A Muslim prayer service held at a landmark Christian church in the U.S. capital was interrupted on Friday by an anti-Islamic protester who loudly proclaimed the name of Jesus before being removed from the premise.
Reuters reports that Christine Weick, 50, interrupted the dozens of Muslims who knelt on prayer rugs below walls of stained glass and stone archways in an invite-only prayer service:
"Jesus Christ died on that cross over there," she shouted. "He is the reason why we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior."
She continued, "We have built, and allowed you here in mosques across this country. Why can't you worship in your mosque, and leave our churches alone?"
Shortly after the outburst, Weick was physically removed from the prayer service by a reverend and cathedral police.
Since 1907, the Neo-Gothic Episcopal church has been used for state funerals for three presidents, and a number of presidential prayer services in addition to hosting services for noted diplomats and dignitaries.
Organizers said they hoped the service on a Friday, when Muslims traditionally gather for prayers, would help grow interfaith understanding and tolerance.
Later, Weick explained that while she loves Muslims, she just does not believe they should worship in Christian churches.
"God has a love for them," she told the AP. "He does, 'God so loved the world.' That includes Muslims. I have a love for them. They are a beautiful people. Most of them are very kind."
"However, for those that say this is a country of freedom of religion, then I say let's play fair," she said. "Let us have a Bible study in their mosque. Let me pass out the Bible tracts at their mosque instead of having the police called out on me. Why can't Franklin Graham go into the biggest mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, and hold a prayer vigil on Easter Sunday there? They will not allow it because they are not tolerant of us. They wanted nothing to do with Christianity."
Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, also took to his Facebook page on Thursday to criticize the plan to host the gathering.
"It's sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6)."
Weick is encouraging Christians to take a stand for truth, warning that there is an ongoing battle between good and evil.
"We need to warrior-up, take on the whole armor of God, we got the helmet of salvation, we got the sword, we need to start fighting and quit compromising. When does the complacency stop? When? When they are completely taking over? When sin has completely eradicated the Bible in every aspect? When we can't even preach from the Bible anymore? That's my concern for the American church because eventually we are not going to be able to get the word out there because it's not going to be allowed and we are headed out that way.
"When are we going to stand up and fight? I don't think God meant for His people to just lay back and do nothing."