The dreaded Make America Straight Again (MASA) Conference is finally here. Today through Sunday (June 14-16), Revival Baptist Church, which is part of the New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (NIFB) network, will be a hub of hateful, anti-LGBTQ+ preaching during Pride, in Clermont, Florida, a suburb of Orlando.
We’ve become aware of an organized counterprotest to the conference and although it was not organized by those behind the NIFB Cult Movement, we want to remind anyone who attends, that peaceful protest is highly encouraged. Recently, Pastor Tommy McMurtry from Liberty Baptist Church in Rock Falls, Illinois, delivered a sermon in which he prayed that protesters at MASA would “get violent” and reminded his congregation that “they have Stand Your Ground” in Florida.
Protest is a critical part of societal change and progress and it is a legal right of all U.S. citizens. However, we encourage anyone who plans to attend this or any future protest to do so peacefully. Your safety and the safety of those around you is of the utmost importance. The NIFB is a cult known for being armed, known for being violent, and known for their desire to rid the planet of all LGBTQ+ people.
Before you decide to attend this, or any other organized protest, make sure you do your research and that you are prepared:
- Know what you are walking into. Make sure you check out the group that is protesting to ensure they have a history of non-violent protesting or contact the organizers to verify their intent.
- Do not trespass or vandalize property. Also, cooperate with all instructions from the police.
- Don’t physically or verbally provoke people. Chants and other demonstrations are common at protests, but engaging others aggressively can put you and those around you in danger. Maintain a safe buffer distance from those you are protesting for the safety of everyone involved.
- Don’t throw things at people. Nothing good comes from doing this. Even if you were to throw something totally innocuous at someone, it leads back to the second tip: don’t provoke people.
- Remain calm. Protests and counter-protests can be highly charged and emotional environments. Remind yourself why you are there, what your goals are, and how what you do at the protest will impact them.
- Know when to leave. If things start getting violent, leave. Do not engage in violence. It’s better to live to fight the good fight another day.