Chelsea, New York City
If the Foundations Conference thought they could hold an antigay national gathering Dec. 13 at a Christian fundamentalist church in the center of Penn South housing in Chelsea and get away without protest, they got a rude awakening.
A Penn South local LGBTQ+ organization quickly pulled together a protest, which got support from lower Manhattan’s groups, including Act Up. The group’s leaflet asked Chelsea residents, “Did you know that there’s an evangelical church housing a right-wing homophobic, national conference right in the middle of Chelsea?”
Probably few Penn South residents had known that this conference was taking place. Some who found out from the leaflet came to the protest at noon on Dec. 13. Many more residents now know that the church doesn’t just distribute food.
Workers World spoke with Trudy Rudnick, one of the organizers of the protest. “When my wife and daughter and I moved here to Penn South, I breathed a sigh of relief. This is a neighborhood that made a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ people.
“It was a shock to find out that the Foundations Conference was holding a national meeting of right-wing fundamentalist pastors to discuss how to hold sermons. Some of the main speakers are really an affront to the gay community.
“One, Curtis Knapp, even advocated death for gay people. There is also Alan Benson, the CEO of Bob Jones University — which made the list of the worst campuses for LGBTQ+ youth. He’s speaking here. We’re really angry about this. They’re not going to get away with it without a protest.”
And they didn’t.