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Mars Hill Mega-Church Welcome Wagon

On Sunday October 16th, a group of 20-30 antifascists and allies gathered at SE 32nd Avenue and Taylor Street to oppose the opening of Mars Hill's Portland branch. Demonstrators carried banners with statements of support for the LGBTQ community and maintained a presence in front of the church throughout the service. As church attendees exited the building, demonstrators held a dance party with the aid of a portable sound system and chanted, "Homophobes get out of here! Pro-Choice! Pro-Queer!"
On Sunday October 16th, a group of 20-30 antifascists and allies gathered at SE 32nd Avenue and Taylor Street to oppose the opening of Mars Hill's Portland branch. Demonstrators carried banners with statements of support for the LGBTQ community and maintained a presence in front of the church throughout the service. As church attendees exited the building, demonstrators held a dance party with the aid of a portable sound system and chanted, "Homophobes get out of here! Pro-Choice! Pro-Queer!"

The vast majority of passersby were supportive of the protest. Some neighbors expressed concern with the neighborhood association's failure to effectively deal with the church's arrival in SE Portland, especially in regards to the safety of the area's queer residents. A few neighbors offered criticisms about the protest itself, however the overwhelming majority of community feedback was positive.

Mars Hill is a misogynistic, homophobic, evangelical megachurch founded by Mark Driscoll in Seattle, Washington. Driscoll's charismatic persona and lively combination of pop culture references and "Radical Reformism" proved to be a dynamo combination for tapping into a new vein of pierced and tattooed recruits. His tiny flock first met in his living room in 1996 and swelled to a membership of 1,000 by 2003. It now boasts 12 branches in four states. The original Seattle branch alone was reported to have an attendance of 3,500 people per week in 2006, and numbers have grown since then. There are congregations of Mars Hill specifically devoted to "converting" queer people, encouraging them to suppress their sexuality and live a straight lifestyle. The newest church outpost here in Portland aims to change the sinful ways of the Rose City: namely the city's Left-wing, feminist, and pro-queer culture.

Mars Hill is of particular interest to Rose City Antifa because of its extremely conservative social agenda wrapped in a stylized package that appeals to activist youth, specifically targeting young men. Mars Hill has been successful in growing its ranks through its laid back, faux-rebellious image, underpinned by rigid authoritarian values and a hierarchical, patriarchal structure. Pastors utilize social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to provide a constant stream of church messaging to their followers, and promote a series of Driscoll's online sermons to broaden their base of support in a franchise-like fashion. Driscoll's style of sermon, peppered with humor and slang, appeals to a hip, younger audience that may be put off by stodgier, traditional church services. His casual, conversational demeanor, however, belies the intolerant, hard Right foundation of Driscoll's teachings. The version of "God's Kingdom on earth" that Mars Hill is explicitly interested in creating is one in which women are subservient to men and homosexuality is banned.

These ideas are hateful and dangerous. As rates of queer teen suicide and queer-bashings demonstrate, ideas have real world consequences. Religious organizing can create political and ideological space, in the case of Mars Hill this includes the dehumanization of women and queer people. We do not think it is wise or safe to let Mars Hill gather numbers and continue their agenda of creating a theocratic society. Mars Hill follows in the neo-Calvinist tradition of the new evangelical movement, the activist Religious Right, that grew out of the anti-choice movement and developed into a powerful conservative force. This type of theology teaches that its adherents should be actively fighting for a Biblicaly fundamentalist world. Mars Hill does this in a new way that is appealing to a new audience, one they have come specifically to Portland to reach. We urge others to stand in opposition to Mars Hill and in solidarity with women and queer people.

Full article is available at: rosecityantifa<dot>org

We are always interested in any and all information on fascist and racist organizing in our community. Contact us!
Email: fight_them_back@riseup<dot>net or Voicemail: 971.533.7832

homepage: homepage: http://rosecityantifa.org
phone: phone: 971.533.7832


No tolerance for religion cult! 18.Oct.2011 13:34

Damos(A)

Good for YOU! Support and solidarity 100% Fuck this church. And their cult leader is verging on becoming the next David Coresh. This video shows just how unhinged he really is.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cI5GxM4f50

say what? 10.Nov.2011 08:11

andrea

Way to label someone! Arn't you fighting for equality? Rights for being different than the norm? Yet you are being oppressive to a quiet non-violent group of people? You need to get your head on straight before you can actually create change within your community. Stop attacking other people for who they are.

An Abomination (final edit) 30.Nov.2012 09:14

Hannah Friedlander

An Abomination

You can't be a queer and also a Jew;
you must choose for yourself
between one of the two.
Don't quarrel with me;
I didn't make the decree --
it's in the sacred Torah,
in the Book of Leviticus,
Chapter Eighteen, Verse Twenty-two,
which says
"A man shall not lie with another man
as he would with a woman;
it is a to'eva" -- an Abomination.

Being a queer
isn't a choice --
it's a matter of Nature and birth;
while being a Jew is a choice
one can make, or reverse.
You can't be a queer
and also a Jew,
because the Torah
has prohibited you.
Fuck the Torah
and Judaism too;
I'm gonna do
what I want to do.