The Christian rock band Switchfoot has had protestors from a pentecostal group yelling and sneering at them for the last few shows on their 'Fading West Tour', and lead singer Jon Foreman is concerned that his fans might return the group's anger in kind.
In an opinion piece he published yesterday on the Huffington Post, Foreman call on his band's fans to remember that even the protesters are God's children too, and act accordingly, just like he plans to do.
"All at once I had an epiphany: these puzzling creatures that are yelling at you are human souls -- as unpredictable, perplexing and unpredictable as I am," he writes in the piece.
He goes on to say that he is in hope that the protesters will find their "true song".
"I want his true song to sing out," Foreman said. "above the cacophonous din that he's echoing now. Above the yells -- above the hate and anger and hurt. Yes, I have to believe that his true song is better than that. "
And, according to videos on YouTube, the protesters are definitely capable of producing quite the din.
As the video begins, Chris LePelley of Open Air Ministries is shouting angrily into a bullhorn at people preparing for the show.
"Christian rock is not holiness, you can't have the things of the world and the things of God mix them together and call it Christian!" Lepelley yells, "if the Lord be God serve Him, if Switchfoot be God then serve Him."
Lepelley has condemnation for anyone willing to listen, and he has his followers video recording the spectacle with their cellphones. He goes through a list of sins, and proclaims that everyone entering the building is a sinner and destined for eternal hell for some reason or another.
"There's not going to be a lot of Christian Rock in Hell, just a lot of Christian Rock lovers," he says.
At one point, Foreman approaches the demonstration to try and give the angry group a peace offering in the form of water.
"The Bible says to love your enemies," he is heard saying as he extends the water, which is not accepted.
Immediately, one of the larger members of the gang is seen screaming and pointing in Foreman's face. Foreman, however, kept his composure and went on to tell everyone protesting that he loved them and appreciated them.
"You don't know love sinner," the large confrontational man yells in Foreman's face. "You wouldn't know love of God if he used a hellfire preacher to smack you upside the head with it, sinner!"
Other people try to engage the protesters, but to no avail. They are verbally attacked and driven away like Foreman.
For his part, Foreman wrote in his post that he loves the protestors, and prays for them.
"These people might say that they are against what we do and who I am, but I refuse to be against them. I refuse to protest protestors(sic). I will not be opposed to the opposition. I will not antagonize the antagonist, nor hate on the haters," he writes. "I am not at all against them -- in fact, I am for them. I am rooting for them, praying for them. I honestly love them! They are flawed, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless people just like me."
After a concert in Baton Rogue earlier this month that the protesters attended, as he is generously known to do, Foreman performed a few songs acoustically on the streets outside the venue for fans that wanted a little more. Even after the vile treatment at the hands of the protesters, Foreman still promotes love.
"I have but one debt," he says." Which is to love them."
After addressing the group gathered around, he sang the yet-to-be-released, "All of God's Children".
Switchfoot's next performance will be tonight in Providence, RI., at the Fete Ballroom.