Perspectives: Tolerance? Westboro Baptist-style fracas at Cedar City Jamboree

OPINION – It didn’t take long for the latest culture war against all things religious to come home. Attendees of Saturday’s Cedar City July Jamboree got to see it firsthand.

This popular street festival draws thousands of people to the downtown district each July to admire classic cars, tempting street food and live music.

As I walked along Main Street with my family, I noticed a small crowd gathering near a booth sponsored by a local church. As in previous years, the booth featured a young man preaching a street sermon for the benefit of anyone who wanted to listen.

This year, however, the crowd included disciples of a new brand of tolerance. I heard loud shouting as we drew closer and could see a young man angrily disagreeing with the street preacher.

The fact that someone disagreed wasn’t as shocking as the tone and demeanor of the heckler. The man was furiously berating the young preacher about biblical teachings regarding homosexuality.

To his credit, the young man preaching was keeping his cool as he sought to defend his beliefs and witness to the crowd. He repeatedly emphasized that he was in as much need of God’s mercy as anyone else.

The preacher noted that homosexual behavior is not the only thing that God considers an abomination. He rightly pointed out that a lying tongue and a heart filled with pride are also abominations of which most of us have been guilty.

No one was being singled out for condemnation yet all were being invited to pay attention to his plea for repentance.

It was at this point that the heckler unleashed a torrent of shouted profanity with zero regard for the families with young children in the vicinity. This prompted several in the crowd, including a police officer, to begin asking the man to calm down.

Soon a young woman stepped forward and began waving her arms while screaming her disapproval inches from the preacher’s face. I was grateful that my wife had shepherded the kids on ahead so they didn’t have to listen to the barrage of invective from the social justice warriors.

Hell hath no fury like an advocate for tolerance whose sensitivity has been offended.

Of course, it takes very little to offend those who seek offense for the sole purpose of controlling others. This is particularly true when it comes to matters involving religion.

Tolerance has become a one-way street that insists that religion can only be tolerated when it is silently kept to oneself.

C.S. Lewis recognized this trend long ago:

When the modern world says to us aloud, ‘You may be religious when you are alone,’ it adds under its breath, ‘and I will see to it that you never are alone.’

What was supposed to be a movement to head off the next Spanish Inquisition by separating church and state has become something else entirely. It’s now a purge to punish and silence believers through shouted accusations of hate and the assignment of guilt.

Invigorated by their latest short term cultural victories, the social justice sharks sense blood in the water and are pressing for all they can get.

In the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon, the quest to impose sensitivity now enjoys the full destructive backing of state power. The Kleins were socked with a $135,000 fine and slapped with a virtual gag order for declining to create a wedding cake for a same sex wedding.

Social justice warriors are now openly calling for churches to be stripped of their tax-exempt status to punish those that refuse to accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.

Every belief that speaks to the worth of individual conscience is coming under attack. Anything that ties us to a past where faith and the distinction between right and wrong were held sacred is being systematically erased.

But bullying and spurious guilt trips won’t work forever. The seeds of civil disobedience have been sown and are beginning to sprout. Those who arrogantly presume to control us are at risk of waking a sleeping giant.

For example, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has ordered that a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds be removed. Governor Mary Fallin and the state’s legislature are refusing to comply. Apparently some truths have endured far more than simply the latest fads.

One small act of courage begets others.

Commentator Pat Buchanan wonders publicly, are we seeing the birth of a new era of civil disobedience?

It’s easy to recognize who is being peaceful and who is behaving tyrannically.

Perhaps it’s time to officially adopt as our own Jefferson’s motto: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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44 Comments

  • Pam July 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    As with regards to the bakery – It’s best for readers to get the FULL FACTS on why the Klein’s were socked with the $135,000 there is more to the story than their religious beliefs. Although I doubt anyone will read it.

    http://www.oregon.gov/boli/SiteAssets/pages/press/Sweet%20Cakes%20FO.pdf

    I have to agree that some church’s should be stripped of their tax exempt. When a church becomes a business owning malls, ranches and other businesses for profit, yes they should pay taxes just like any other business. I do not feel they should have to pay taxes on houses of worship.

    It’s time for people to just worry about their own salvation and stop worrying about what others are doing. Ask yourself these questions….How does someone being Gay effect me personally? How does someone marrying the same sex effect me personally? Not your spouse, not your children, not your extended family, not your friends…but you. Do not quote the Bible to me unless you follow it to the letter.

