CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Supporters of an Indiana minister who was suspended for calling organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement “maggots and parasites” walked out of a service and shouted at a bishop who ended his remarks with the words, “Black lives matter.”
The counterprotesters Sunday at St. Elizabeth Seton church in Carmel, Indiana, were opposing the suspension of Rev. Theodore Rothrock. After Bishop Timothy Doherty said “Black lives matter” at the end of his opening comments, one woman shouted “You’re a coward!,” before she was escorted out.
“Black lives matter!” chants were met with chants of “Go Father Ted!” during the demonstration called the “Gathering for Equality, Justice and Healing.” Counterprotesters argued that Rothrock was speaking the truth, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Rothrock was suspended on Wednesday from public ministry by Doherty for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to “maggots and parasites” in a recent church bulletin.
By 11 a.m. on Sunday, protesters and counterprotesters went from church grounds to the sidewalk, communicating their respective messages to passing cars and church attendees.
A group in support of Rothrock said their goal was not to engage with other groups but to have a presence on the church campus throughout the day.
“We feel that Father Ted spoke out in truth, and we’re to peaceably pray in support of all lives,” Jill Metz, who organized the group said. “This should not be about Black lives. All lives matter. All lives.”
Kathy Cohenour, an Indianapolis resident, said she was horrified by Rothrock’s remarks. She held a sign during the demonstration that read, “Racism is not a Catholic teaching.”
Cohenour said she’s been taking part in social justice movements since the 1960s and is thankful that the next generation continues to fight.