(RNS) — A Tennessee Baptist university has canceled a contract to host an anti-masking, anti-important race principle celebration that includes controversial pastor Greg Locke.

Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, was scheduled to host the final party on the “Freedom Matters” tour, which characteristics Locke, anti-important race principle activist and hoaxer James Lindsay, conservative radio converse show host Alan Keyes and other speakers.

“If you’re drained of the perpetual masking, health care privacy invasions, indoctrination in educational institutions, or election integrity becoming compromised in this article is your opportunity to stand and be counted,” reads the site marketing the tour, which was arranged by Tennessee Stands, a conservative activist group that opposes COVID-19 constraints and mask mandates.


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But soon after Lisa Herod, a Union graduate, organized a petition versus the event, Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver introduced on Thursday (Aug. 12) that the contract to host the celebration was canceled.

“Given what has occur to light-weight about the Freedom Issues Tour and some of the speakers associated with it, we have chosen to terminate our amenities contract for this function. The Freedom Matters Tour will not be keeping a rally on the Union campus,” Oliver claimed in an e-mail to the university group.

Oliver explained that Freedom Matters organizers approached the college about renting place and that “this was hardly ever an event sponsored or sanctioned by the College.”

“We enjoy the enter we have acquired about this make a difference, and we’re grateful for a local community that cares deeply about Union, its mission, and its values,” he wrote.

A great deal of the controversy above the occasion facilities on Locke, pastor of World wide Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, who is acknowledged for his pro-Trump, anti-mask pulpit pronouncements.

The America’s Revival celebration at the Frisco Convention Centre in Frisco, Texas, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. RNS image by Bob Smietana

In a new sermon, Locke warned that any individual who showed up at a church services carrying a mask would be thrown out. A indicator on the church house reads, “This is a mask-free campus. Kindly take away them or stay in your automobile. We celebrate faith above concern.”

Worldwide Vision has held services in an out of doors tent through most of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Locke has labeled pastors who shut down in-particular person services as cowards. He also accused Tennessee Governor Invoice Lee, who is a conservative Christian, of developing “quarantine camps” for unvaccinated persons.

At the modern America’s Revival meeting in Dallas, Locke explained his church would use armed drive to resist any tries to limit his church’s providers.

“We so believe in our Very first Modification right to acquire that if you display up and you impede my To start with Modification right — we are likely to meet you at the doorway with our 2nd Amendment appropriate,” he explained to worshippers at the Dallas party previous weekend.


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Herod’s petition to terminate the party focused not on the tour’s constitutional rights but the message itself. “The beliefs espoused by Freedom Issues neither stand for scientific fact or biblical real truth, and the actuality that they will be shared from a pulpit is not only shameful, but negligent and reprehensible,” the petition states.

Christian author and speaker Shane Claiborne options to show up at Locke’s church though carrying a mask this weekend — and invited his social media followers to be a part of him.

Clairborne, who is in Tennessee promoting his “Guns to Backyard Tools” venture, reported that he arrived at out to Locke by e-mail and telephone, hoping to pray with the World-wide Vision pastor on Sunday. 

Although he will dress in a mask to worship, Claiborne claimed he does not want to disrupt the church and will leave quietly if questioned to. If that occurs, he mentioned, “we’ll have a worship support of our very own.” He’s worried about some of the public statements that Locke has produced and hopes he and Locke will be ready to converse through some of their distinctions.

Claiborne pointed to a passage in the 18th chapter of the New Testomony Gospel of Matthew, which urges followers of Jesus to get the job done out their variances experience to face.

“I’m one that believes in Matthew 18 — you know, conversing with each other, not just like throwing stones on Twitter,” he reported.

James Lindsay speaks during “The Great Awokening” conference hosted by Sovereign Nations in October 2020 in Tampa Bay, Florida. Video screengrab

James Lindsay speaks for the duration of “The Terrific Awokening” conference hosted by Sovereign Nations in Oct 2020 in Tampa Bay, Florida. Movie screengrab

Lindsay, an atheist activist most effective regarded for producing a collection of hoax papers about “grievance scientific tests,” has taken an energetic purpose in evangelical debates in excess of critical race concept. His operate has aided gasoline anti-CRT debates amid Southern Baptists. Lindsay has also criticized all those “bulls–t people today from guiding a Bible.”

Tennessee Stands did not answer to a request for remark.