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York County pastor joins protests against Trump's election

Written by Ted Czeck/York Daily Record | Nov 14, 2016 4:57 AM
York_trump_protests.jpg

Rachel Friend, 13, her mother, Melinda Friend, 48, and Vicki Schneider, 38, hold signs in peaceful protest at Continental Square in York on Sunday.(Photo: Ted Czech - York Daily Record/Sunday News)

John Beck, 35, of York, and Tony Strouse, 24, of Dover Township, organized what they called a peaceful protest

(York) -- Whether it was from the pulpit or the streets of downtown York, county residents let their voices be heard Sunday about the election of Donald Trump, a man who they believe will divide the country rather than unite it.

John Beck, 35, of York, and Tony Strouse, 24, of Dover Township, organized what they called a peaceful protest at Continental Square in York on Sunday afternoon.

The group stood on the corner, holding posters "Peace", "Love," and "We fight for unity," soliciting waves and honks from passers-by.

Beck said he was motivated to bring the group together after seeing a video of someone shouting "white power" at York County School of Technology and hearing alleged racial incidents against minority students.

He stressed that the meeting was rooted in peaceful protest of the election.

"With all of the riots that have been breaking out, from both ends, we are trying to get away from that, be positive, peaceful and gather everybody up," he said.

Strouse addressed there group of about 30 or so before they set out on a march, headed east on East Market Street.

"People are scared right now, they don't want to walk down the streets, for fear of their own lives, from the bigotry and hate that have been spewed," he said.

The group organized through Facebook and met at Continental Square in York. Ted Czech, York Daily Record/Sunday News

Joshua Behanna, 20, of York, who currently lives at the York Rescue Mission, said Trump's words on minorities and immigrants create an alienating climate in the country.

"The United States has always been a melting pot, since the Founding Fathers," Behanna said.

Vicki Schneider, 38, of York, held a sign poster with a peace sign drawn with all of the colors of the rainbow. Inside the symbol, hearts were drawn.

"We need to be a community, we need to come together," she said. "It's because of everything that's happened since the Presidential election -- misunderstanding, lack of community, lack of feeling like we're all in it together."

The protests caught the eye of a man crossing North George Street with his dog. Dan Bradley, 53, of West Manchester Township, said he voted for Trump.

"Now they know how I felt for the last eight years," he said, referring to President Barack Obama's two terms. "I feel sorry for these people, I suffered through eight years of it, but I didn't riot or burn down cities."

Earlier in the day, Pastor Chris Rodkey addressed his congregation at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown about how to love and unite in a post-election climate. Rodkey drew criticism earlier in the year for his church sign that wished Muslims a "Blessed Ramadan."

Rodkey said he was not in favor of either candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, as they both had flaws that should have kept them from the office.

"The American people are really the losers of the election," he said. "I don't think church is really church unless we're really grappling with the big issues that are facing our day."

In interpreting a scripture passage that dealt with the formation of the Christian Church, Rodkey drew a parallel between those times, where cultures and ethnicities were coming together to worship.

He encouraged his congregation to be "tender-hearted" but that their anger was valid, so long as they did not "make space for evil in one's anger."

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