GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Famed and controversial minister Louis Farrakhan addressed a packed house at a southeast Grand Rapids church Tuesday evening.
Farrakhan, 86, is the leader of the Nation of Islam. He spoke at True Light Baptist Church, which hosted the event after it was cancelled at the Fountain Street Church.
Recent public visits from Farrakhan have been held at Fountain Street, but this year, the church decided his ideology didn’t fit with a change in church policy.
“As much as we value free speech we are now equally committed to defending the equality and dignity of all people, including women and those in the LGBTQIA community,” the church said in a written statement. “These are contrary to some of Minister Farrakhan’s professed values.”
Farrakhan made a couple of glancing mentions of the church’s decision during the event at True Light. While condemning homosexual behavior, he referenced being “locked out” of a church without mentioning Fountain Street Church by name.
The change didn’t seem to impact turnout. Hundreds filled the pews and greeted the minister with a standing ovation.
Farrakhan delivered remarks on a wide ranging list of topics that included politics, global warming and violent crime.
“Mr. Trump?” he said, making his only mention of the president. “Do you know your role in prophecy?”
When speaking about violence, he denounced black-on-black crime and said it was angering to God.
“You, the people of God? And you hate each other so much?” Farrakhan said.
On multiple occasions, Farrakhan mentioned climate change. He lauded Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist who addressed the United Nations with impassioned remarks about global warming.
“Little Greta Thunberg,” Farrakhan said. “She can’t figure out why climate is messed up. It’s because judgment has come!”
Farrakhan referenced Hurricane Dorian that ravaged the Bahamas earlier this month. He said the natural disasters are a response from God.
“The chastisement of God has already begun,” Farrakhan said.
The event was heavily secured with representatives from Farrakhan’s expansive entourage seen stationed blocks away from the church. Attendees had their bags searched and went through pat-downs before being allowed to enter the sanctuary.
Farrakhan has been the source of numerous controversies over the years. Some have suggested that the Nation of Islam is a hate group and criticized Farrakhan’s ideology as racist, anti-Semitic and harmful.