- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 25, 2021

The pastor of a suburban Seattle church said he has canceled an appearance by conservative activist Charlie Kirk after being threatened with arson and violence against church leaders and the community by “radical terrorist mobs.”

Roger Archer, senior pastor of Motion Church in Puyallup, Washington, said Mr. Kirk’s appearance scheduled for May 2 was met with threats to the church and the community, prompting him to pull the event over fears of putting “soft targets in harm’s way.”

“Upon hearing that Mr. Kirk was coming to our church, radical terrorist mobs like the ones that rallied on Capitol Hill in Seattle, they sprung into action,” Mr. Archer said in a video posted online Friday.

“They sprung with threatening declarations,” he said. “They vowed to not only burn our properties to the ground, but also brought threats of physical violence against our church leadership, our neighbors, their properties, and basically wreak havoc in our community, this precious community that we love.”

He said the Puyallup Police Department “had our back the whole way; however, they have limited resources to completely shut down a terrorist threat across our multiple locations.”

He apologized to Mr. Kirk, who heads Turning Point USA, and criticized Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, saying “our governor will not protect us.”

“While recent history has taught us that there is an apparent lack of interest at the state level of leadership to protect decent taxpaying citizens, those terrorist mobs know that there is no consequence for their lawlessness,” said Mr. Archer. “They have nothing to lose, and nothing to fear.”

Mr. Archer did not name any specific individuals or organizations, but Seattle conservative radio host Jason Rantz tweeted that the cancellation was due to “Antifa radicals,” while the Indivisible Puyallup account credited “local activists.”

“Congrats are in order for local activists in The Puyallup/South Hill area that put enough pressure on Motion Church to cancel the Charlie Kirk event,” Indivisible Puyallup tweeted.

The Washington Times has reached out to Indivisible, a progressive activist group founded in 2016 by former Democratic operatives to resist the Trump administration’s agenda.

DEVELOPING: Antifa radicals from Seattle threatened to burn a church & harm staff after learning @charliekirk11 was coming to speak in Puyallup, Wash.

The event was cancelled under the threat of violence.https://t.co/1colKlc8rv

— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 24, 2021

Congrats are in order for local activists in The Puyallup/South Hill area that put enough pressure on Motion Church to cancel the Charlie Kirk event. 👏👏👏 #Resist #Indivisible @IndivisibleTeam

— Indivisible Puyallup (@PuyallupIndivis) April 24, 2021

Puyallup is about 40 miles from Seattle, which saw multiple clashes last year between police and protesters as well as the formation of a six-block “autonomous zone” in June by Black Lives Matter activists in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Mr. Archer said the church invited Mr. Kirk to speak on concerns “regarding the direction of our state as it pertains to the moral climate” and offer “guidance as to how to reclaim our much-loved state of Washington.”

“It is for the safety of my precious city and our previous church people that we have heartbreakingly cancelled our event with Mr. Kirk,” he said. “Our deepest apologies go out to Mr. Kirk and his organization. He deserves much better from our state leadership, but unfortunately, this is where we are.”

The church, which has three locations, has contributed more than $2 million over 23 years to support the community with food, shelter, education and addiction recovery services, Mr. Archer said.

“I will not put soft targets in harm’s way. I will not subject our community to destruction,” he said. “And since our governor will not protect us, we must take this course of action. This is a sad commentary on our state of affairs; however, this only makes me more determined to love and lead our community in new and creative ways.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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