David’s Tent helps to calm tense mood between protesting groups
SALEM — It was identified in the Statesman-Journal newspaper here only as an “annual, multi-day worship festival on the State Capitol Mall’s plaza.”
But although not naming it, the newspaper at least noted that it unexpectedly wound up positioned Saturday, July 11, as a promoter of peace between two very opposed political groups.
And according to participants that day in the David’s Tent Oregon worship event, it made a big difference, with God’s help.
“We had some tremendous miracles happen when two opposing protests were here, and us right in the middle of them,” said Jim Moore, director of the Salem House of Prayer, one of the worship event’s sponsors. “The Holy Spirit fell and maintained peace between them. For perhaps the first time ever, they actually talked to one another … had a conversation without yelling at each other.
“The Statesman-Journal covered it, but they left out the God part to a large degree.”
According to the newspaper, that afternoon a few dozen people stood on the Capitol steps, holding American flags and “Back the Blue” signs in support of police. On the other side of Court Street, about 100 people gathered for a “War on Racism” rally.
The War on Racism rally was organized by a new initiative of Black activists in Salem. Speakers focused on the impact of racism on their personal lives, as well as what they see as a need to dismantle racism in existing structures and systems, including police departments, city councils, school districts, prisons and elected offices. Many signs and shirts called for an end to police brutality.
Simultaneously, participants in the Back the Blue rally waved at drivers and chanted “All Lives Matter.” They said they wanted to show support for people who put their lives on the line daily. Their event coincided with Oregon Women for Trump’s afternoon gathering and a rally organized by Republican politician Joey Nations; whose participants marched to City Hall.
Additionally, on the Capitol side was a booth to recall Gov. Kate Brown, while on the other side people passed out fliers for the Democratic Socialists of Oregon.
For the most part, members of the opposing groups stayed on either side of Court Street, occasionally yelling at or talking to each other across the passing cars. However, the dialogue to which Moore referred took place when a few people with Black Lives Matter shirts spoke with the Back the Blue leaders on the Capitol side.
And between all these groups, the “worship group members” of David’s Tent sang about God’s love, the newspaper noted.
Held annually in front of the State Capitol since 2015, David’s Tent Oregon was July 10-18 this year. Offering 24-hour worship and prayer in a tent on the mall, it attracts people from dozens of communities throughout the state.
It takes its name from a similar event that began in Washington, D.C., in 2012. Inspired by the biblical tabernacle of David, a group from Youth With a Mission set up a tent on the White House Ellipse and worshipped day and night for 40 days. Since 2015 it has become the longest outdoor worship event in U.S. history, with people from all 50 states manning the site on the National Mall in D.C.
For more information, go to davidstentoregon.org