Politization of Local Law Enforcement Leads to Arrests of Peaceful Pride Protesters
On June 24, a group of pro-family activists were arrested for peacefully protesting a “Transqueer” Pride Parade in Rome, Georgia. Brad Barnes, one of the members taken into custody, spoke about his experience in a recent podcast, describing his bruised wrists that still hurt from the police officers’ aggression.
The kicker of the entire story is that the group was doing absolutely nothing wrong. They were protesting on private property, where they were allowed, holding signs with phrases such as, “Make Rainbows Great Again” and “No Pride in Sexualizing Children” and weren’t bothering anyone when the cops approached them. After moving the group from their original location near the march out to no-man’s-land, the law enforcement officers gave them a “five-minute dispersal order,” then arrested a handful of them thereafter. They even arrested folks standing nearby who were part of the citizen press — simply for associating with the demonstrators.
Barnes noted, “The highest-ranking police officer handling the events of the day was apparently very in favor of this event. … The police department is on the payroll of Transqueer pride.” His group was not the only group experiencing violations of their rights by the Rome city cops.
The first protest of the day was by a church group, led by Reverend Austin Goggins, and they experienced similar infringements. The church’s First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly were violated when they were relocated by the police — despite standing in the exact same place at the parade the year before. They were moved to a position across the river away from the location where the main events of the day unfolded, which completely defeated the purpose of their protest.
The reason that so many people felt the need to show up and oppose this Pride parade was the explicit targeting of children. Barnes described some of the events at the parade. “You had middle-aged men doing sexualized dances for children … being tipped by children as if they’re strippers. … Sex toys being sold in a public park at the eye level of children. … Females walking around bare-breasted.” He referred to the participants as “child-groomers.” The entire parade was gruesome and inappropriate, and believers from around the region felt called to stand up for what is right.
Protestors wondered about the underlying agenda of law enforcement, since their actions seemed to openly favor the LGBT activists. Others mentioned the conflict of interest, since these policemen were paid thousands of dollars to provide private security for the event. Barnes believes that the officers’ actions were politicized, and it impacted their group’s ability to exercise their freedom of speech.
“If such rights violations and politicization of law enforcement against conservatives can go on in a small town in Georgia, then it can go on anywhere,” Brad told The Washington Stand. He wants to spread the word about the concerning events that took place last month in Rome in hopes of encouraging other Christian conservatives that are fighting the good fight to not be discouraged.
We read the words of Jesus in John 15:20, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” This type of resistance to the truth has been predicted in the Word of God. We know that as Christians who engage the culture, we will experience hate and hardships, but that should not dishearten us or hinder us from continuing to fight with endurance for what is right.