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Protesters oppose ReAwaken America Tour coming to Batavia next month

The event was originally booked in Rochester at the Main Street Armory, but after community backlash that venue backed out and it was rescheduled in Batavia.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Several pastors from Genesee County organized a protest against an event coming to Batavia next month.

It's called the "ReAwaken America Tour" and organizers say it focuses on conservative family values, freedom and faith.

Critics say it could draw extremists to Western New York.

The event was originally booked in Rochester at the Main Street Armory, but after community backlash that venue backed out.

Now the Cornerstone Church in Batavia has agreed to host the event.

The decision did not just upset the community, but some clergy members too.

"You might be thinking this is gonna be great revival for your church, but for our community it's gonna bring people that are coming with a lot of fear and anger and they're gonna kind of fuel that sense of division," Rev. Dr. Roula Alkhouri the pastor of Presbyterian Church said.

"Hate has no home here. We do not want Genesee County to be a foothold in the white supremacy movement and insurrection as a way of solving any issues,"  Loren Penman, an organizer of the protest Saturday said.

Cornerstone Church Pastor Paul Doyle provided the following statement:

We are fully behind and resolved on our stance to host the ReAwaken America Tour. We see this as a Christian-based event addressing the many issues that face American people - offering a biblical perspective. We feel compelled to host this event because of the many highly respected Christian speakers that are scheduled over this 2 day event.

We can not speak for any groups or individuals that are protesting it. We can only speak for ourselves. Although there have been voices of opposition, the support for the event, pouring into our church, has been overwhelming, not only locally, but nationally as well. In addition, we have made every precaution within our power to ensure a safe and secure event within the immediate proximity of our property.

We have had dialogue with local police including the Genesee County Sheriff's office fully cooperating with their instructions. We have also connected them with top security officials representing the organizers of the event.

On Saturday, I met with several local clergy that had expressed some concerns about the event. Although we had some different political perspectives, it was a very pleasant and productive conversation. We will be meeting with some representatives from the Jewish community early next week as well.

I feel the event has been over politicized and over dramatized. Speakers and attendees are law-abiding and patriotic citizens of the USA. Although there are many issues occuring in our country that are hotly debated, I have found no reasonable rationale for cancelling this peaceful assembly of Americans exercising their 1st Amendment of freedom of speech.

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