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Vince Gill confronts Westboro Baptist Church outside Kauffman Center

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013, at 1:02 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013, at 6:36 p.m.


Count Vince Gill among the Americans who find the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church rather insufferable.

The country music star, apparently perturbed to find that his Sunday concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts was the focus of a demonstration by the notoriously anti-gay church, went outside to confront the group.

“I came out here to see what hate looks like,” Gill can be heard saying in a video of the encounter that was posted to YouTube.

His presence seems to surprise the group initially, though members quickly began peppering him with questions about his marital history. The group chose Gill as a subject of their ire because the musician married Amy Grant after his marriage to Sweethearts of the Rodeo’s Janis Oliver came to an end in 1998.

“What are you doing with another man’s wife? Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery?” a woman asked. “Jesus Christ said that.”

In the video, Gill and the protestors talk back and forth briefly.

“Are any of you guys Phelpses?” Gill asks at one point, referring to the church’s leader, Fred Phelps. “Or are you, like, the C team?”

Although it’s unusual for visiting musicians to acknowledge the church during its pickets, routinely held outside high-profile Kansas City concerts and events, it’s not unprecedented.

Members of the group Foo Fighters ventured outside and serenaded the church’s protesters during a 2011 concert at the Sprint Center. And in July, One Direction’s Harry Styles referenced the group in a tweet after the church’s members showed up at the band’s Sprint Center concert toting their usual signs.

Watch the video below. Warning: It contains some salty language.

To reach Dugan Arnett, call 816-234-4039 or send email to darnett@kcstar.com.

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