Hate group disrupts Clark Park Music & Arts Festival (updated)

Posted on 17 July 2017

Photo by Yoni Kroll.

UPDATE (7/19/2017): According to additional witness reports, the religious group that showed up in Clark Park on Saturday is called Christian Interviews. The group is based in Philadelphia and is led by “Pastor Aden”. Read this article about how the same group disrupted “I Heart UD Day” at the University of Delaware.

An unidentified religious group disrupted the biannual Clark Park Music & Arts Festival on Saturday, holding signs and shouting anti-gay, anti-Muslim and other slurs, according to witnesses. In an approach reminiscent of Westboro Baptist Church, even children held signs.

“[The group] had some Westboro-style signs that listed many different things that would send just about any person to hell,” said West Philadelphia resident Suzy Subways. “One man [in his] 30s was the most aggressive, and he was wearing a shirt that said, in huge letters, ‘YOU WHORE’ with a giant pointing finger, and a hat that said ‘Repent, you HO!’ A small child was sobbing in their midst and none of them comforted him.” 

A similar crowd was spotted in Rittenhouse Square in December 2016, according to West Philadelphia resident Ava Minelli. She has also seen them in University City on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. And in May, a Philadelphia-based religious group disrupted “I Heart UD Day,” an annual event held at the University of Delaware.

“I’m concerned that some residents might say we should just ignore them. I think they are dangerous, even though they are ridiculous,” Subways adds. “They harassed a Muslim woman at the University of Delaware, according to the dean of students there, and they’ve been harassing patients at Planned Parenthood, so I think if they are not made unwelcome in our communities they will do whatever they can to hurt our neighbors who are most vulnerable to their brand of hatred.”

Danielle Corcione

17 Comments For This Post

  1. Tara Broadway Says:

    They were also at the Bastille Day event because they had Drag Queen shows. 🙁

  2. Sonia Says:

    What are some good ways for bystanders to stand up to groups like this? Is it a good idea to alert the police, for example?

  3. Lux Says:

    There are very few good reasons left to call the police these days…

  4. Josh Says:

    This happened way after the festival ended. What about the wild horses that are always at the park on the weekend? Unlicensed and uninsured to operate a pony show. They won’t leave the park even after we called cops 3 times. They have 1 yr olds on full adult horses that are erritated.

  5. Michael Lynch Says:

    Anybody get their license plate numbers?

  6. Michael Lynch Says:

    Oh wait! The police were there. Good.

  7. zebra64 Says:

    The remaining people could have encircled them and nonviolently sung or chanted something loud enough to disrupt the disruption without being sucked into the negativity.

  8. Gonzo Says:

    Hate group? The Dead Milkmen are a band not a hate group. Their songs are all humorurs and nobody should take them THAT seriously. They put on a great set and are still connected to this neighborhood. I know this was a totally family friendly event. I could have did without so much swearing from the singer. I mean, he really did not have to use so many curse words to describe things that he could have been more adult about. I guess I just mean, please be sensitive to EVERYONE and not just about having a good time at someone’s expense.

  9. AC Says:

    The worst part was that they had their kids there. They brought their kids to incite a riot. My brother tried to talk to the the kids and he said they were shaking and really scared and just kept telling him he needed to repent. What they are doing to those kids is child abuse. It broke my heart.

    The best part was when the guy on the motorcycle pulled up and revved his engine so no one could here what the jerk on the megaphone was saying.

  10. Another AC Says:

    I have the utmost respect for Rodney Anonymous’ exercising his First Amendment rights. I was *hoping* they would sing VFW. My kids did not suddenly start dropping the F bomb because they attended a Dead Milkmen show Finally, I acknowledge I may have been baited into this comment, but I had to speak up for my beloved Dead Milkmen.

  11. Hello! Says:

    Do people seriously believe the police should have been involved in this?

    There’s a pesky thing in the First Amendment (via the Fourteenth Amendment) that prevents the police from regulating speech, even (and particularly) when that speech is offensive to those who are subjected to it.

    I understand people being upset by these clowns, but anyone who thinks this is a matter for the police needs to pump the brakes; free speech is a pretty fundamental part of our democracy.

    And what do horses have to do with anything?

  12. Tardy Says:

    Pastor Aden and Saint James

  13. Jodie Says:

    These are Evangelical Christians who are trying to intimidate Americans into believing and joining in their manifesto against anyone who reject Christianity. Their goal is to 1. Change the Constitution to disallow foreigners and 2. Turn America into a strictly Christian Nation – don’t change, deport from this country. These fanatics are dangerous, and they want no one in this country but Whites. Well, they’re in for a good surprise and a huge fight in court.

  14. Tardy Says:

    James (the guy with the Oakleys) is a self styled Saint. He may be awaiting anointment. I’m awaiting Preparation H. Now we’re talking MIRACLES. Aden is a Pastor. God blessed him with a uniquely inflated sense of self worth. Less so folicaly. Lord works in Miss Terious ways.

  15. Larry Stevens Says:

    @Jodie – I’d like you to know that most evangelical Christians have nothing to do with the nonsense that went on at Clark Park. A lot goes on under “evangelical” that has nothing to do with the Bible or Christianity. I am an evangelical, have been for over 40 years. I don’t know and have never been around any evangelicals who want to change the Constitution to exclude foreigners or turn the US into a Christian nation. Any who do are a lunatic fringe disavowed by mainstream evangelicals who are disciples of Jesus. Also the evangelical church I’m a part of has more non-whites than whites. Please don’t lump all who call themselves evangelical into the same boat.

  16. zebra64 Says:

    Those who think that clueless fools such as these are the true enemy have probably been living a fairly privileged existence. We may someday look back with nostalgia at having no more pressing concerns than these to deal with.

  17. Tardy Says:

    Larry, thanks for the testimonial. These guys just seem annoying like a pesky fly. I saw Saint James and Pastor Aden attempting to disrupt the fun at the NFL draft weekend events on the parkway and I asked a devout christian who was observing if in fact Christians believe that Saint James and Pastor Aden represent the embodiment of Christ and are vessels here on earth to spread his word and if so, is Jesus really that ugly on the inside. She told me that she felt that Aden and Saint James may have been seduced by Satan and are bamboozled. Saint James also had a pretty distinct odor about him at both rallies. And I don’t mean just animal feces.

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