Athens prepares for protest of religious ceremony
The Market Park Pavilion in Athens, Tennessee will be filled with people for a religious ceremony on Saturday. It’s hosted by Angela Wilson, who is the Arch Druid. She was elected by this religious, political group a few years ago to lead.
It’s the first ever of its kind to be held in public, according to Wilson.
This group is receiving threats from the community.
“Hate for hate is hard to deal with. Especially when I’m coming from a place of love,” said Wilson.
“We’re here to make the world a better place. Sometimes that takes making a bold move,” said Wilson.
She invited the public to the religious ceremony Sunday night on social media. Since then, she’s received threats and backlash for what druidism stands for overall.
“60% say this isn’t going to happen and that, ‘You’re going to hell’,” said Wilson.
Athens’ city leaders say this issue comes down to freedom of speech.
“We honor the U.S. Constitution and celebrate the rights of all people,” said Seth Sumner, City Manager.
Sumner says Wilson applied for a permit and provided proper insurance therefore the religious event was approved.
“They may not agree with what I’m doing on a personal level but they’re supporting my right to do it and that’s the most important of all,” said Wilson.
City leaders are hit with calls as attention grows. They’re preparing to bring in extra officers to keep protests peaceful if needed.
“It’s going to cost the city a tremendous amount if hundreds or even thousands, as I’ve been told, show up,” said Sumner.
Sumner says the plan for how many officers they will provide is still being decided. They hope it is not needed and the event is peaceful.
The ceremony will be held from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.