Catholic churches and schools in Las Vegas have been experiencing a series of disruptions and protests from a group calling themselves "Koosha Las Vegas." The protesters will storm the church, interrupting services, and will post video of their exploits on YouTube. Some of the members of the group identify themselves as ex-Muslims who have converted to Christianity, and their actions are putting some Catholic parishioners in the area on edge.
The videos make clear the group has been active on the Las Vegas Strip and several other places around the valley. They're often seen with large signs and megaphones. The difference now is that they're going into houses of worship and causing disturbances. Parishioners tell Action News it's made them fear for their lives.
"Repent, and turn to Jesus Christ. Pope is a Satan! Pope is a Satan! Mary statue is a Satan!" the man behind the camera can be heard shouting.
The videos are taken by the very people passing out the pamphlets and shouting during mass in at least 3 incidents confirmed by police. The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas confirmed to Action News "multiple disturbances at several of their properties."
"Stop worshipping to the idols! Idols not going to save you! You need Jesus Christ! You need the father, the son, and the holy spirit," a man shouts to a group of worshippers during Mass at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church on December 5.
Parishioners we talked to say they were initially scared because of the recent climate of terrorism, and the group makes clear many members are Muslims turned Christian. Although they're preaching the word of Christ to other Christians, to be told "your religion is not going to save you", clearly audible on video, they said was unsettling.
A statement from Bill Donohue of The Catholic League referred to the group as an "organized band of crazed evangelicals" who were breaking a Nevada statute that prohibits disrupting a religious service.
Catholic churches in Las Vegas are being stormed by an organized band of crazed evangelicals known as Koosha Las Vegas. They invade churches during Mass, shouting at parishioners to repent. “Pope is Satan!” “Mary is a Satan!” “Stop worshipping the idols!” “Idols are not going to save you!” “You need Jesus Christ!” Police have confirmed at least three incidents.
Catholic school students are also being harassed. “If you look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and you look at the Scriptures,” the bigots scream, “you know why God hates this religious system.”
The cops have thus far not made any arrests, claiming no law has been broken. They are mistaken.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious liberty. If that means anything, it means that people of faith must be free to practice their faith. Moreover, these Nazi-like tactics are prohibited by the Nevada Constitution, the second ordinance of which reads as follows: “That perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of said state shall ever be molested, in person or property, on account of his or her mode of religious worship.” There are also laws against trespassing, as well as hate crimes statutes.
While a street preacher with a megaphone preaching about hell and claiming that the pope is the antichrist is hardly an unfamiliar site at Catholic events, the fact that this group is disrupting Mass is a whole new ballgame. Religious services, regardless of the denomination or creed, are supposed to be sacred spaces where adherents can practice their faith without fear of disruption. This is unacceptable.