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Sunday, May 21, 2006

BREAKING: Antioch Bible Church participates in Eyman's "Referendum Sunday"

Ken Hutcherson's Antioch Bible Church was a participant in this morning's "Referendum Sunday" petition drive to legalize discrimination against people of different sexual orientation, NPI has learned.

Sources demonstrated to NPI (see the images below) that a large folding table was set up outside of the Lake Washington High School gymnasium, where the Antioch Bible Church meets for Sunday services, to allow members of Hutcherson's congregation to sign petitions for Referendum 65 as they exited the building.

Referendum 65 Close Up

An organizer was also distributing petitions to congregation members for circulation, along with instructions. According to our sources, the organizer made a point of asking congregation members to sign the back of the petition, and when asked when they were due back by, was quoted as saying "We'd prefer to have them back by June 1st". (June 6th is the deadline for Eyman to collect signatures to be turned into the Secretary of State's office).



It is difficult to estimate how many other churches besides Hutcherson's participated in this morning's petition gathering activity. The Seattle P-I reported yesterday that Eyman was hoping for 5,400 or more churches to take part in an organized petition drive this morning.

According to our sources, after about twenty minutes, interest in the petitions dissipated and the organizer was left alone behind the table with only a few individuals nearby.

It is unclear whether Antioch [which is registered as a 501(c)(3) charity] violated any rules or regulations by facilitating the collection of signatures for Referendum 65 on public school property (specifically, the Lake Washington School District's property).

But whether it's legal or not, it's still an outrage that government facilities are being used in a campaign to legalize discrimination against large groups of American citizens.

NPI will have additional photographs available shortly.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of additional photos (thumbnail images only):

Additional Photographs

The first image, on the left, gives a better perspective of how the table was set up. Note the carboard box filled with Referendum 65 petitions, outlined by a white rectangle. The image to the right shows an Antioch Bible Church trailer parked nearby, with the tagline "Black & White In a Grey World".

UPDATE II: KING 5 aired a report tonight about Eyman's "Referendum Sunday" showing footage from Westgate Chapel in Edmonds, where the pastor (Alec Rowlands) could be seen and heard urging members of his congregation to sign Referendum 65 in his sermon/speech during the service.

Protestors could be seen demonstrating outside the chapel.

The report also showed parts of a video distributed by "Sound the Alarm", a group distributing DVDs to evangelical churches across Washington State. According to KING, a concerned-looking woman says on the video, "Your child could have a cross-dresser for a teacher and there's nothing you can do about it."

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