Megachurch pastor encourages 'common ground' with abortion activists protesting outside church

Cedar Creek Church
A sign sits outside the entrance to Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg, Ohio. |

Abortion activists protested outside an Ohio megachurch on Sunday following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The church's pastor encouraged his congregation to use the event as an opportunity to demonstrate Christ's love to the protesters. 

Demonstrators gathered outside the Perrysburg campus of the multi-site Cedar Creek Church on Sunday. As WTOL-11 reported, protestors held signs criticizing the Christian perspective on abortion, explicitly calling for the church to clarify its stance on abortion. 

The demonstration comes as protests have continued nationwide since the nation's high court overturned the 1973 ruling that made abortion a national right and returned the issue to the states to decide. Some protests have involved acts of vandalism against churches and pro-life pregnancy centers. Many attacks began before the court announced its ruling, taking place after the leak of a draft majority opinion published in Politico on May 2.

The event at Cedar Creek Church was organized by Brandon Abernathy, who claims that Christian churches have too much influence on the Supreme Court.

In a Sunday statement published by the CBS affiliate, Abernathy said the "root of the problem" in the country right now is "religion overstepping and bleeding into our government." 

Regarding Cedar Creek, the organizer feels the church has not spoken out enough on the abortion issue. 

"We're targeting megachurches, specifically," he said. "It's not just the Catholic Churches, although the Catholic Churches 100% are a part of the problem. It also has to do with the megachurches who are not being definitive on where they stand."

The Catholic churches have become a prime target for vandalism as the Catholic Church has "affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion" since the first century.

In a video directed at church members Thursday, Pastor Ben Snyder said that the church received a notification Monday evening about the protest. Snyder sat down with the organizer of the event to try and "build common ground." 

Ultimately, the church could not allow the protestors on its actual property. The demonstrators stood on public property near the church instead. Still, Snyder encouraged the congregation to "remain gracious." 

"We have an opportunity to bring a little contrast to the narrative that they're used to, and hopefully God might use that to play a role in changing their perspective about the Church but ultimately about who He is and how much He cares about them," Snyder said. 

St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston, Virginia, was one of the first churches vandalized by abortion activists shortly after the Supreme Court released the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Images shared by Washington, D.C.-area Fox News affiliate showed the words "This won't stop" spray-painted on the bottom of the church's roadside sign. 

The church building was also defaced with graffiti that said "Separation of Church & State," which the staff washed off. The Fairfax County Police Department commented on the vandalism in a June 26 statement.

"Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded at 6:45 Sunday morning to a call for smoldering mulch at the St. John Neumann Catholic Community Church," the statement said. "Fire and Rescue personnel detected an accelerant was likely used in the fire and observed graffiti spray-painted on a sign at the entrance of the church. Officers found three additional locations on the back of the building damaged by graffiti. The remarks spray painted were related to the recent Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling." 

Before the court's ruling, the Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Boulder was vandalized twice with graffiti messages that included "Abortion Saves Lives" and "My Body My Choice." 

In recent weeks, at least five churches across Wisconsin were vandalized with graffiti. 

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