Police create barricade as homosexual activists protest Focus on the Family conference at Baptist church in Boston (courtesy: Christian Civic League of Maine)
Enraged homosexual activists, shouting obscenities and chanting “Shut it down,” amassed outside a Baptist church in Boston to harass and intimidate attendees of a Focus on the Family conference on recovering from homosexuality through the power of God.
The protesters – present from 8 a.m. Saturday until the event ended in the evening – yelled, screamed and defiantly waved signs at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, prompting police to order conference participants to remain inside, reported Article 8 Alliance, a group campaigning against same-sex marriage. As the conference began to wind down, Article 8 said, more activists converged – aided by a sound truck – and completely blocked the street, prompting a “near-riot” as Boston police continued to stand and watch.
“The anger, rage and hatred were indescribable,” said one conference participant, according to a report by the Christian Civic League of Maine.
Protesters amass outside Boston church (courtesy Article 8 Alliance)
Article 8 used the term “terrorize” to describe the protest.
The activists’ boisterous chants included, “What do you want? Bigots out. When do we want it? Now,” “1-2-3-4 open up the closet door. 5-6-7-8 don’t assume your kids are straight,” “This hatred thing is getting old. This hatred thing has gotta go,” “Ex-gay, anti-gay” and “Not in Boston, not in America.”
The protesters reportedly were joined during the day by participants in an anti-war rally on the Boston Common.
Coffin set up outside Boston church (courtesy Article 8 Alliance)
Last week, a homosexual group called QueerToday.com said it planned to join forces with another group, the Stonewall Warriors, to form the “October 29th Coalition” and protest the conference as activist Cindy Sheehan led the anti-war rally nearby: “For us, Focus on the Family and the Bush war machine march in lockstep every day against the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender) community and all oppressed people of the world.”
On its weblog after the protest, QueerToday.com ridiculed Article 8’s “over-the-top coverage” of the protest, but expressed obvious delight in the impact.
The twighlight of the Right’s twenty-five year reign of terror is quickly approaching. This protest is probably the largest confrontation [Love Won Out] has experienced, and hopefully our example will inspire others to take similar stands against them.
We will continue to hold homophobes accountable for their actions, regardless of what kind of sugary, sing-songy voices they say “God loves you” in. Yes, God loves us, but they don’t. Love isn’t about what you say. Love means justice. Using the State to punish gay and lesbian people for not conforming to their Neo-Victorian values is not justice. Spreading lies so that people will see queer people as sick is not justice.
According to Article 8, some of the activists went up to individual conference participants, took close-up photos and taunted them. The homosexual demonstrators also set up two coffins in front of the church, one with the message “Homophobia is deadly.”
Police block entrance to church as conference continues (courtesy Article 8 Alliance)
According to Boston officials, the protesters did not have a permit to demonstrate outside the church, use sound equipment and props or block traffic. Police, nevertheless, stood aside and virtually allowed the demonstrators to do as they wished, Article 8 said.
“At times they even cooperated with the activists, chatting with them, directing traffic for them and finally allowing them to completely block the entrance,” said the group’s report. “The police department later informed us that there were no arrests, despite the near-riot behavior and the apparent breaking of laws regarding demonstrating without a permit and disrupting a religious event.”
Article 8 complained police were abrupt and unfriendly toward attendees. One woman asked an officer about the sound truck that was disturbing the conference inside.
“I asked a very curt, unfriendly policewoman why they weren’t getting the truck to move on the road, why they were letting it just sit there, and she snarled there was nothing they could do,” the woman said.
When police were asked if the demonstrators had a permit, they refused to answer, Article 8 said.
The all-day conference, titled “Love Won Out,” featured well-known lecturers, including many who have left the homosexual lifestyle and married.
Protester’s sign outside Baptist church (courtesy Article 8 Alliance)
Article 8 said the situation became “frightening” near the end of the conference when activists “jammed the entire width of the street outside and stepped up their agitation.”
Rather than disperse the crowd, the police barricaded the church doors and told people inside they could not leave for any reason, Article 8 said. When one woman asked why she couldn’t go outside, the officer snarled “Because I told you so.”
Bag lunches were brought in at the last minute.
According to one conference participant, speaker Joe Dallas, a former homosexual activist, wrapped up the conference saying that while he wanted the demonstrators to have their freedom of speech, the one thing that frightened him was when they began yelling “Shut it down.”
Our freedom of speech is at risk when that happens, Dallas said, recounting other stories of ministers worldwide who have been squelched by activists.
Article 8 said the Boston media virtually ignored the story.
“Could you imagine if this were an abortion clinic and pro-life people did such a thing outside?” the group said in a statement. “The riot police would be swinging their billy clubs and using pepper spray. They would do whatever it took to disperse the crowd. And it would be on the front page of both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, as well as all the Boston electronic media.”
Police chat with protesters (courtesy Article 8 Alliance)
The group said that when it has organized demonstrations in Boston involving more than a few people, authorities have required a permit and, if using a sound device, an additional special permit. Police also have had the authority to place the demonstrators where they believe it’s “safe.”
In a demonstration earlier this year at the Supreme Judicial Court building, Article 8 said its members were placed across the street, in a specific area of the sidewalk, well away from any building entrance, and “police became quite nasty if we ventured outside of our designated area.”
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