    • anybody home July 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      And when the President of that church is also president of several large corporations, there’s definitely a conflict of interest that should be addressed.

      I agree with Bryan though when he quotes Thomas Jefferson: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

      I hope to live long enough to see the non-Mormons in Utah rebel against the tyranny of the LDS Church because as sure as there’s a brig in Brigham, this tyranny exists in southern Utah.

    • BIG GUY July 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      PAM, your facts are wrong; do a little homework before condemning others. “Although the [LDS] church is a tax-exempt organization, its for-profit entities generate “unrelated business income” that is subject to federal, state, and local income and other taxes.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finances_of_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints
      .
      Abortion effects no one “personally” who is living today. But it is condemned by the Catholic church as the equivalent of murder. You may disagree but are you willing to allow the church to express its belief? Or would you join the screaming protesters at the Cedar City Jamboree if an anti-abortion group were speaking? Many with sincerely held religious beliefs believe state-endorsed same sex marriage is morally wrong and affects society as a whole, including them “personally.” Do you support shouting obscenities at someone exercising free speech rights?
      .
      Brian hits the nail on the head: “Hell hath no fury like an advocate for tolerance whose sensitivity has been offended.” Your “fury” and your opposition to the First Amendment are noted. And as predicted by many, legalizing same sex marriage was never going to be enough. LGBT activists will not be satisfied until everyone openly embraces their lifestyle and all dissent is stifled.

      • native born new mexican July 13, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        Big guy you and I disagree about some things but on this you are correct. Thank you for pointing out facts .

      • Hunter July 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm

        If you (or Mr. Hyde) want to make a sweeping generalization about the course of society based on individual examples, that’s your call. But let’s not pretend that if I pointed to the Westboro Baptists and their tactics, condemned all religious people as a result, you wouldn’t be telling me they don’t represent all Baptists or all Christians. The same is true for the loudmouths at the Jamboree. It cuts both ways…

        • BIG GUY July 13, 2015 at 6:54 pm

          HUNTER, I agree with you. I chose to reply to PAM because she failed to condemn the “loudmouths.” Instead she appears to condone their actions and then, gratuitously, adds fuel to the “loudmouth fury” by advocating taxing churches who don’t agree with her world view.
          .
          Too many “social justice warriors” advocate using government strictures to limit the First Amendment rights of those with whom they disagree, especially if it is a disagreeable church. Perhaps I “don’t get out enough,” but I find few conservatives who advocate restricting liberal voices.

          • Hunter July 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm

            Whether you get out enough isn’t something I can answer, but I will say it seems to me it exists in pretty equal measure on both sides. We just tend to see it through our own lens.

      • Pam July 14, 2015 at 9:26 pm

        Well Big Guy, deep down you must think the LDS church is a business, because I never said LDS there is also Scientology. But as long as you bring it up LDS, Inc makes plenty of money from their businesses.

        LDS members think always thinks it’s about them, geez

        • crunchem July 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm

          Pam – You must have a degree in being coy. You said “When a church becomes a business owning malls, ranches and other businesses for profit…”. That’s an incredibly obvious reference to the LDS Church; don’t even try to tell us that Scientologists own a famous mall or ranch and that you /could/ have been referencing them. Pfffft.

    • laytonian July 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Oh, Bryan Hyde!
      You’re so clueless! You’re complaining about vulgarities shouted at unwanted street preachers AND THEN you stand up for Aaron Klein and his wife? REALLY? Are they your example, Mr Hyde, of a “good Christian” who has been harmed?

      Tell you what. IF that’s your example, then you need to find another religion OR learn to do your research.
      HERE. Read THIS — what Aaron Klein posted on the Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook page. Since they don’t like overweight people, Bryan, this is also directed at you:
      http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/12/fd/12fd87d60f098b72d69fc61ef3a0e192.jpg?itok=O-jVrk-g

      • anybody home July 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

        Laytonian, thank you to the moon for posting this link. Aaron Klein has quite a mouth on him and uses about every x-rated slur in this one, including the most terrible “c” word. Good grief, who’d want to eat anything that came out a place with an owner like this. Sweet Cakes is not exactly Sweet, eh?

