Several weeks ago, the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society announced it would hold an event on June 23 to discuss the original constitution of Pennsylvania. The plan was for the event to take place at Tied House, a restaurant and taproom with event space located in Lititz. Joel Saint, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society, and Chris Hume, managing editor of The Lancaster Patriot, were billed as the speakers.
Following the announcement of the event and venue, Tied House and the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society received heated reactions from the community.
Negative social media responses included unsubstantiated charges of white nationalism and Nazism. Other comments expressed disapproval of the fact that Saint and Hume believe in biblical, traditional sexuality. A Facebook post from the group Ephrata Rises described the event as a “hateful event.” Other posts by the group called for boycotting Tied House and the brewery that owns it, Saint Boniface Craft Brewing Company.
A Facebook post from a user named Ismail Smith-Wade-El — an account that appears to belong to the same Smith-Wade-El who is the president of the Lancaster City Council — referenced a Facebook post by Hume about the issue and said, “No, but seriously. Eff these ersatz Nazis.”
Other social media posts claimed that Saint was at the Capitol on January 6. A local newspaper also claimed that Saint participated in protests at Rep. Bryan Cutler’s home on December 30, 2020. Saint told The Lancaster Patriot that he did not leave Pennsylvania on January 6, 2021, and was nowhere near the Capitol, and that he has never been to Cutler’s home.
Not all of the response was negative, however. Along with those voicing their disapproval of the event were people who spoke up in defense of the event and the establishment hosting it.
“This business and their owners are wonderful people,” one commenter wrote. “You don’t have to always agree with people. But if you are trashing them you most likely don’t even know the whole truth about the situation. Also trying to destroy a person’s business because they are renting a space to some people that believe differently than you is a horrible choice that can effect many lives. Shame on all of you trashing them. Be better!”
After the blowback, the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society decided to relocate the event out of respect for the venue owners, employees and other parties involved. The organization also released a statement, which is available here: MARS Statement on Tied House Event Cancelation – Mid Atlantic Reformation Society.
The new location for the event will be announced on the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society’s website.
[Editor’s Note: The videos of the event are available on Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society’s YouTube page.]