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Crackdown on Christians: Philadelphia

Imagine you woke up one morning to discover that, in your city, singing a hymn or reciting a Bible verse in public was a criminal offense.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon,
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Imagine you woke up one morning to discover that, in your city, singing a hymn or reciting a Bible verse in public was a criminal offense.

Michael Marcavage doesn't have to imagine it. He lives in Philadelphia — a city that has, for the sake of "gay rights," imposed one of the harshest "hate speech" regimes in North America. Peacefully opposing the advancement of sodomy can land you in prison, if you do it in Philadelphia.

Marcavage and three of his friends face felony hate crime charges that could net each forty-seven years in prison. Charges have been dropped against another six of the original "Philadelphia 11," with one juvenile in the group removed from the case.

Police arrested the eleven on October 10 (see Marcavage led the peaceful protest against a homosexual street fair called "Outfest." On December 14, a Philadelphia judge ruled that the prosecutor could proceed with the case.

"Do I expect to go to prison?" Marcavage said. "I didn't expect to be prosecuted so aggressively, so why should I expect not to go to jail? The prosecutor calls us hateful and disgusting people; the district attorney says the Bible is hate speech, and they're out to make an example of us."

"The real story here is the silence of the city's clergy," said William Devlin, founder of the Urban Family Council of Philadelphia. "I know how many pastors in this city will step up to defend Marcavage. None!

"There is a collective spirit of fear hanging over this city. Right now, the gays own Philadelphia. Michael Marcavage is in a very bad place."

Why no public controversy?

"The whole Christian Church in Philadelphia has been silent," Marcavage said. "People don't know how to respond to the homosexuals' aggression. The gays' mission is to criminalize Christianity in America. What happened to us in Philadelphia has been swept under the carpet."

Until the criminal trial, Marcavage and his organization, Repent America, have been banned by the court from coming within 100 feet of any homosexual event in Philadelphia.

"Right now," he said, "the city's position is that it is a criminal offense, a hate crime, to confront homosexuals with hymns and Bible verses. The city says we were 'intimidating' a crowd of homosexual militants."

The Christians will be defended in court by an attorney from Tupelo, Mississippi: Brian Fahling of the American Family Association's Center for Law and Policy. Marcavage has also retained a local criminal defense lawyer, Scott Shields.

"Over the last ten years," William Devlin said, "I've been to pastor after pastor in this city, trying to get them to put pressure on the elected officials who've been pushing the homosexual agenda. They're all afraid to speak up. They're like the frog in the kettle: they've sat there in silence for all this time while the gays kept turning up the water temperature. Now it's come to a boil, and they're still in the pot."

Philadelphia's political leaders, he said, present themselves as born-again, evangelical Christians while energetically promoting "gay rights" at the expense of Christianity.

As an example of this, he pointed to the city's first "LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender] Inaugural Gala" in January.

As reported in the Philadelphia (, the keynote speakers at the homosexual fund-raiser were the former Philadelphia mayor and current Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, and the current mayor, John Street — both of them clad "in matching blue feather boas." The event raised $100,000 for Philadelphia's homosexual campaign and was attended by city politicians representing both the Democratic and Republican parties.

"In his two terms, Mayor Street has done nothing but promote gay rights," Devlin said. "And the city solicitor, Nelson Diaz, who's busy now suing the Boy Scouts to force them to accept atheists and homosexuals as scout leaders, busy pushing for gay marriage and more hate speech laws — he's another one who says he's born again. He was chairman of the Billy Graham Crusade in Philadelphia."

Diaz chaired the Billy Graham Crusade in 1991–92, according to his resume (

How did Philadelphia, the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution, become a Christian-clobbering homosexual dystopia?

The answer is a long one that will be addressed in the next article in this series.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon

Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.

Lee has his own blog at

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