      • RealityCheck July 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm

        Laytonian – Please do not believe everything you read on the Internet! I just spent almost 2 hours trying to verify that the link you provided to the (horrible & vile) postings on the Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook page was true and accurate. I could not find ONE single article or even another reference to this post that wasn’t from the examiner.com website. Hmmm… looks a little fishy, don’t you think? If Aaron Klein had made such a disgusting post on Facebook, wouldn’t it be ALL over the media? Wouldn’t there have been a tremendous public outcry? I’ve followed this story very closely and your comment is the first (and only) time I’ve ever read anything about this supposed Facebook post.
        .
        I did a little research regarding the examiner.com website. Wikipedia notes that in 2007, when the Examiner was caught plagiarizing articles & photos, Jim Pimentel, their executive editor, was quoted saying: “They’re blogs. They don’t get edited. We don’t give any direction to people on what to write in their blogs. And that’s standard operating procedure.” Mr. Pimentel also said the Examiner has “a less-strict standard for accuracy and attribution in stories that appear on the Web than for publications in print”. I would say that the examiner.com is NOT the most credible source of information available.
        .
        As for the graphic in the link you provided to the supposed Facebook posting, it is not formatted like a typical Facebook business page – more like a personal page. I could easily re-create that same ‘page’ in Microsoft Publisher in no time at all! The racist, foul Facebook post is clearly a fake and you should be ashamed for posting the link without confirming its validity.

        • anybody home July 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

          Sorry, Reality…here’s a link that describes the post and the next action the Kleins took to remove it from the Internet. By the way, this post went up in 2013, not as a result of the financial judgement against them. This is Mr. Klein’s attitude long before that. Pretty, huh?

          http://gedde.newsvine.com/_news/2013/02/06/16870623-anti-gay-sweet-cakes-by-melissa-posts-racist-rant-on-facebook

          • RealityCheck July 14, 2015 at 8:27 am

            Thank you Anybody Home for absolutely proving my point! The link you provided was to another blog that referenced… you guessed it – the examiner.com article! Look in the upper left hand corner of Geddes’ blog. You’ll see ‘View the original article at’ with a link back to the Examiner. The newsvine.com site is no different than examiner.com. A quote from their About section: “Newsvine puts its users in charge. Community members can publish their own articles, share other interesting links they’ve found…” Just publish and share – no actual verification of FACT! A good reporter will always verify their information using multiple sources.
            .
            The Newsvine blogger also writes that “This is an original report with original screenshots not yet in the media.” This blog post was written in 2013, don’t you think the (real) media would have picked up on it and ran with the story? This screenshot is just another lie that is being perpetuated by social networking sites by people who are too lazy to actually check things out!
            .
            As for the lie that the Sweetcakes Facebook page had been deactivated after the supposed post… sorry that’s not true either. Their page is active and has postings all the way back to 2010. This could be verified easily and quickly, but sadly many would rather vilify a man simply based on lies – that could easily be uncovered. There is nothing in these blogs that ‘proves’ Mr. Klein’s attitude. The blogs only prove that we live in a very, very sad world today 🙁

          • anybody home July 14, 2015 at 9:24 am

            Reality, you seem to think that because it appears on a blog, somebody made it up. Denial isn’t going to get you anywhere. As Canis said, conservatives love to wallow in the role of the victims. And you seem to think that conservatives are not capable of such foul thoughts. Think again and do another reality check.

    • Canis_Rufus July 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      You’re correct. The story about the bakery in Oregon was another lie put forth by the conservative media that feeds the narrative of conservative victimization. Conservatives love wallowing in victim status.

      I saw this grewing up in Utah. Mormons were always being victimized. We were the vocal majority in Utah.

      I’m blessed to have escaped the sharp talons of Mormonism. I can accept I’m not chosen or special. I have my weekends and evenings free.

      Here in our liberal city of Davis the churches cooperate for the most part. The only exception is the local ward. We do see missionaries.

      I see people preaching on the UC campus and in town. No one much cares. It’s seen as being colorfully excentric. It’s theater.

      As for those missionaries. I smile and never let on what I know about Mormonism.

      See Zion Canyon? My ancestor discovered it. He was at Mountain Meadows. He know Juanita Brooks. Kanab? My family settled it. Johnson Canyon was named after my family. Joesph Smith had his way with three of my ancestors.

      • native born new mexican July 14, 2015 at 7:56 am

        Canis the attitude of respect and gratitude ( not ) in you towards the family and community that made it possible for you to be walking, breathing and doing what ever it is that pleases you (what ever that is ) is underwhelming.
        What a waste of so many people’s time and effort. Your’s is a sad story.

