WASHINGTON — 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!"
The disruption occurred about midway through the service at the Foundry United Methodist Church, breaking the silence immediately after 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. Hillary Clinton wore a two-piece lavender suit with a matching hat; Clinton wore a gray suit. They were accompanied by their daughter, Chelsea, and one of her friends.
The President later proclaimed today a "National Day of Reconciliation," in honor of the Easter season, Passover and the 26th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"We must remain a nation that is not too cynical to restore hope, not too frightened to face our problems, and not too intolerant to seek reconciliation," he said in the proclamation released by the White House.
The AIDS protester identified himself as Luke Montgomery and later told authorities that he had legally changed his name to Luke Sissyfag, Secret Service spokesman Dave Adams said.
During his outburst, he also shouted: "Where's the Manhattan Project . . . for AIDS? Bill Clinton lied!"
He referred to Clinton's campaign promise of a federal AIDS program similar to the effort that produced the atomic bomb.
The protester, who was with an unidentified man, was led out of the church by parishioners. Adams said he agreed to go to the Secret Service's offices for questioning and would not be detained.
"No threats were made against the President," Adams said.