Protester Disrupts Church Service
WASHINGTON (AP) _ An AIDS protester shouting from the balcony disrupted Easter Sunday church services attended by President Clinton, his wife and daughter.
Two Secret Service agents sitting in a pew directly behind the Clintons jumped to their feet and shielded the couple after a man yelled, ″Save your prayers for Bill Clinton 3/8″
The disruption occurred about midway through the service at the Foundry United Methodist Church, breaking the silence immediately following a reading from the New Testament.
Clinton later said he was not bothered by the disruption. The same protester interrupted a Clinton speech in December, prompting the president to say then, ″I’d rather that man be in here screaming at me than having given up altogether.″
The Clintons took advantage of the bright, warm Easter, eating brunch at a riverside restaurant after the church services. Returning home, they posed briefly for the White House photographer for a family portrait. Mrs. Clinton wore a two-piece lavender suit with a matching hat; Clinton wore a grey suit. They were accompanied by their daughter, Chelsea, and one of her friends.
″On this day when families gather together and worshipers attend church services, we hope for a stronger sense of community in this great nation,″ Clinton said in an Easter statement released last week.
The AIDS protester, who calls himself Luke Sissyfag, also shouted, ″Where’s the Manhattan Project ... for AIDS?″ referring to Clinton’s campaign promise to mount a federal AIDS program of that magnitude. ″Bill Clinton lied 3/8″
Sissyfag created a similar disturbance last December during a Clinton speech at the Georgetown Medical Center on World AIDS Day. He also heckled Health Secretary Donna Shalala and Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders at AIDS Day evengs.
Sissyfag, who was with another man who was not identified, was led out of the church by parishioners. Secret Service spokesman Dave Adams said Sissyfag agreed to go to the agency’s offices for questioning and would not be detained. ″No threats were made against the president,″ Adams said.
The disturbance lasted only 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately afterwards, the minister, the Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, said, ″Let us pray for this young man,″ and continued the service.
The Clintons were spending Easter in Washington, ending a 10-day vacation, most of which was spent in Southern California. The president was heading off again Monday on a five-day, six-state trip - away from his Whitewater woes.
But their first order of business Monday was to be the traditional Easter egg roll and hunt for hundreds of youngsters in the back yard of the White House.
The Clintons then planned to split up for baseball’s opening day. The president was throwing out the first ball in Cleveland, attending opening ceremonies at the Indians’ new park, Jacobs Field.
Mrs. Clinton was hurling the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. A longtime Cubs fan, she was at her dying father’s bedside last year and missed opening day.
The president planned to end Monday in Charlotte, N.C., watching his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks play Duke for the college basketball championship. He was spending the night in Charlotte, and beginning a hectic health care promotional tour Tuesday.