        • anybody home July 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

          Disagree…it’s the feeling any of us who’ve come to our senses about Mormonism have. My great-great-grandfather is in the big book of Famous Mormon Men or whatever it’s called. I found his picture. But my family came to its senses and we’re not “chosen” or “special” either. Canis is absolutely right.

  • GaryGuernsey July 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Great fair article. I was with the group who put this on. We were not sponsored by any church. We go to several churches in St. George and Cedar City area. We do not represent any church we are just a body of believers in Jesus Christ. We were there to share God’s Word nothing else. God Bless

    • laytonian July 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Maybe people want to be left along WITHOUT being preached to! There is enough religion shoved down people’s throats in Utah and NO ONE wants to hear your interpretation of God’s “hate of homosexuals”.

      • BIG GUY July 13, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        LAYTONIAN, turn and walk away if you don’t want to listen. Preaching on a street corner is not having “religion shoved down people’s throats.” And contrary to your statement above, Bryan’s report would indicate that SOMEONE wanted to hear what was being said.

      • native born new mexican July 13, 2015 at 7:45 pm

        The activity in Cedar City is what is called a public forum where free speech is allowed. Add to that the group doing the preaching probably paid for the space where they were set up doing their preaching. They were not shoving anything down anyone’s throat. They were in their own almost certainly rented with good money space. Religion is allowed to exist like it or not. I don’t enjoy the loud music that is played at an activity like this but if I want to attend the event I have to put up with the noisy music. Life is not a one way street. The sooner you, Laytonian, accept that the better for everyone who lives in the world around you or do other people not matter to you?

  • mesaman July 13, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    This must have been a difficult article to write, Bryan, and I compliment you on the fair and objective treatment you presented. You will call down the wrath of the PC wolves in the process, but like cold sores or hives they will go away in time. In most cases irritants such as these tend to make the host more resistant to PC whiners. Has anyone ever succumbed to the whining and ranting of the liberals to the extent that they actually changed their attitudes? Your call.

  • Allie July 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I question how people who are so intolerant and hateful can call themselves Christians. Jus’ sayin’…

    • AnotherReader July 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      @Allie, the people mentioned in the article, and the ones who are commenting here in such a hateful and intolerant way, are not the ones who call themselves Christians. You must be confused.

  • Simone July 13, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Yea Mesa. Right. I totally agree. Bryan’s opinion was both fair and objective. Now personally I thought that it more then adequately presented both sides. Honestly Mesa, a fair and objective opinion that equally presents both sides such as this one is so rarely delivered from Mr. Hyde that It reminded me of that time Fox News admitted that it’s been lying all these years. Honestly,Mesa, it’s never happened before. ♥

  • Simone July 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Since Bryan wants to singe out one or two LGBT people at a protest I hope he won’t mind me pointing out of his fellow tea partiers at a protest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbc064Uwax4

    • anybody home July 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      This is great and I think makes the point very well that there are certainly conservatives who are happy to restrict liberal voices and First Amendment rights to prove their own points. Let’s not get too uppity there, Big Guy. It’ll come back and bite you in the keester.

  • anybody home July 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I love the photograph here – the angelic young man and the demonic objector. Nice work, SGN, in creating a visual to inflame. Please, don’t you or anybody else tell me again that the SGN doesn’t agree with Bryan Hyde and he’s just a columnist. Not when I see a totally biased visual like this for the article…Or, wait, maybe the devil made you do it.

  • ScanMeister July 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you Bryan very fair and balanced. God’s Word does offend some people.

    • Simone July 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Read my reply to Mesa above.

      • mesaman July 14, 2015 at 11:32 am

        Maybe everyone is out of step but you. Could you possibly be another liberal whiner?

        • Simone July 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

          Mesaman,

          First of all,. I appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion of my opinion with me. I appreciate the feedback and I thank you for taking the time to make it known to me how you feel. Now that Ive said that, let me add this. If pointing out blatant conservative hypocrisy and/or lies using a mixture of facts, sarcasm and wit makes me a “liberal whiner” in your eyes then so be it. If me pointing out blatant conservative hypocrisy and/or lies using a mixture of facts, sarcasm and wit offends you in some way, then that is your problem. Thank you for your feedback. Have a nice day.

          Regards,

          Simone♥

          • mesaman July 14, 2015 at 9:21 pm

            You got it! YOU are a liberal, democrat whiner. I hope you enjoy your food allowance and welfare check each month and pray you will get the most out of your whining. Have a nice day and remember “I’m a Republican because I work”.

