Fringe religious groups are planning a protest for the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in a few weeks.
Operation Save America (OSA), a group that’s made a name for itself by opposing the LGBT community and trying to stop abortions, is leading 40 Evangelical churches in protest of Democrats at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, a 20,000-person venue.
OSA refers to Democrats as the “Party of Death” and has said of the convention “Thousands of anarchists, agitators, fascists, ad nauseam, will be filling the streets of Charlotte looking to eat their own.”
The protesters’ event is titled “Charlotte 714,” a reference to 2 Chronicles 7:14 that reads “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” US News And World Report has more details on the group’s plan during the convention:
In the 40 days leading up to the convention, Charlotte714 is calling for all participants to fast, which Benham says can consist of consuming only water, or of fasting from sweets and soda as well as television, texting and emailing after 5 p.m.
And when the convention begins, Charlotte714 hopes to give each convention delegate a “small gift,” initially intended to be North Carolina pralines. After the convention nixed the plan as a security risk, [organizer David] Benham says every delegate will instead get a welcome letter in their hotel room offering prayer or aid.
OSA is not a traditional religious organization, and its tactics are questionable. The group’s leader, Flip Benham (father of the David Benham quoted above) uses the group’s website to recount stories of harassment, including interrupting the service of a gay bishop to condemn him for being a “sodomite.” It is also full of missives about Charlotte’s sound ordinances that stop the group from loudly protesting.
Flip Benham was also found guilty of stalking a doctor who provides abortions (“Please pray for Flip tomorrow,” reads one blog post. “He is to appear before three judges at the Charlotte School of Law to appeal his ‘guilty’ verdict for stalking.”)
A representative from Charlotte 714 reached out to ThinkProgress to clarify that Operation Save America will not be participating in the event. While it is true that Flip Benham’s son, David Benham, is the event’s organizer, the representative made very clear that the younger Benham is not acting alongside, or as a proxy to, his father “whose only involvement with the event is that of a supporting father,” according to Benham.