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Friday, February 29, 2008
WND Omits Facts on Group Arrested at Gay Event
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article uncritically repeats claims about a group of Christians, led by street preacher Julian Raven, arrested at an, in WND's words, "event celebrating homosexual behavior" in Elmira, N.Y. The article states:

At issue is the arrest of several Christians at a "gay pride" event is Wisner Park in Elmira in 2007. Julian and Gloria Raven and several others entered the park to pray silently for the participants of the event celebrating homosexual behavior.

[...]

"It seems oxymoronic to say that by walking silently in a public park, with heads bowed, these people somehow disturbed the peace," [Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel Joel] Oster said. "From the sit-ins of the 1960s to today, courts have repeatedly ruled that the police cannot arrest those who peacefully express their message in public places."

While the facts of the case make it seem relatively minor, the ADF said the issue is nothing less than the United States' freedoms of speech and religion.

[...]

[Raven] said his team of Christians then went into the park, and they were arrested within three or four minutes.

He said if the situation is left unchallenged, the city of Elmira will be in the position of being able to control the content of people's messages in a lawful assembly – or even thoughts if they are nearby.

"We didn't say boo to a goose, still we were arrested," he said.

[...]

"Obviously, they caused a disruption to an event that was taking place," [Assistant Police Chief Mike Robertson] said.

But Raven confirmed to WND the Christians did not approach a single person, did not speak to anyone and did not even make any audible statements until after they were arrested.

But WND failed to include one important fact that contradicts Raven's assertions that he wasn't causing a "disruption": As we noted when WND columnist Janet Folger similarly distorted the facts about this story, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported that Raven's group did its silent praying directly in front of the stage, thus backing up Robertson's assertion that the group "caused a disruption." Further, the newspaper reported, the protesters were quickly released and returned to the event, though not in the park -- another fact that doesn't appear in WND's article.

This kind of factually deficient coverage follows in WND's tradition of painting any group of Christians that disrupts a gay event as, by definition, innocent and omitting facts that make them look bad.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EST

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