  • SavedByAJew July 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    A snapshot of the ‘fracas’:

    Evangelist: For God so loved the world…

    Heckler: I’m gay and your !#*$! god hates gays!

    Evangelist: No my Friend, God loves you.

    Heckler: No He doesn’t! Your !#*&! bible says I’m going to Hell!

    Evangelist: Friend, Heaven or Hell is a choice we make. In fact the Bible tells us God’s will is that none would perish. You see it’s not sin that condemns us to Hell, it’s unforgiven sin. All of us have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. We’ve each lied, lusted, hated…etc. And because of our sin we all deserve to be separated from our Loving Creator forever.

    Yet because God is merciful He desires to forgive our sin – But because He’s Just our sin must be punished. God will not compromise His character or attributes. A divine dilemma? Not for God, for it was on Calvary’s cross that the Lord’s perfect Mercy and Justice converged. Mankind’s sin debt was ‘Paid in Full’ with the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, the only Son of the only God.

    God’s ‘Gift’ of Salvation is offered to all who repent of their sins and trust in the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross – Only these will have their sin both forgiven and paid for…Only these will be born-again and Saved.

    Heckler: Your *!#@! god is a myth and the !#%&! bible is a fairy-tale!

    Evangelist: The choice is yours my Friend…

  • GrandmaB July 13, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    “Hell hath no fury like an advocate for tolerance whose sensitivity has been offended.” I have to chuckle at the tolerance the writer of this article is exhibiting. What this person is not taking into consideration is the frustration, anger and pent up emotion that these “advocates” have experienced over these issues up until the present. For the VERY FIRST TIME they don’t have to worry about being beaten death for no other reason than they have revealed who they are. For the very first time they can be who they are and not experience terror that someone might find out. Then, to have to sit and listen to the bigotry and hatred that comes from some book by a calm, loving, non-prideful (this is where I lose it) witness who claims to be Christian, while using language like “abomination,” is just too much. “I love you but you are an abomination.” You make a choice to be a bigoted, hate filled Christian. You don’t being gay. I know, there are a lot of folks around that disagree. But, you are entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts. Fact, homosexuality is found through out nature. God created nature. God created homosexuality. God created man the way he is. Take your calm, loving hatred and stuff it.

    • Simone July 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Awesome post GrandmaB. Awesome. Post.

    • BIG GUY July 14, 2015 at 7:36 am

      GRANDMAB, you twist the facts. No one required anyone to “sit and listen.” If you don’t like what’s being said, move on. The two hecklers demonstrated that they were “bigoted” and “hate filled” by their choice of words. Is their language acceptable to you because you agree with their beliefs?

      • anybody home July 14, 2015 at 9:27 am

        Okay, I want to know how many people commenting here, including you BG, were in Cedar City and witnessed this confrontation. If you were not there and are just taking BH’s word for it, that’s pretty suspect. Hearsay evidence is never admissible.

        • RealityCheck July 14, 2015 at 11:06 am

          I’m sorry Anybody but you just contradicted yourself! According to your comment “If you were not there and are just taking BH’s word for it, that’s pretty suspect. Hearsay evidence is never admissible.” Your own words right? But in your reply to my comments about the Sweetcakes Facebook post you tell me: “you seem to think that because it appears on a blog, somebody made it up.” So…. according to your logic, if someone posts something they found on the internet, without verifying where or who it came from or whether it was true or not, that’s not ‘suspect’. BUT, if someone on this board (who may have been there) makes a comment about a documented event that took place in Cedar City, witnessed by hundreds of people, that’s ‘suspect’. You can’t have it both ways, my friend.

          • anybody home July 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

            Busted.

        • GaryGuernsey July 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

          I was there in fact I was the last speaker. I am the older person who actually is dying of cancer. I am at total peace with my cancer as I know for sure where I am going, HEAVEN. My only reason for being there was to share my love for Jesus for saving me and to try to make people understand that I do not want anyone to go thru what I am going thru without Jesus. I agree it is their choice but truth is truth. You can say you do not believe in gravity but jump off a building and you will see how real it is. Just be sure of what you say you believe in. I suggest everyone who is in doubt please read the new testament with the eyes of a child without any preconceived ideas about religion or any organized church group. Jesus loves all of us but it is up to us to accept his gift of grace. We will live for eternity but the choice as to where is up to each person.

    • crunchem July 27, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      Look up the definition of “abomination” in King James English and get back to us if you’re still incensed.

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