Two men were arrested after tensions escalated at an event held the evening of July 13 in Salem, Ore. by The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP). Present at the event were counter-protesters, the Proud Boys, and Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
“CNN contacted me today to ask about what happened in Salem,” said Ken Peters, pastor of The Church at Planned Parenthood, in a post on Facebook. “It was nuts. While we were worshiping at Planned Parenthood on Tuesday Night… Pastor Greg Locke came up to me and pointed at a large mob of leftists coming towards us…The Salem police described it, ‘they arrived carrying bats, paintball guns and armor’. DID YOU GET THAT… A leftist mob coming after singing Christians praying for the end of abortion with Bats, Paintball Guns and Armor!!! The world has gone mad with evil.”
The Church at Planned Parenthood on July 13
Ken Peters pastors a church in Washington called Covenant Church, which has campuses in Spokane and in Moses Lake. He founded The Church at Planned Parenthood in October 2018 and, as the name suggests, members meet outside of Planned Parenthood facilities, where they hold worship services. At its inception, the church met primarily in front of the Planned Parenthood in Spokane, but now the group travels to Planned Parenthood facilities throughout the country.
TCAPP states on its website that each of its meetings is “NOT a protest,” but is rather “a worship service at the gates of Hell.” The site explains, “The Church at Planned Parenthood is a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust.” You can read more about TCAPP here.
Pushback from local authorities and a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood has not stopped the church from continuing to meet. A post advertising Tuesday’s event, scheduled for 6 p.m., said that Peters and Pastor Greg Locke would be guest speakers. Locke is known for promoting conspiracy theories and for making inflammatory statements, such as when he referred to former vice president Mike Pence as “Judas” or said that President Biden is “demon-possessed.” Locke also made headlines this past Easter for telling his congregation to remove their “stupid masks.”
A news release from the Salem Police Department (SPD) about Tuesday’s incident said:
Just before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, between 50 and 70 people were in attendance for the protest billed as The Church at Planned Parenthood at 3825 Wolverine ST NE. Within the large group were approximately 20 individuals dressed in Proud Boys attire, apparently acting as security. Some of these individuals carried visible sidearms, paintball guns, bats and body armor.
At approximately 6:20 p.m., a group of about 40 counter-protestors arrived on foot carrying bats, paintball guns and armor.
The Proud Boys are a controversial group that got national attention during one of the presidential debates leading up to the 2020 election. During one of those debates, Biden asked Trump to denounce white supremacists and named the Proud Boys specifically. In his response, Trump said, “Stand back and stand by.” You can read more about that story and the Proud Boys here.
SPD explained that officers trained in crowd management, known as the Mobile Response Team (MRT), were on hand to monitor the gathering due to the fact that “recently confrontations have escalated” at TCAPP events, which “occur with some regularity.” The statement continued:
An initial scuffle between opposing groups occurred early on, yet MRT officers were able to intervene to separate those involved. As the team became outnumbered, an emergency request for additional law enforcement resources was issued. Other Salem Police patrol officers and Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies quickly responded.