A Roman Catholic "priestess" looking to slip President Obama a note expressing opposition to marriage equality was forcibly removed from a press area set up at LAX prior to Obama’s flight out of Los Angeles on Air Force One.
The May 28 incident involved Brenda Lee, reportedly a columnist with Southern newspaper, an article posted at NBC Los Angeles said.
The article said that the Georgia Informer, the paper Lee claimed to work for, is published on a monthly basis, and that the paper does include a column written by someone of that same name.
Lee had been looking to hand the president a letter but was told that she would need to give it to a member of the White House staff, which she declined to do.
Lee was quoted in the article as saying, "I said, ’I’ll take my chances’" in hopes that Obama would pass near her.
Lee said that she was a "priestess" with the Roman Catholic church, a denomination that does not allow women to be priests. She indicated that her attire at the time of the incident included a priestly "cassock," the article reported.
A May 28 Orange County Register article noted that Lee, who said that her column is on religious topics, made the claim that there are 60 Roman Catholic priestesses worldwide, and that she was affiliated with a Fullerton church called St. Julianna’s.
The article quoted St. Julianna’s priest Father Paul Gins, who described Lee as a parishoner there and a "well-meaning person."
However, said Fr. Gins, Lee "does not represent the church.
Added Fr. Gins, "We do not recognize women priests, and haven’t for 2,000 years."
The article said that Lee asserted she had suffered discriminatory treatment because of her stance against marriage equality and because she was a female, rather than a male, priest.
Lee also expressed the opinion that one of the White House staff with whom she spoke may have been gay.
A column by a Brenda Lee posted by the Georgia Informer rails against marriage equality and declares that "...Rev. Lee speak[s] for GOD," adding, "Her credentials out weigh that of [Pope] Benedict XVI and every other Christian, or religious leader in the world."
The text of the column adds, "They have not heard the VOICE of GOD and they do not have the gift of prophecy or healing.
"None are willing to meet [Lee] face to face and call upon the name of GOD, as of the days of old because they know that she ranks with John the Baptist and Saint Peter."
Another column, from 2004, excoriates a Catholic priest for refusing to recognize a female priest or give her communion.
"That same priest knew nothing of the tsunami, the Iraq War, mudslides or any of the disasters before they occurred; he gives COMMUNION to child molesters and worse; yet, he is qualified to judge a female based on gender alone," the column states.
"He should ask himself if he is worthy to be a priest. He has a brain, but he does not understand. He has ears, but he does not hear; eyes but he does not see."
That column offered thanks to God that an earthquake had not struck California and talked about the state’s impending destruction in 2006.
A red-lettered advisory at the head of the column informed readers, "This editorial does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Georgia Informer staff."
The NBC Los Angeles article said that security escorted Lee out of the area, but she returned; Lee said that she was given permission to return, but she was once again asked to leave.
"I said, ’I’m not leaving,’" Lee told the Associated Press.
"They tried to drag me out."
As can be seen in an AP photo, security did not simply drag the priestess away from the area; they picked her up and carried her.
Said Lee, "I was afraid you could see under my clothes."
Obama was in Los Angeles for a DNC event that took place in Beverly Hills.
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