Once again some of Great Falls’ most prominent pseudo-Christians are leading the charge against First United Methodist Church. The church’s offense? Allowing homeless people to exist on their property. Even worse, the church has allowed homeless people to shelter themselves from Montana’s weather in tents. The latter is simply too much for some of the God-fearing folks on the city commission. They want their homeless people quietly unhoused, and without any shelter whatsoever. Why would anyone need a tent in this temperate paradise anyway?
Rather than addressing poverty, increasing affordable housing, or creating a low-barrier shelter, the city sees fit to spend our money on a lawsuit that very likely violates the First Amendment. For those in the cheap seats, the First Amendment says:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Now before folks start screaming about CRIME! DRUG USE! And SCARY HOMELESS PEOPLE! Please remember that crime of any kind is not allowed on First United Methodist Church property. The homeless in the church parking lot are subject to the same criminal laws we all are, and the church has never tried to argue otherwise. Nor is this lawsuit in regard to those concerns. The city is going after the church using zoning rules, in an attempt to claim that those tents themselves are illegal.
I, for one, am doubtful that the petty crusade of commissioners like Tryon to further displace the homeless trumps the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment. Rather, the city is opening themselves up to significant liability and the possibility of a costly counter-lawsuit. I can’t help but wonder what kind of resources we could provide for our unhoused community members if we chose to spend our money on harm reduction measures rather than suing one of the only churches in town that genuinely serves the poor.
If you’re a Christian out there pondering “What would Jesus do” take it from your friendly local Atheist, taking tents away from the homeless is NOT the answer.
Pride Month is upon us and rainbow capitalism is at its finest. For 30 sunny days every June stores are suddenly swathed in rainbow. Companies are inundating our socials with messages or equality and love.
Visibility is incredibly important, but remember dear readers that Pride was a riot. In the spirit of love, equality, and Queer joy, consider ditching that overpriced rainbow hoodie from Walmart and supporting your local LGBTQ+ community instead.
Here’s your guide to Pride happenings in Great Falls:
June 11- Pride Picnic! 11am at Gibson Park. BYOP (Bring your own picnic basket!)
June 12- Pride Worship 7pm Gibson Park. Join the opening and affirming GF churches to celebrate Pride. Hosted by Central Christian Church
June 19- Pride Night at Centene Stadium. 4:00pm. Join the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center for the city’s very FIRST Pride Night with the Great Falls Voyagers. Tickets available at the GF LGBTQ+ Center for $10.
June 24- TOTALLY GAY! 80s Prom. Hosted by the GF LGBTQ+ Center, the annual gala is a crucial fundraising event for the Center, helping keep the doors open for another year. Featuring local catering, local performers, a dj, and plenty of dancing! Tickets available here:
June 25- Pride Patio Party 8pm at the Kellergeist. Featuring music by DJ Nosight. No cover charge!
Who Needs Truth When You Can Sensationalize?
Earlier this week, KMON Radio decided to share “BREAKING NEWS” about the transfer of Reverend Jeff Wakeley to a new church. Rather than do any research or follow basic tenants of journalism, KMON opted to sensationalize this transfer. KMON wrote that they were “unable to confirm” if the transfer was related to the city’s pending lawsuit against First United Methodist Church for helping the homeless. (That sentence is astounding, no matter how many times I type it). It appears a basic google search is outside of the investigative tools of KMON. A quick look at the Mountain Sky Conference shows dozens of upcoming transfers. In fact, four-year transfers are the norm. Far from “breaking news,” this transfer is routine. Despite being provided this information, KMON has yet to update their post to reflect the truth of the matter. Perhaps KMON is more concerned with Likes than accuracy? Come on, KMON. You can do better than this.
A mere 19 votes decided the House District 23 primary last night. Establishment candidate Brad Hamlett lost out to candidate Melissa Smith. The city’s only Democrat primary race was an incredibly close call. Hamlett previously served in the State Senate from 2009 – 2017. Hamlett appears to have neither a website nor a current facebook page. Perhaps Hamlett was relying on his name recognition to breeze through the 2022 primary. Whatever the strategy, Hamlett lost out to Smith receiving 300 votes to Smith’s 319.
Other big winners of the night include Democrat Monica Tranel for Montana’s 1st District House seat. Tranel beat out primary opponents Cora Neumann and Tom Winter, garnering 34.853 (65%) votes. Representing Democrats for the 2nd District House seat, Penny Ronning won with 20,017 (58%) votes, beating out Skylar Williams and Mark Sweeney. Although Sweeney passed away before the election, his name remained on the ballot. Shockingly, some Democrats encouraged others to still vote for Sweeney, thus allowing the Democrats to call a convention. All respect to the friends and loved ones of Sweeney, but suggesting folks vote for a dead man rather than the living female candidate or Indigenous candidate was not a good look for Democrats. Ronning now faces a tough battle against incumbent and seditionist Matt Rosendale.
Moving into the general election in November, Democrats will need big turn-out to flip Montana back to its previous-purple splendor. Congratulations to last night’s winners!
All election results taken from: electionresults.mt.gov