In one of the videos the Mormons were quite forthright: they wanted the LDS Church to buy the street so they could control the situation.
Most of the reporters seem bent on generalizing the evangelists as “protesters”, which is misleading since most of the evangelicals that show up are merely doing one-on-one and small group conversational evangelism, and since the tone, the goal, the attitude, and the motivation really is “evangelism” and “proselytizing.” You can say the words, they’re not bad. Come on, try it sometime :-). Painting us with the generalization “protesters” is an ugly way of obscuring, not clarifying, what is generally really happening.
One reporter was absolutely correct in describing the street as having a “festival-like atmosphere” during the Pageant.
One reporter said the sale is being considered… at a measly $100,000!
To news outlets yet to report the story, this is what most Manti Pageant evangelism looks like. Also, feel free to use photos from my Flickr sets, although keep in mind that I’m one of the few who street preaches:
As one article alluded to, the last few years have been especially strategic for reducing tension. The use of signs has diminished and public preaching on the Manti street has been reduced and toned down. And that’s been OK for us, because we’ve had enough Christians on the street to be confident that the word of truth is being spread.
Grace and peace,
Update. Here are two comments over at another blog that I found worth sharing:
“Overall, I don’t like the mall-and-gated-subdivision trend, where people dismiss (or have already forgotten) the value of having a lot of community space that is truly public.” (chanson)
“If you leave such questions to the locals then you may end up with the tyranny of the majority. James Madison pointed out in Federalist Paper 10 that the purpose of the federal government is to dilute the influence of local majorities. Mormons are so dominant in places like Manti that it is easy for them to roll all over minorities. Majoritarianism that is not tempered by the rule of law, i.e. respect for minority rights, is not democracy but ochlocracy, also known as the rule of the mob. If the non-Mormon minority is uncomfortable with the loss of public space then the LDS Church would do well to respect the needs of the minority. The city council has an obligation to preserve public space for everyone.” (Hellmut)