he and Grant had weathered over their marriage.
"For a while I thought I had every Christian in the world mad at me," he said with a characteristically low-key laugh. "But you just put one foot in front of the other, take with a grain of salt what people are saying about you ... and we just pressed on. They say time is the great healer, and it's proven to be that."
According to vincegill.com, Gill has sold more than 26 million albums. He's earned 18 CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1993 and 1994. He is tied with George Strait for having won the most CMA Male Vocalist Awards (5), and is currently second only to Brooks and Dunn for accumulating the most CMA Awards in history. Gill is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and has received 20 Grammy Awards to date, the most of any male Country artist. In August of 2007, the Country Music Association inducted Gill as the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame.
According to Westboro Baptist Church's website, "since 1955, WBC has taken forth the precious from the vile, and so is as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC began conducting peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth. ... Perceiving the modern militant homosexual movement to pose a clear and present danger to the survival of America, exposing our nation to the wrath of God as in 1898 B.C. at Sodom and Gomorrah."