Editorial note: While some readers may find the following content trou- bling, the standards of the Kootenai Journal require its publication. The purpose of the Kootenai Journal is to provide residents of Coeur d’Alene with information they may need to rule their lives. Because the United States has a constitutional federal republic form of government, it is necessary for citizens to be informed of public events so that they are able to choose their representatives wisely. In many ways, the press is like the intelligence agency of the citizenry. In the way in which it would be unbecoming of an intelligence agent to withhold information from the President or to slant it according to his own views, the Kootenai Journal must present coverage of local events to the reader for his consideration.
News Article: The day started overcast but gradually became bright, and colorful attendees could be heard cheering from a distance in response to the host, a man in drag on the stage. Many local businesses sponsored booths at the event including Kootenai Clinic, US Bank, Dan English, Potlatch Credit Union, Safe Passage, and Fostering North Idaho.
Around the fringes of the events were protestors, some with signs and some carrying high-powered rifles. There were other groups engaging in what appeared to be mostly friendly if personal, conversations and handing out Bibles.
On Saturday, multiple groups of people gathered in the Downtown Coeur d’Alene area. Driving into the downtown area, there were police gathered between the Coeur d’Alene and the Human Rights building. On the street corner, a handful of people were gathered to protest the Pride in the Park event in the Coeur d’Alene City Park. Further to the east in McEuen Park, a number of conservative groups were gathered.
One group consisted of about thirty Catholic devotees who were kneeling on the grass in front of the Coeur d’Alene City Library. With them, they had a crucifix and a red flag. In unison, they were praying through the rosary.
Jack Phillips, who led the event, said that the group of Catholics gathered “together to pray the most holy rosary of the blessed virgin Mary,” and “to pray publicly, to make an act of reparation for sins committed in our country and in our state and in our town. That includes things in our [personal] lives, and in the public lives that we all lead.”
After the end of the rosary meeting, Matt Shea led another group of christians on a prayer walk around local government and cultural buildings beginning at city hall and moving to the CDA Press offices and then the county government buildings.
In the Coeur d’Alene City Park, Pride in the Park supporters were gathered among several tents set up near the stage. At the edge of the park, a number of people were promoting Christian literature that was apparently antithetical to the pride event.
One of the supporters summed up what the gathering in the park meant to him: “I’ve lived in North Idaho for most of my life and I notice it’s a very con- servative Christian area. I was closeted my whole life and honestly, it’s time to take Idaho back. Like I see, I see a group of neo-Nazis demonstrating across the park from us, and I just want to show up to show them that Idaho does not belong to them. It belongs to all people.”
On the main stage, a middle aged man was leading a “drag show.” He was dressed in a blue dress and spoke in an effeminate accent. He invited performers onto the stage. The performers (primarily men dressed as women) entered the stage and lip synced to music that was playing over loudspeakers. During their performances, most of the men moved their bodies suggestively, removing various layers of clothing.
One of the men brought a young child with him onto the stage with him as a part of his performance in which he removed a layer of the dress he was wearing. During the course of the performance, the MC mentioned that one of the performers was “sexy.”
The audience seemed to contain a large number of women and girls. Directly
in front of the stage, a gaggle of teenage girls stood seemingly overwhelmed by the spectacle, screaming and thrashing about, almost uncontrollably. Many of the girls were eager to pass the performers bills, although the MC asked the audience to cease the practice because of how onlookers might perceive it.
One protester near the event told the Kootenai Journal about her experience in the Pride community:
“I used to struggle with same-sex attrac- tion. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. I was pretty liberal, espe- cially in my twenties.. .I had this same-sex attraction. It would rise up at different times and be stronger at different times in my life, but it was all connected to wounds and things like that. And when I was in my twenties, I had started going to a Spanish speaking church and they preach the truth there. And. . . the pastor said it was a sin. . . . I was driving to work one morning and I said, ‘Lord, if this isn’t what you want for me, if it’s not your way, then I want you to take it away from me, ‘cause I can’t do it myself.’ And I went to work that day and that strong feeling lost, it wasn’t totally gone, but it was mostly gone. And then within six months it was totally gone and I haven’t had that comeback.”
Later in the afternoon, police arrested thirty-one individuals who had come from all around the county. They were dressed in sunglasses and wore white masks over their faces. The group was found in the back of a Uhaul truck according to the Sheriff of Kootenai County.
Representative Todd Engel said that he had a chance to talk with the men in a post on social media. According to the post, the group told him they decided to come
to the park instead of going on a hiking trip at Glacier National Park. The group said that it was not racist, but were concerned about the destruction of American culture.
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