MUG SHOTS: Hecklers arrested at Lakewood Church

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Six people were escorted out of Lakewood Church in southwest Houston Sunday morning for heckling senior pastor Joel Osteen.

Video shows the people being escorted out of the former sports arena amid cheers. Osteen is seen at the pulpit saying, "Thank you all for your patience and we'll just continue to receive what God has for us. It's a good day to be alive."

Twitter user Anwar Richardson posted on social media, "Crazy scene. Sixth person ejected from Lakewood Church by police and security."

"The praise and worship was good. His wife had just delivered a quick message. And the moment he started to preach, somebody gets up and they yell "Joel Osteen you're a liar,'" said Richardson.

Richardson shot the video of a security taking one of the hecklers out. You can hear the congregation clapping as Osteen attempts to move along with his sermon, ut the disruptions continued.

"After the sixth time that it occurred, my son was sleeping in my lap, and I looked at my wife and she was nervous and we just decided we have to get out of here," said Richardson.

And they weren't alone.

"He (Osteen) kept on going. He kept his composure. He really got the message out and he said no weapon formed against me shall prosper," said another witness. "So kudos to him for delivering a good service."

Richardson, who is visiting with his family from Austin, says thoughts of the Charleston massacre ran through his mind.

"All I could think of is you don't know what's going on, and I just can't wait to find out, so I've gotta get out of there," he said.

Lakewood Church spokesman Donald Iloff Jr. tells Eyewitness News the hecklers were all with The Church of Wells. They were asked to leave, but refused and that's when they were escorted out.

A Lakewood member with whom we spoke says no one is sure what they were protesting, but it may be related to last week's Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

According to HPD, all six were charged with criminal trespass.

On Monday, Lakewood sent Eyewitness News the following statement:

    We've learned that the protestors who disrupted one of our Sunday morning services were the leaders of a small controversial church in Nacogdoches, Texas called The Church of Wells. This group is known for protesting many Christian Churches with whom they don't agree. The six protestors were arrested by Houston Police and are being charged with criminal trespass. Lakewood Church takes the disruption of our services seriously and plans to pursue criminal charges, as well as all other legal remedies against these individuals and the Church of Wells.

    A significant number of Lakewood's ushers and security team members are Police and Sheriff's officers who attend Lakewood regularly. These officers were efficient and quick in responding to the situation and, along with Lakewood's leadership will continue to be vigilant in the security and protection of Lakewood Church and its members.

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