Eric Ethington wrote an account of his experience on his blog about the Sutherland Institutes’s "free" event to the public to kick-off its copy cat project (to the Common Ground Initiative) "The Sacred Ground Initiative" on Thursday night.
The event was advertised as "This free and open to the public" according to a Sutherland Institute press release and post on its website , but it really wasn’t. the organizers were selective in who they let in, despite advance registrations by attendees. Here is an excerpt from Eric’s blog:
….the “gays” were the first ones to arrive at Thanksgiving Point, standing in line in the cold waiting to get in. Once the doors opened, we were shepherded into a long thin tent leading up to the main doors, inside of which was a table to sign in, and about 8 security guards. It was a notable difference from Equality Utah’s “Common Ground Initiative” kickoff event, which was an open-to-the-public, media and all-welcome event. To actually get in, you had to have previously registered with the Sutherland Institute, including providing your home address and email, although they didn’t tell you until afterwards that you were signing up to receive regular mail from them.
Deciding that opposite opinions were not welcome, the Sutherland Institute sent out an email to many of the prominent gay activist leaders in the community (Jacob Whipple and Michael Mueller) in the hours prior to the event letting them know they and their groups were no longer welcome to attend. This went so far as the young man who checked me in apologized for the extra security, saying, “there are supposed to be a lot of bad people trying to get in tonight, so we’re being very careful.” To enforce this decree, they pulled the list of attending people from Facebook, and listed them as banned from the event. Many people, not aware of this change, were actually forcibly removed from the event. Rebecca Huggins, a local single mom who registered well in advance, attempted to sign in with the registration people. Watching closely, she saw them scan down to her name, note a check mark next to it, then was asked to speak to the security guard. “He said I needed to leave immediately,” Rebecca said, “then he grabbed me by the elbow and attempted to escort me out.” Rebecca, who was there not to protest, but to listen and see what the Sutherland Institute had to say, was shocked and in tears after her ill-treatment.
Eric goes on in further detail to describe the event. Much focus was placed on "America" and "God’s Law". Paul Mero, of the Sutherland Institute, even makes a comment to Eric’s post. Read it all here. My comment was this:
I think Dominique is spot on. This whole event and its organization (raving about "God’s law") sounds and looks like this is the Christain version of the Taliban, to wit:
“We do not make laws, we merely distort and twist God’s laws,” so we must do all we can to correct that.
These people do not want civil law, they want "God’s Law". (likened to the "Sharia").
Also, Mero is incorrect in the principles regarding the founding of this country. The preamble to the constitution states that
"we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator "(not "God" as Mero alludes – to an atheist, this might mean their parents) "with certain unalienable rights".
Finally, what about the LDS article #11 in the articles of faith regarding the right of pursuing their worship the way they want (religious freedom) and also acknowledges the right of others to pursue their own religious freedom?
I too respect the rights of EVERYONE to believe in what they want – and WITHOUT persecution. This whole event and the driving forces behind it smack of hypocrisy to the max.