Democratic Socialists Protest ‘Fascists’ at Cornerstone Church
Demonstrators returned to Bank Street Road in Batavia, opposite Cornerstone Church, on Sunday to protest against an event planned for next Friday and Saturday which a spokesman said gave fascists a platform.
“A lot of people have come together as a very big, again, as a hodgepodge of different endeavors that are all people who want the same thing – which is that the RAT (ReAwaken America Tour ) not be in Batavia and for places like churches not to support fascism,” said Mount Morris resident Lauren Berger.
She said people who have been speakers at previous ReAwaken America events have supported fascist ideology and should not be given the opportunity to spread that ideology.
She said that was why she and other members of the Democratic Socialists of America opposed the same event being held in Rochester. Pressure on the owner of the Armory is what led to the event being cancelled, and it was later booked into Batavia when Pastor Paul Doyle agreed to host the event at his church.
“We had told Arsenal not to allow this type of event, not to give these people a platform for their hateful ideology,” Berger said. “And not to elevate that as a valid point of view. And it’s not, it’s not, you know, low, conservative taxation. It’s, you know, (saying) that LGBTQ people more and their allies should be executed for treason “They’re peddling COVID conspiracies and election denials, and myths about George Soros, and just all kinds of stuff that’s not a valid place for discourse in our society. This is not a valid point of view. It is not an equal and opposite side. “
While Berger expects some kind of Batavia opposition event at the Cornerstone event, she said she doubts it will take place on Bank Street Road, opposite the giant white tent which is expected to accommodate 3,000 people. She cited the limited space along Bank Street Road and security concerns for counter-protesters in close proximity to those attending the event, which she sees as a threat to engage in violence.
“The thing about fascism is, you know, everybody here who resists fascism would be happy if the fascist went home, and just didn’t make this event and kind of give up those opinions,” Berger said. “A fascist won’t stop until those who stand in his way are dead. So the security risk is quite significant.”
In previous interviews with The BatavianPaul Doyle, senior pastor at Cornerstone Church, said the event was to be religious, and not at all what protesters claimed.
“We fully support this event and have decided to host the ReAwaken America Tour,” Doyle said. “We see this as a Christian congregation addressing the many issues facing Americans, providing a biblical perspective.”
Tour organizers will meet with local law enforcement to discuss “safety procedures” on Monday or Tuesday, Doyle told The Batavian Sunday.
For previous coverage of the ReAwaken America Tour in Batavia, click here.
Photos and video by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service. Interview conducted by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service.
Editor Joanne Beck contributed to this story.